• Posts by Katrina (Diaz) Wu
    Associate

    Katrina (Diaz) Wu is an eminent domain and real estate litigation attorney focusing primarily on eminent domain, inverse condemnation, tort, regulatory takings, and real estate and business valuation matters.  Katrina also ...

In Center for Biological Diversity v. Environmental Protection Agency, No. 11-cv-00293-JCS (pdf), plaintiffs alleged that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) violated section 7 of the Endangered Species Act by failing to initiate and reinitiate consultation with the National Marine Fisheries and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service with respect to its ongoing oversight of 382 active pesticide ingredients.

As previously reported, the United States District Court for the Northern District of California granted EPA’s motions to dismiss for failure to state an affirmative ...

On July 29, 2014, the U.S. House of Representatives passed Endangered Species Act (ESA) reform legislation introduced by members of the House Natural Resources Committee. As previously reported, the legislation consists of four bills seeking to amend the ESA by, among other things, requiring federal agencies to release to the public all data used to make its listing decisions, disclosing the amount of federal funds used in ESA-related lawsuits, and requiring that the best scientific and commercial data available include information provided by state, tribal, and county ...

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) issued a final rule (pdf) reclassifying the U.S. breeding population of the wood stork (Mycteria americana) from endangered to threatened.

According to the Service, when the wood stork was listed as endangered in 1984, the population was decreasing at a rate of five percent per year. The Service now reports that the U.S. breeding population has increased its number of nesting pairs, and has expanded its breeding range.

Wood storks use a variety of freshwater and estuarine wetlands for nesting, feeding, and roosting. The Service’s ...

Posted in Listing

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) issued a final rule (pdf) listing the New Mexico meadow jumping mouse (Zapus hudsonius luteus) as endangered under the Endangered Species Act.

The jumping mouse is a small mammal that hibernates eight or nine months out of the year, which is longer than most mammals. In the three or four months it is active, the jumping mouse must breed, birth, raise its young, and store up sufficient fat reserves to survive the next hibernation period. In addition, the jumping mouse has a limited lifespan of three years or less, and produces only one small ...

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The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) has issued a final rule (pdf) listing the Kentucky Glade Cress (Leavenworthia exigua var. laciniata) as threatened species under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). The Kentucky Glade Cress, a small, lilac-colored wildflower, is located in parts of Jefferson and Bullitt counties in Kentucky.  The primary threat to the species is the loss and degradation of its habitat, caused by development, roads, utilities, and conversion of its habitat to lawns. The final rule will become effective on June 5, 2014.

The Service also issued a proposed ...

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Earlier this week, the House Natural Resources Committee held a hearing to discuss Endangered Species Act (ESA) reform. The hearing focused on four bills that seek to require data and spending transparency under the ESA.

As previously reported, an ESA Congressional working group released a final report stating that the ESA is not working. The proposed bills are a result of that final report. Despite a general agreement that the 40-year old ESA should be updated, the hearing displayed the divide between Republicans and Democrats over how to do so.

One of the bills discussed at the ...

Republican Congressman Chris Stewart (UT) recently introduced a bill (pdf) that would amend the Endangered Species Act (ESA) to require federal wildlife agencies to include the number of species found on state, tribal, and private lands in its official count when determining whether a species should be protected under the ESA.  Currently, the ESA does not include a specific requirement regarding how to account for a species’ population.  Rather, federal agencies are required to use the best scientific and commercial data available when determining whether a species is ...

Posted in Listing

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) issued a final rule (pdf) listing the Georgetown salamander (Eurycea naufragia) and the Salado salamander (Eureycea chisholmensis) as threatened under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). The Service also issued a proposed special rule for the Georgetown salamander under section 4(d) of the ESA, which authorizes the take of protected species in certain instances.

The primary threat to the species is habitat degradation due to declining water quality and disturbance of surface spring sites. According to the Service, urban development ...

