The distinct population segment of the North American wolverine (Gulo gulf luscus) has had a long and difficult history with the Endangered Species Act (ESA). However, things appeared to be changing in 2013, when, after denying a number of prior listing petitions at various stages of the process, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) announced its proposal to list the wolverine as a threatened species under the ESA, citing anticipated habitat loss due to climate change. (See our February 3, 2013 post for a summary of this history.) While this put the wolverine squarely on ...
On October 11, 2016, the U.S. Supreme Court denied the U.S. Forest Service’s (Forest Service) petition for writ of certiorari to review the U.S. Court of Appeal for the Ninth Circuit's decision in Cottonwood Environmental Law Center v. Forest Service, 789 F.3d 1075 (9th Cir. 2015). The key issues in the case related to standing, the justiciability of programmatic planning documents, and whether section 7 of the Endangered Species Act (ESA) may require a federal agency to reinitiate consultation with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) even after the agency has taken a ...
On October 5, 2016, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) listed a beetle species as endangered, a fish species as threatened, and designated critical habitat for the fish species pursuant to the Endangered Species Act (ESA).
The Service listed the Miami tiger beetle (Cicindelidia floridana), which occurs in Miami-Dade County, Florida, as endangered under the ESA. According to the Service, the decline in the species is due to the impact of habitat loss, degradation, and fragmentation, the inadequacy of existing regulatory protections, and the beetle’s relatively ...
On September 27, 2016, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and National Marine Fisheries Service (Agencies) published a final rule (pdf) that revises the regulations governing the Endangered Species Act’s (ESA) petition process. According to the Agencies, the revisions are intended to improve the content and specificity of petitions and enhance the efficiency and effectiveness of the petition process to support species conservation. The final rule, which revises 50 CFR 424.14, also clarifies the procedures by which the Agencies will evaluate petitions under section 4(b)(3 ...
On September 19, 2016, the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) published proposed rules to list two species of dolphin and two species of guitarfish under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). NMFS proposes to list the Maui’s dolphin (Cephalorhynchus hectori maui) as endangered under the ESA and the South Island Hector’s dolphin (Cephalorhynchus hectori hectori), the common guitarfish (Rhinobatos rhinobatos) and the blackchin guitarfish (Rhinobatos cemiculus) as threatened under the ESA. Both subspecies of dolphin occur only in New Zealand. The two guitarfish ...
On September 15, 2016, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) proposed to list as threatened the San Fernando Valley spineflower (Chorizanthe parryi var. fernandina), a plant species native to Southern California, under the Endangered Species Act. The proposal is one of dozens under a settlement reached in litigation challenging USFWS’s failure to propose listing or determine that listing is not warranted for 251 candidate species. The proposed rule to list the plant species as threatened ends over 16 years on USFWS’s candidate list; it was listed as endangered under the ...
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) and National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) have issued listing decisions on a number of species under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) in recent days, and USFWS has announced notable changes in its recovery strategy for the red wolf.
- On September 7, 2016, USFWS reopened the comment period for its proposed rule to remove the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem population of grizzly bear (Ursus arctos horribilis) from the list of threatened species. The initial proposed rule emphasized that the States of Montana, Wyoming, and Idaho needed to ...
In the last several days there has been a flurry of end-of-summer activity, with federal courts issuing a number of Endangered Species Act (ESA) decisions:
- On September 2, 2016, the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California held that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) and the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) violated the ESA by failing to properly consider the impacts of widening Highway 1 on the threatened California red-legged frog (Rana draytonii) and the endangered San Francisco garter snake (Thamnophis sirtalis tetrataenia
On August 25, 2016, the California Fish and Game Commission (Commission) voted unanimously to list the northern spotted owl (Strix occidentalis caurina) as a threatened species under the California Endangered Species Act. The owl is already listed as a threatened species under the Federal Endangered Species Act. The Commission's action increased protections for the species by allowing for state and citizen enforcement actions through the California Department of Fish and Wildlife and the state courts.
In California, the northern spotted owl’s range extends south along ...
Primarily relying on precedent from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth and D.C. Circuits, the U.S. District Court for the District of Maine recently dismissed an Endangered Species Act (ESA) lawsuit challenging two biological opinions issued by the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) for four hydroelectric projects on the Kennebec River in Maine, finding that because the federal approvals triggering the biological opinions were issued by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), the lawsuit had to be filed in the U.S. Court of Appeals in the first instance, not ...
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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