• Posts by Paul S. Weiland
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    Paul Weiland is chair of Nossaman’s Environment & Land Use Group.  He focuses his practice on litigation, permitting, and compliance counseling.  Paul’s clients include public agencies, publicly regulated utilities, private ...

On September 4, 2013, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and National Marine Fisheries Service (collectively, the Services) issued a proposal rule to amend the regulations governing consultation under section 7 of the Endangered Species Act (ESA) that would codify the practice of using surrogates to express the amount of extent of anticipated take in an incidental take statement issued concomitant with a biological opinion. The Services indicate that these changes are proposed to improve the flexibility and clarify the development of incidental take statements.

Section ...

Posted in Consultation

On June 11, 2013, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers issued a guidance memo (pdf) regarding its obligations under section 7 of the Endangered Species Act.  The memo focuses on the Corps’ consultation obligations under section 7(a)(2).  Notably, the Corps makes no reference to the Corps’ obligation under section 7(a)(1) to utilize [its] authorities in furtherance of the purposes of this Act by carrying out programs for the conservation of endangered species and threatened species listed pursuant to section 4 of this Act.

Section 7(a)(2) requires a federal action agency such as the ...

Posted in Court Decisions

On July 1, 2013, the United States District Court for the Northern District of California issued an order (pdf) granting, in part, Plaintiffs’ motion for attorneys fees in Wild Equity Institute v. City and County of San Francisco, N.D. Cal. Case No. C 11-958. In the order, the court awarded plaintiffs just 25 percent of the fees requested. The court had previously dismissed the case as moot, which we reported here.

Plaintiffs initiated the lawsuit in an effort to require the City to obtain an incidental take permit under section 10 of the Endangered Species Act (ESA) for the operation of ...

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) designated 2,485 acres in Kern County and Kings County in California as critical habitat for the Buena Vista Lake shrew (Sorex ornatus relictus).  The Buena Vista Lake shrew is a small, insect-eating mammal native to the southern San Joaquin Valley.

In 2005, the Service issued a final rule designating just 84 acres as critical habitat.  That rule was challenged, and the Service settled the lawsuit and initiated a new rulemaking.  Pursuant to that rulemaking process, in 2012 the Service issued a proposed rule designating 5,182 acres as ...

Posted in Legislation

The State of Idaho enacted a law (pdf) this spring asserting that the State has primacy over the management of fish and wildlife. The law was introduced as Senate Bill 1061 and signed into law by Governor Butch Otter on March 22, 2013. In addition, the law states that introduction or reintroduction of any federally listed species onto lands within the state or into state waters, including those actions that would impair or impede the state's primacy over its land and water, without state consultation and approval is against the policy of the state of Idaho. The law plainly is intended to ...

The southwestern United States faces a host of challenges as a result of climate change including strained water resources, greater prevalence of tree-killing pests, and potentially significant alterations of agricultural infrastructure. A hotter future is projected for the Southwest—a region stretching from the California coast to the plains of eastern Colorado and New Mexico—and future heat and changes in precipitation will present challenges for managing natural resources, water, infrastructure, and threats to human health. Climate change is already ...

Posted in Court Decisions

On April 9, 2013, the United States District Court for the Eastern District of California ruled (pdf) on a motion (pdf) by the United States and the State of California to extend the period of time to issue new biological opinions regarding the effects of continued operation of the Central Valley Project and State Water Project on a number of fish species listed as threatened or endangered under the federal Endangered Species Act.  The U.S. and California sought a three year extension of the time to issue biological opinions that were previously held to be unlawful.  The court granted a ...

Posted in Litigation

The United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit stayed (pdf) an injunction issued by the United States District Court for the Southern District of Texas requiring the State to prepare a habitat conservation plan for the purpose of obtaining an incidental take permit under section 10(a)(1)(B) of the Endangered Species Act (ESA).  We reported on the lower court decision that State officials in Texas violated the ESA's prohibition on take of the federally listed whooping crane (Grus americana), here.  At the same time that the court stayed the injunction pending the outcome ...

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On March 14, 2013, the State of California announced (pdf) that it has released the first 4 of 12 chapters of the Bay Delta Conservation Plan (BDCP).  California plans to release the next three chapters on March 27, and the remaining five chapters on April 22.  The BDCP website notes that the materials being released are preliminary and subject to change, and do not take the place of the public review draft, which will be released at a later date.  Preliminary draft versions of the BDCP have been released on several occasions; for example, a complete draft was released in February ...

Posted in Court Decisions

After an unusual eight day bench trial, the United States District Court for the Southern District of Texas held (pdf) State officials in Texas violated the Endangered Species Act’s (ESA) prohibition on take of the federally listed whooping crane (Grus americana).  In holding for plaintiff The Aransas Project, the court found that defendants’ actions, inactions, and refusal to act proximately caused unlawful take of at least 23 whooping cranes during the winter of 2008-09.  The court enjoined the State from granting new water permits affecting the Guadalupe or San Antonio Rivers and required the State to prepare a habitat conservation plan for the purpose of obtaining an incidental take permit under section 10(a)(1)(B) of the ESA.