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Members of the Endangered Species Act (ESA) Congressional Working Group recently released a final report (pdf) asserting that the ESA is not working and providing four recommendations for improvement.

The report is the result of an eight-month effort led by Republican Representatives Doc Hastings (WA) and Cynthia Lummis (WY) to examine the ESA. The group received input from hundreds of individuals on how the ESA is currently being implemented, and whether it could be updated to be more effective. The report concludes that [a]fter more than 40 years, sensible, targeted reforms ...

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) is seeking proposals (pdf) from states or territories for federal grants from the Cooperative Endangered Species Conservation Fund (Fund) for voluntary conservation projects that benefit candidate, proposed, or listed species.

The Fund is authorized under Section 6 of the Endangered Species Act (ESA) and provides four different grant programs: 1) Conservation Grants, which help implement conservation projects; 2) Recovery Land Acquisition Grants, which fund the acquisition of habitat in support of approved or draft species ...

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) recently affirmed (pdf) its decision to list the White Bluffs bladderpod (Physaria douglasii subsp. tuplashensis) as threatened under the Endangered Species Act (ESA).  The Service also revised its designation of critical habitat for the plant species to exclude certain private and state lands in Franklin County, Washington.

The Service previously published a final rule to list the species (pdf) and designate critical habitat (pdf) on April 23, 2013.  However, the Service delayed the effective date of these rules in order to accept ...

Last week, the Interagency Grizzly Bear Committee, a panel consisting of federal, state, local, and tribal representatives, recommended that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) remove the grizzly bear (Ursus arctos horribilis) from the list of threatened and endangered species under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). If the Service agrees, it will initiate the rule-making process to delist the species. The Service is expected to make a decision next month.

The Yellowstone grizzly bear population is found in Montana, Idaho and Wyoming. When initially listed under the ...

Posted in Court Decisions

In Center for Biological Diversity v. Environmental Protection Agency, No. 11-cv-00293 (pdf), plaintiffs sued the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), alleging that EPA’s oversight of pesticide ingredients, including trifluralin, triggered a duty to consult with the National Marine Fisheries Service about trifluralin’s possible effects on species listed under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). EPA and defendant intervenors representing the farming industry filed Rule 12(e) motions, requesting more definite statements, and alleging the complaint was so vague ...

The National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) published a 90-day finding (pdf) on two petitions to list the pinto abalone (Haliotis kamtschatkana) as threatened or endangered under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) and designating critical habitat for the species. According to NMFS, there is substantial scientific or commercial information indicating that listing the species under the ESA may be warranted.

The pinto abalone is a marine gastropod mollusk found in the Pacific Ocean. Its range extends from Sitka Island, Alaska, to Baja California, Mexico, though it is mostly found ...

                                                       Photograph By Alan Vernon

On November 4, 2013, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) published a proposed rule (pdf) to remove the Inyo California towhee (Pipilo crissalis eremophilus) from the list of threatened and endangered species under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). The Service concluded that delisting the Inyo California towhee is warranted because substantial threats to the species have been ameliorated or reduced since listing, and the species no longer meets the definition of a threatened species under the ESA. 

According to the Service, the total rangewide ...

On October 28, 2013, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) published a proposed rule (pdf) to list the California and Nevada populations of the greater sage grouse (Centrocercus urophasianus) as threatened under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). According to the Service, this bi-state population is genetically distinct and geographically isolated from other greater sage grouse populations, and warrants protection under the ESA.

Primary threats to the species include degradation of habitat by livestock grazing and invasive plant species, fragmentation of habitat ...

On October 3, 2013, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) published a proposed rule (pdf) to list the Florida Brickell-bush (Brickellia mosieri) and Carter’s Small-flowered Flax (Linum carteri var carteri) as endangered under the Endangered Species Act (ESA).

According to the Service, the flower species’ habitat in the pine rockland community of Miami-Dade County has been drastically reduced due to residential and commercial development and agriculture. Moreover, there is a potential for high levels of nutrients from agricultural and urban areas to seep into the ...

