On August 15, 2016, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit affirmed a lower court decision granting summary judgment to the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) on the issue of whether an incidental take statement is required for plant species. In Center for Biological Diversity v. Bureau of Land Management, No. 14-15836, 2016 U.S. App. LEXIS 14949, the Center for Biological Diversity (CBD) challenged BLM’s adoption of a Recreational Area Management Plan (Plan) for off-road vehicles in the Imperial Sand Dunes Special Recreation ...
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) published a final rule (pdf) removing the San Miguel Island fox (Urocyon littoralis littoralis), Santa Rosa Island fox (U. l. santarosae), and Santa Cruz Island fox (U. l. santacruzae) from the Federal List of Endangered and Threatened Wildlife under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). The Service also reclassified the Santa Catalina Island fox (U. l. catalinae) from an endangered species to a threatened species.
The island fox is a relative of the gray fox. They inhabit the six largest of the eight California Channel Islands and are ...
On August 10, 2016, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) issued a proposed rule to list the Texas hornshell (Popenaias popeii), a freshwater mussel, as an endangered species under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). The species has been on the candidate species list for over a decade, and the proposed rule meets a listing determination deadline established by a 2011 multidistrict settlement agreement. In the proposed rule, USFWS determined that the species is in danger of extinction due to habitat loss from loss of water flow, decreased water quality, increased accumulation of ...
On August 4, 2016, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) issued a final rule confirming its 2011 revision to the designation of critical habitat for the marbled murrelet (Brachyramphus marmoratus). The Service listed the marbled murrelet as threatened under the Endangered Species Act in 1992. In 1996, the Service designated 3,887,800 acres across Washington, Oregon, and California as critical habitat. In 2003, the Service entered into a settlement agreement with the American Forest Resource Council (AFRC) and Western Council of Industrial Workers, and agreed to ...
In the past few weeks, the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) published several Endangered Species Act (ESA) listing decisions, including the following:
- On August 1, 2016, NMFS published a 12-month finding on a petition to list the porbeagle shark (Lamna nasus) under the ESA. According to NMFS, the species does not warrant listing at this time. NMFS reviewed two distinct population segments of porbeagle sharks, the North Atlantic and Southern Hemisphere, and acknowledged that the populations have declined due to overfishing ...
On July 27, 2016, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) published a Federal Register notice of its final Methodology for Prioritizing Status Reviews and Accompanying 12-Month Findings on Petitions for Listing Species under the Endangered Species Act (Methodology). The final Methodology clarifies several of the terms and processes identified in the draft Methodology.
The Methodology establishes five prioritization categories, or bins, to inform a multi-year National Listing Workplan that will cover proposed and final listing determinations, as well as proposed and ...
In a recent decision, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia affirmed the dismissal of an environmental organization's Endangered Species Act (ESA) claim, concluding that the organization lacked standing because the informational injury alleged in the complaint could not, as a matter of law, arise until after the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) issued a 12-month finding under the ESA, and the complaint expressly alleged that the Service had not issued such a finding. Friends of Animals v. Jewell, No. 15-5223 (D.C. Cir. July 15, 2016).
Under Section 4 ...
In a 2-1 decision, the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit rejected challenges to the final rule designating critical habitat for the dusky gopher frog (Rana sevosa) under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) and National Environmental Policy Act. Markle Interests, L.L.C. v. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, No. 14-31008 (5th Cir. June 30, 2016). The decision is remarkable because it upholds the determination by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) to designate areas as critical habitat that are not currently habitable by the frog and have not been shown likely to be ...
In a year that has already seen its fair share of attempts to reform the Endangered Species Act (ESA), another proposal has made its way into the House of Representatives. Representatives Don Young (R-Alaska) and Debbie Dingell (D-Michigan) introduced the Recovering America’s Wildlife Act (H.R. 5650) on July 7, 2016. The bill is based on a plan unveiled by the Blue Ribbon Panel on Sustaining America's Diverse Fish and Wildlife Resources four months ago.
H.R. 5650 would direct approximately $1.3 billion each year from federal energy and mineral development revenues into state-led ...
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) published an interim rule (pdf) revising its civil procedure regulations for the assessment of civil penalties for violations of various laws and regulations within the Service’s jurisdiction. The Service issued the revised procedures pursuant to the Federal Civil Penalties Inflation Adjustment Act of 2015, which requires agencies to update statutory civil monetary penalties to adjust for inflation. The purpose of the Inflation Adjustment Act is to maintain the deterrent effect of civil penalties and to further the policy ...
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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