Posts from 2015
Posted in Listing

On December 24, 2015, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) released its annual Candidate Notice of Review (CNOR) summarizing the status of species that qualify as candidates for listing under the Endangered Species Act (ESA).  The 2015 CNOR identifies all species designated as candidates and explains the changes to the candidate list from the 2014 CNOR.  The Service assigns each candidate species a listing priority number (LPN) indicating the magnitude of the threat to a species’ continued existence (with one being the highest priority, and twelve being the lowest ...

Under the Endangered Species Act (ESA), a citizen plaintiff is required to provide a notice no less than 60-days before filing certain types of lawsuits against the federal government.  For example, a 60-day notice is required before a citizen plaintiff may file a lawsuit seeking to compel the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) to issue a decision on an ESA listing petition.  The primary purpose of the 60-day notice is to give the federal government an opportunity to review and, if necessary, correct the alleged ESA violation before incurring the cost of ...

Posted in Congress, Listing

After weeks of negotiations, on December 18, 2015, Congress finally approved the Fiscal Year 2016 omnibus spending bill.  One hotly debated issue related to the controversial greater sage grouse (Centrocercus urophasianus).  Republicans had hoped to include a rider rolling back the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and the U.S. Forest Service’s sage grouse conservation plans across 67 million acres in several Western states, including California, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, North Dakota, Oregon, South Dakota, Utah and Wyoming.  This rider was ultimately cut from the ...

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Posted in Conservation

On December 10, 2015, the California Fish and Game Commission (Commission) voted to advance the tricolored blackbird (Agelaius tricolor) as a candidate species for listing under the California Endangered Species Act (CESA).  The species is now subject to the same legal protections as endangered or threatened species under CESA.

As we previously reported, on June 11, 2015, the Commission voted not to make the tricolored blackbird a candidate for listing under CESA.  The species had been listed on an emergency basis in December 2014 but, as a result of the Commission’s inaction in ...

Posted in Delisting

On December 8, 2015, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) issued a final rule removing the Modoc sucker (Catostomus microps) from the list of threatened and endangered species.  The Modoc sucker, a small fish native to the Upper Pit River Watershed in southern Oregon and northeastern California, was listed as endangered under the Endangered Species Act in 1985.  The listing was due to habitat loss and degradation resulting from overgrazing, as well as siltation and channelization from farming.

At the time the species was listed, the Service estimated that the sucker was found ...

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On December 3, 2015, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit affirmed the U.S. District Court for the District of Oregon’s denial of a preliminary injunction sought by environmental plaintiffs to enjoin the Douglas Fire Complex Recovery Project in Oregon’s Klamath Mountains.  Cascadia Wildlands v. Thrailkill, No. 14-35819 (9th Cir. Dec. 3, 2015).  The environmental groups asserted that the Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) combined recovery project and logging plan to salvage acreage burned by the Douglas Complex Fire would irreparably harm the threatened ...

On November 30, 2015, the California Supreme Court issued its much-anticipated decision in Center for Biological Diversity v. California Department of Fish & Wildlife, Case No. S217763 (Nov. 30, 2015).  The decision comes at the conclusion of a nearly five-year legal battle over the California Department of Fish and Wildlife’s (CDFW) approval of an environmental impact report (EIR) for the Newhall Ranch development project (Newhall Ranch) in Los Angeles County.  Newhall Ranch was approved as a mixed-use development on nearly 12,000 acres of land along the Santa Clarita River.  ...

On November 19, 2015, the Center for Environmental Science, Accuracy and Reliability (CESAR) filed a lawsuit against the California Department of Water Resources (DWR), the U.S. Department of the Interior (Interior) and the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (USFWS) (collectively, Federal Defendants) for violating the Endangered Species Act (ESA) in connection with the installation, operation and removal of an emergency drought salinity barrier at West False River in the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta. The complaint was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern ...

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In 2012, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) published a final rule designating 1,724 acres as critical habitat for the endangered Riverside fairy shrimp (Streptocephalus woottoni).  Included in that designation were 56 acres of private land, on which the plaintiff, Otay Mesa Property, L.P. (Otay Mesa), had planned to build a recycling facility and landfill.  Because of the land use restrictions potentially implicated by the critical habitat designation, Otay Mesa challenged the final rule in federal court, asserting that (1) the Service improperly ...

On November 16, 2015, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) issued a final rule (pdf) removing the Delmarva fox squirrel (Sciurus niger cinereus) from the list of endangered and threatened species.  Following its 2012 review of the species, the Service concluded that the best available scientific and commercial data indicate the Delmarva fox squirrel is no longer in danger of extinction or likely to become endangered within the foreseeable future.

The Service credits the Delmarva fox squirrel’s recovery primarily to the establishment of new populations of the species ...

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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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