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) recently proposed listing (pdf) the rufa red knot (Calidris canutus rufa) as threatened under the Endangered Species Act. The red knot is a medium-sized shorebird about 9 to 11 inches in length that migrates more than 9,000 miles annually between its breeding grounds in the Canadian Arctic and Tierra del Fuego at the southern tip of South America. During its migration, the bird spends considerable time along the eastern seaboard of the United States.

According to the Service, the species has declined, in part, due to an increase in ...

On August 20, 2013, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia held (pdf) that appellants’ claims against the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) for an alleged failure to take certain actions under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) with respect to the straight-horned markhor (Capra falconeri jerdoni) were moot. 

In 1976, the Service classified the markhor as endangered under the ESA. The species’ primary habitat is the Torghar Hills along the Pakistan-Afghanistan border. In response to the reduction of the markhor population, local tribal leaders formed ...

On July 22, 2013, the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington held (pdf) that plaintiffs’ claims regarding the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s (Service) alleged violation of section 10 of the Endangered Species Act (ESA) were not subject to the 60 day notice of intent to sue (NOI) requirement.

In 1997, the Washington Department of Natural Resources (DNR) adopted a habitat conservation plan to govern logging in the forests of southwest Washington.  The marbled murrelet (Brachyramphus marmoratus) is one of a number of endangered and threatened species covered ...

On June 13, 2013, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) issued a proposed rule (pdf) to delist the gray wolf (Canis lupus) under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) throughout the United States and Mexico. The proposed rule also proposes to maintain protection for the Mexican gray wolf (Canis lupus baileyi) in the Southwest by listing it as endangered under the ESA. Presently, the gray wolf is listed in 42 states, including California. 

Previously, the Service determined (pdf) that the southwestern population of the gray wolf – known as the Mexican gray wolf – may warrant a ...

On May 10th, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) announced that it had approved the Tehachapi Uplands Multiple Species Habitat Conservation Plan (Plan), which will provide protections for 25 species of plants and animals, while permitting limited development and other land use activities on designated areas within Tejon Ranch. Founded in 1843, Tejon Ranch is the largest contiguous expanse of private land in California. 

Many years in the making, the Plan will protect wildlife habitat and enhance species conservation on over 140,000 acres. The Plan provides ...

On April 25, 2013, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) published a proposed rule (pdf) to list the Sierra Nevada yellow-legged frog (Rana sierrae) as endangered, the northern distinct population segment (DPS) of the mountain yellow-legged frog (Rana muscosa) as endangered, and the Yosemite toad (Anaxyrus canorus) as threatened under the Endangered Species Act (ESA).

According to the Service, populations of the Sierra Nevada yellow-legged frog and the northern DPS of the mountain yellow-legged frog are declining due to habitat degradation and fragmentation ...

The National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) recently proposed merging its Southwest and Northwest administrative regions, which would result in a savings of $3 million annually in management costs. NMFS is a component of the Department of Commerce, and is responsible for administering the Endangered Species Act as it applies to marine species and their habitats.  Currently, the NMFS Southwest region manages California, and the Northwest region covers Washington, Oregon, and Idaho. The Obama administration proposed the merger to improve coordination in areas where there ...

On March 25, 2013, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) published a proposed rule (pdf) to designate critical habitat for the Northwest Atlantic Ocean Distinct Population Segment of the loggerhead sea turtle (Caretta caretta) under the Endangered Species Act (ESA).  The proposed critical habitat includes almost 740 miles of coastline in North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Alabama, and Mississippi.  Photo by Strobilomyces at Océanopolis, Brest, France on 17th April 2006.

The loggerhead sea turtle includes nine distinct population segments (DPS ...

