Monthly Archives: April 2013

Ninth Circuit Invalidates Consent Decree: Parties Must Go Back to The Drawing Board

On April 25, 2013, the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit invalidated a consent decree that plaintiffs and three federal agency defendants asserted resolved a dispute spanning more than a decade.  See Conservation Nw. v. Sherman, No. 11-35729 (9th Cir. 2013) (pdf).  In doing so, the Ninth Circuit held that the district court abused its discretion when … Continue Reading

National Marine Fisheries Service Proposes a Merger of its West Coast Regions

The National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) recently proposed merging its Southwest and Northwest administrative regions, which would result in a savings of $3 million annually in management costs. NMFS is a component of the Department of Commerce, and is responsible for administering the Endangered Species Act as it applies to marine species and their habitats.  Currently, … Continue Reading

Federal Court Denies Joint Motion for Consent Decree Regarding the Marbled Murrelet

In American Forest Resources Council v. Ashe, 1:12-cv-00111 (D.D.C. Mar. 30, 2013), the United States District Court for the District of Columbia denied a joint motion for a consent decree regarding the critical habitat designation for the Washington, Oregon and California (tri-state) population of the marbled murrelet (Brachyramphus marmoratus). The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service … Continue Reading

Federal Court Holds Local Law Preempted By ESA Settlement

The Palila (Loxioides bailleui) is a small bird native to Hawaii that was listed as endangered in 1967.  In 1998, the U.S. District Court for the District of Hawaii, pursuant to a stipulation submitted by the parties, issued an order requiring the State of Hawaii to conduct semi-annual  "aerial sightings" for ungulates (e.g., pigs, deer, sheep, goats, cattle) in the … Continue Reading

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Considers Protection for Black-Backed Woodpecker

The United States Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) has announced (pdf) that it will conduct a full status review to determine whether protection under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) is warranted for two populations of the black-backed woodpecker (Picoides articus). The Service’s announcement is in response to a petition filed by environmental groups requesting two populations … Continue Reading

Court Grants Federal Government Additional Year to Issue New Biological Opinions for California Water Projects

On April 9, 2013, the United States District Court for the Eastern District of California ruled (pdf) on a motion (pdf) by the United States and the State of California to extend the period of time to issue new biological opinions regarding the effects of continued operation of the Central Valley Project and State Water Project … Continue Reading

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Proposes to Designate Almost 740 Miles of Critical Habitat for the Loggerhead Sea Turtle

On March 25, 2013, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) published a proposed rule (pdf) to designate critical habitat for the Northwest Atlantic Ocean Distinct Population Segment of the loggerhead sea turtle (Caretta caretta) under the Endangered Species Act (ESA).  The proposed critical habitat includes almost 740 miles of coastline in North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, … Continue Reading