On November 24, 2014, the National Marine Fisheries Service (Service) issued (pdf) a new Biological Opinion (BiOp) (pdf) for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ (Corps) Nationwide Permit Program under the Clean Water Act. The BiOp constitutes the conclusion of the formal programmatic consultation process between the Corps and the Service under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) for the Corps’ revisions to and renewal of expiring nationwide permits authorizing a wide variety of activities under the Clean Water Act, such as mooring buoys, residential developments, utility ...
Today, in response to a petition to list (pdf) filed by the Center for Biological Diversity (CBD) in October 2014, the California Fish and Game Commission (Commission) extended protection to the tricolored blackbird (agelaius tricolor) on an emergency basis under the California Endangered Species Act. The Commission previously -- in 2005 -- denied a petition from CBD to list the species.
While the tricolored blackbird is endemic to California, it is distributed through much of the State. Census data on the species has been collected periodically over the past 20 years. The ...
On December 3, 2014, the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) published its proposed rule designating critical habitat for the threatened Arctic Ringed Seal (Phoca hispida hispida). (79 Fed. Reg. 71,714). The proposed designation, if finalized, would mark one of the largest critical habitat designations in the Bering, Beaufort, and Chukchi seas, consisting of millions of acres. The seal, which was designated as a threatened species under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) in December 2012, is the smallest of the northern seals with an average lifespan of 15 to 28 years. (77 ...
On November 17, the U.S. Supreme Court denied the petition for writ of certiorari filed by Glenn Colusa Irrigation District and others seeking to overturn a decision by the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit (en banc) holding that the Bureau of Reclamation’s decision to renew water contracts with senior water rights holders is subject to consultation under section 7(a)(2) of the Endangered Species Act. Our prior post regarding the petition is available here.
E&E reporter Jeremy Jacobs wrote in Greenwire today that the Supreme Court "left in place an ...
On November 12, 2014, the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (Service) listed as threatened and designated over 1.4 million acres of critical habitat for Gunnison sage-grouse (Centrocercus minimus), the smaller cousin of the greater sage-grouse (Centrocercus urophasianus). The Gunnison sage-grouse’s (Gunnison) current range is limited to southwestern Colorado and southeastern Utah.
The regulations came as a blow to the State of Colorado, landowners, and others who have devoted considerable resources to the conservation of the Gunnison Basin population’s sagebrush ...
On November 4, 2014, the U.S. District Court for the District of Arizona issued an opinion in Ctr. for Biological Diversity v. Jewell,2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 157436(D. Ariz.Nov. 4, 2014) finding that the Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) did not abuse its discretion by finding that the Sonoran Desert population of bald eagles is not a distinct population segment. The Bald eagle was originally listed as an endangered species under the precursor to the Endangered Species Act (ESA) in 1967, after FWS found that less than 500 breeding pairs remained in 1963. Under ESA protections, the bald ...
As we reported in October, after significant pressure from Congress, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) announced its intent to re-open the public comment period on its proposal to designate 546,335 acres of critical habitat for the western population of yellow-billed cuckoo (Coccyzus americanus) in Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, Nevada, New Mexico, Texas, Utah, and Wyoming. Yesterday, the Service announced the re-opening of the public comment period, stating that the public comment period would be open "for an additional 60 days to ensure the public has ...
As we reported here, on October 6, 2014, a number of public water agencies and other entities that represent agricultural and municipal water users in California filed a petition for writ of certiorari with the U.S. Supreme Court. The petition was filed after a divided panel of the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit issued a decision affirming a biological opinion issued by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service with respect to continuing operations of the federal Central Valley Project and State Water Project. The panel held that the biological opinion and ...
On November 4th, the U.S. District Court for the District of Utah invalidated the special rule issued by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) regulating take of the threatened Utah prairie dog, a species that only inhabits the state of Utah. See People for the Ethical Treatment of Property Owners v. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Serv., Case No. 2:13-cv-00278 (pdf). In 2012, the Service issued a revised special rule pursuant to section 4(d) of the Endangered Species Act (ESA) that authorized take of the species by permit only on agricultural lands, [private property] within [.5 ...
On November 5, 2014, the National Marine Fisheries Service issued a 12-month finding (pdf) for the queen conch (Strombus gigas), concluding that the species prized for its meat and shell does not warrant listing because it is "not currently in danger of extinction throughout all or a significant portion of its range nor is it likely to become so within the foreseeable future." WildEarth Guardians had submitted the 2012 petition requesting that the queen conch be listed, citing overfishing as the primary threat to the species. In the 12-month finding, however, the ...
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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