Posted in Court Decisions

In Conservation Congress v. U.S. Forest Service, No. CIV. 2:12-02416 (E.D. Cal. Feb. 26, 2013), the United States District Court for the Eastern District of California denied (pdf) a motion brought by the U.S. Forest Service and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to limit review of claims brought under the citizen suit provision of the Endangered Species Act (ESA) to the administrative record.  The court denied defendants' motion because it "would be premature to determine at this early stage of the proceedings" whether plaintiffs' claims should be strictly limited to ...

Posted in Listing

On January 25, 2013, the United States Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) published a proposed rule (pdf) to list the Zuni bluehead sucker (Catostomus discobolus yarrowi) as endangered under the Endangered Species Act (ESA).  The sucker had been on the candidate list since 2001, when the Service determined that the species warranted protection under the ESA, but listing was precluded by higher priority listing activities.

The Zuni bluehead sucker has a torpedo-shaped body and bluish head.  The average length of a mature fish is approximately 200 centimeters (8 ...

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The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (Department) has determined (pdf) that there is sufficient scientific information to petition to list the Northeastern Pacific (NEP) population of white sharks (Carcharodon carcharias) as threatened or endangered under the California Endangered Species Act.  Currently, the take and possession of white sharks is protected from sport and commercial fishing activities, with limited exceptions, under existing laws.  However, the scientific information in the petition demonstrates that the species may benefit from ...

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On Tuesday, December 18, 2012, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) proposed upgrading the status of the wood stork (Mycteria americana) from endangered to threatened under the Endangered Species Act (ESA).  The proposed change is in response to improvements in the population and habitat of the species based on the best available scientific information.

Dan Ashe, Director for the Service, remarked that the proposed reclassification "demonstrates that the [ESA] works" and that "the species is making real progress toward recovery."  The wood stork was ...

On November 26, 2012, the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS or the Service) accepted a petition to delist a distinct population segment (DPS) of the Southern Resident killer whales, which is currently listed as endangered under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). 

The DPS, estimated to include 88 individuals, was initially listed as endangered under the ESA in 2005.  These killer whales are "resident" type, fish-eating whales that spend a specific period of time each year in the San Juan Islands and Puget Sound. 

On August 2, 2012, the Service received a petition from the ...

On November 30, 2012, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) issued a proposed rule (pdf) to list the lesser prairie-chicken (Tympanuchus pallidicinctus) as threatened under the Endangered Species Act (ESA).  While voluntary conservation planning efforts are ongoing, the Service decided (pdf) to move forward with the proposed rule based on scientific evidence that the lesser prairie-chicken and its habitat are in decline.  The Service encouraged the public and scientific community to comment on the proposed rule during the 90-day comment period.  The Service ...

 
On November 5, 2012, the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) sent a letter to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) encouraging the Service to consider an innovative approach to support conservation of the lesser prairie chicken (Tympanuchus pallidicinctus): through the use of habitat credit exchanges between companies and landowners.  The letter comes at a time when the Service is considering whether to propose to list the lesser prairie chicken under the Endangered Species Act (ESA).  Currently the Service has determined that listing of the species "is warranted ...

On Tuesday October 24, 2012, several conservation groups wrote a letter to President Obama expressing concerns about an agreement that the Obama Administration entered into with the American Forest Resource Council, Carpenter Industrial Council, and Douglas County, Oregon (Plaintiffs), to remove critical habitat for the marbled murrelet (Brachyramphus marmoratus), a seabird listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act (ESA).  The agreement still needs approval by the United States District Court for the District of Columbia.

Plaintiffs sued the U.S. Fish and ...

Posted in Listing

On September 17, 2012, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced (pdf) that it had issued a final rule listing 23 species native to the Hawaiian island of Oahu as threatened or endangered under the Endangered Species Act.  The species include 20 plants and three damselflies. The rule follows a legal settlement with the Center for Biological Diversity that required the agency to make determinations with respect to 757 species, including 17 of the 23 Oahu species granted protection.  At the same time it issued the listing determinations, the Service designated 42,804 acres (or ...

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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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