Posts from 2014

Coming in just under the wire for the New Year, the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (FWS) and National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) published new rules today, making December a very busy month for Endangered Species Act (ESA) listing decisions. Below are the latest items from FWS and NMFS to be published in 2014.

December 31, 2014 - FWS issued a 90-day finding on a petition to list the Monarch Butterfly (Danaus plexippus plexippus) as a threatened species under the ESA.  FWS found that the information and sources cited in the petition present substantial commercial or scientific ...

Continuing the quarter century controversy over the listing of the Coastal California gnatcatcher (Polioptila californica californica) as a threatened subspecies, the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (FWS) has concluded that a petition to delist the gnatcatcher may be warranted. (Federal Register PDF).   The petition asserts that the listing of the Coastal California gnatcatcher as a distinct subspecies is not based on the best scientific data available as is required by the Endangered Species Act.  Nossaman prepared the petition on behalf of the National Association of Home ...

The United States District Court for the District of Columbia recently held (pdf) that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) violated the Endangered Species Act (ESA) when it issued a final rule delisting gray wolves in nine states (Final Rule) because the Service’s interpretation of the ESA, particularly its identification of a Distinct Population Segment (DPS) to support delisting, was unreasonable.  Humane Society of the United States v. Jewell, Case No. 13-186 (D.D.C. Dec. 19, 2014).

The Final Rule, which took effect in January 2012, is the Service’s fourth ...

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Posted in Court Decisions

As numerous news outlets reported, see L.A. Times and S.F. Chronicle, the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit issued a decision reversing a lower court and affirming a biological opinion and reasonable and prudent alternative issued by the National Marine Fisheries Service with respect to the continuing operation of the Central Valley Project by the Bureau of Reclamation and the State Water Project by the California Department of Water Resources.  The Projects provide water to more than 20 million Californians.

The panel's decision relies heavily on a prior ...

The National Marine Fisheries Service (Service) recently published (pdf) its final rule listing five species of sawfish as endangered under the Endangered Species Act (ESA).  The final rule contains the Service’s determination that the narrow sawfish (Anoxypristis cuspidate), dwarf sawfish (Pristis clavata), largetooth sawfish (collectively, Pristis pristis), green sawfish (Pristis zijsron) and the non-U.S. distinct population segment (DPS) of smalltooth sawfish (Pristis pectinata) are endangered species under the ESA.  The Service determined that these five ...

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Although there were some notable downperiods when it came to Endangered Species Act news over the past twelve months, the past few weeks have been anything but slow.  Below are a few of the more recent newsworthy items that have rolled off the presses:

December 11, 2014 - U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service issues a final rule listing the rufa red knot (Calidris canutus rufa) as a threatened species.  The rufa red knot is a migratory shorebird that breeds in the Canadian Artic, and winters in parts of the United States, the Carribean, and South America.  The final rule states that the ...

Posted in Court Decisions

A federal district court in Arkansas recently issued a decision clarifying that the obligation to consult under section 7(a)(2) of the Endangered Species Act (ESA) extends to the Small Business Administration and the Farm Service Agency when they provide loan guarantees to farmers.  The case, Buffalo River Watershed Alliance v. U.S. Dept. of Agriculture, Case No. 13-450 (E.D. Ark. Dec. 2, 2014), involves a concentrated animal feeding operation in Arkansas that obtained loan guarantees from the Small Business Administration and the Farm Service Agency.  The Farm Service Agency ...

On December 9, 2014, the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) and Secretary of Commerce published a revised proposed rule designating critical habitat for the Arctic Ringed Seal.  The previous proposed rule was published here (and reported on this blog here) on December 3rd.  Citing a clerical error, NMFS withdrew the December 3rd rule, claiming it "contained numerous errors."  The rule published today is intended to replace the prior critical habitat designation, and the comment period will reopen effective today and will remain open until March 9, 2015 ...

On December 5, 2014 the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (USFWS) released its Fiscal Year 2014 Threatened and Endangered Species Candidate list.  Under the Endangered Species Act (ESA), when the USFWS either receives a petition from a third party to list a species as threatened or endangered, or when the USFWS decides of its own accord to evaluate a species for listing, it is required to issue a 90 day finding on the potential listing, and then a 12-month finding, followed by a determination on the species' status.  Forty species received final listing decisions this year.  USFWS may delay a ...

As we reported in November, the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (Service) has been planning to hold a public hearing on the proposal to designate 546,335 acres of critical habitat for the western population of yellow-billed cuckoo (Coccyzus americanus) across nine western states.  The Service recently announced that the public hearing will take place on December 18, 2014, in Sacramento, California.  The deadline to submit comments is January 15, 2015, and comments may be provided in writing or verbally at the public hearing.

The proposed critical habitat for the western population of ...

Nossaman’s Endangered Species Law & Policy blog focuses on news, events, and policies affecting endangered species issues in California and throughout the United States. Topics include listing and critical habitat decisions, conservation and recovery planning, inter-agency consultation, and related developments in law, policy, and science. We also inform readers about regulatory and legislative developments, as well as key court decisions.

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