Archives: Conservation

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Endangered Species Case Sparks Chevron Deference Debate

As the U.S. Supreme Court prepares for its upcoming October 2018 term, one petition concerning an endangered sea otter relocation program is attracting a lot of attention as a potential vehicle for the Court to consider the broader issue of Chevron deference, the legal doctrine that requires courts to defer to an agency’s reasonable interpretation … Continue Reading

Agencies and Lawmakers Seek ESA Reform

In recent weeks, the Trump Administration and Congress have proposed changes to the Endangered Species Act (“ESA”) and its implementing regulations. Lawmakers from the Congressional Western Caucus introduced nine bills that would, according to the 15 legislators that introduced the bills, amend and modernize the ESA.  The lawmakers assert that the bills would also incentivize … Continue Reading

California Poised to Waive Protections for Endangered Fish as Tribes Seek to Shutdown Klamath Irrigation Project in an Effort to Save the Species

In late May 2018, the Klamath Tribes filed a complaint in the United States District Court for the Northern District of California seeking to shut down the Bureau of Reclamation’s Klamath Irrigation Project, which supplies water to thousands of family farms in northern California and southern Oregon. The gravamen of the Tribes’ complaint is that two fish … Continue Reading

Friday, May 18, 2018 is Endangered Species Day

On Friday, May 18, 2018, agencies and organizations throughout the United States will celebrate the 13th annual Endangered Species Day, which recognizes conservation efforts that protect our nation’s imperiled species and their habitats.  Events are scheduled throughout the country to celebrate our biodiversity and efforts to conserve that diversity.  … Continue Reading

Texas Cactus Officially Downlisted to Threatened

Today, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) finalized its reclassification of the Tobusch fishhook cactus (Sclerocactus brevihamatus ssp. tobuschii), a small cactus found in Texas, downlisting the species from endangered to threatened under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). As previously reported here, the Service concluded that downlisting the cactus was warranted given an increase … Continue Reading

Numerous Parties File Amicus Briefs in Dusky Gopher Frog Case

As we reported here, the U.S. Supreme Court granted review of the petition for writ of certiorari in Weyerhaeuser Co. v. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, No. 17-71, on January 22, 2018.  Petitioners challenge a 2-1 panel decision issued by the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, affirming a rule issued by … Continue Reading

USFWS Guidance Clarifies Trigger for ESA Incidental Take Permits Tied to Habitat Modification

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) Principal Deputy Director Greg Sheehan recently issued a guidance memorandum to USFWS’ Regional Directors to clarify the appropriate trigger for an incidental take permit (ITP) under the Endangered Species Act (ESA).  While this guidance was directed internally to USFWS staff to aid in determination of whether project-related habitat modification … Continue Reading

Ninth Circuit Affirms Injunction Order for Federal Columbia River Power System to Prevent Harm to Listed Salmonids

On April 2, 2018, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit affirmed (pdf) a district court order directing that the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) and U.S. Bureau of Reclamation (Bureau) (collectively, the “Federal Agencies”) conduct spill operations and fish monitoring at dams and related facilities in the … Continue Reading

FWS Proposes to Downlist Hawaiian Nene and Allow Limited Incidental Take

On April 2, 2018, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) proposed downlisting the Hawaiian goose (Branta sandvicensis), locally known as the “nene,” from endangered to threatened under the Endangered Species Act (ESA).  The Service also proposed adopting a special rule pursuant to ESA section 4(d), known as a “section 4(d) rule,” allowing incidental take … Continue Reading
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