In a unanimous panel decision, the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit held (pdf) that a biological opinion issued by the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) regarding the effects of three pesticides on certain salmonids was not the product of reasoned decision-making.  The Fourth Circuit refused to silently rubber stamp an agency decision where NMFS failed to provide a satisfactory explanation for key aspects of that decision.  Further, the court refused to allow NMFS to offer post hoc rationalizations for its decision in the form of an expert affidavit and ...

Posted in Delisting

In Central Coast Forest Assoc. v. California Fish and Game Commission (pdf), the California Court of Appeal, Third Appellate District held that a petition to delist the endangered coho salmon (Oncorhynchus kisutch) under the California Endangered Species Act (CESA), fails at the outset because a petition to delist a species may not be employed to challenge a final determination of the Commission.  The 2-1 decision is one of a small number of reported cases to interpret the listing provisions of the California Endangered Species Act (CESA).  The decision has important state-wide ...

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Posted in Court Decisions

On December 26, 2012, in Strahan v. Roughead (pdf), the United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts denied a motion brought by federal defendants to dismiss as moot plaintiffs’ claims that the Navy is operating vessels in a manner that takes listed whales in violation of section 9 of the Endangered Species Act (ESA) and failing to consult with the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) regarding the impacts of such operations in violation of section 7 of the ESA. The pro se plaintiff is alleging that the Navy, through the operation of its vessels and its military ...

Posted in Conservation

This week endangeredspecieslawandpolicy.com crossed the 100,000 hits threshold.  We thank you, our readers, for your interest in the blog.  We will continue to work to provide timely and informative updates regarding legal and policy developments related to the management and conservation of threatened and endangered species.

Posted in Court Decisions

In an order issued on December 6, 2012, the United States District Court for the Northern District of California dismissed a lawsuit brought by Wild Equity and other plaintiffs alleging violations of the Endangered Species Act’s take prohibition by the City and County of San Francisco.  The decision, in Wild Equity Institute v. City and County of San Francisco, N.D. Cal. Case No. C 11-958, closes a chapter in the longstanding effort of local environmental groups to shut down the historic Sharp Park golf course, which is located along the Pacific Ocean in the City of Pacifica and owned ...

Posted in Conservation

The National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) has released a public draft recovery plan for the distinct population segment (DPS) of steelhead (Oncorhynchus mykiss) that occupies California's South-Central Coast.  NMFS announced the availability of the draft recovery plan and issued a request for comments in the Federal Register (pdf).  Steelhead are anadromous fish that spawn in coastal watersheds, rear in freshwater or estuarine habitats, and migrate to the ocean for the balance of their lives.  The South-Central Coast DPS extends from south of San Luis Obispo in the south to ...

Posted in Legislation

Recently, House Representatives John Garamendi (D-Fairfield, CA), Jerry McNerney (D-Stockton, CA), Doris Matsui (D-Sacramento, CA), George Miller (D-Martinez, CA), and Mike Thompson (D-St. Helena, CA) introduced H.R. 6484 (pdf), a bill entitled the SAFE Levee Act. The bill would authorize the Secretary of the Interior to provide assistance to local interests for levee stability improvements within the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta and require the Secretary of the Interior to carry out a cost-benefit analysis of water conveyance options being considered in the Bay Delta ...

Posted in Legislation

Governor Brown signed a bill into law that generally makes it unlawful to permit or allow a dog to pursue a bear or bobcat at any time. The bill, introduced as SB 1221 by State Senator Ted Lieu, is intended to curb the use of dogs to hunt bears or bobcats.  Debate over the bill divided both houses of the California legislature.  David Siders reported that "[t]he legislation pitted wildlife advocates against hunters at the California Capitol – the former raising concerns about the humane treatment of animals, the latter about urban elitism" (Sacramento Bee, Sept. 27, 2012).

The bill to ban ...

Posted in Court Decisions

 In a 2-1 decision (pdf), the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit recently upheld the decision of the Fish and Wildlife Service to delist the West Virginia northern flying squirrel (Glaucomys sabrinus fuscus). The lower court held that the Service violated the Endangered Species Act (ESA) by removing the species from the list of endangered and threatened species despite the fact that several Recovery Plan Criteria had not been satisfied. In its decision, the D.C. Circuit held that [a] plan is a statement of intention, not a contract, and that [i]f the plan ...

Posted in Delisting

We previously reported the Fish and Wildlife Service's intention to delist the gray wolf (Canis lupus) in the State of Wyoming.  Today the Service announced "that the Wyoming population of gray wolves is recovered and no longer warrants protection under the Endangered Species Act."  A host of news outlets reported the announcement, including the New York Times (Aug. 31, 2012, by Feilicity Barringer).  Delisting of the gray wolf is controversial, but the species has been delisted in numerous parts of the upper mid-west and western United States.

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Posted in Court Decisions

The United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit has granted (pdf) a motion by appellees to dismiss an appeal pursued by the Natural Resources Defense Council and other organizations from an interim order enjoining one component of a reasonable and prudent alternative imposed by the Fish and Wildlife Service on operations of the Central Valley Project and State Water Project.  The order, which we reported on here, enjoined implementation of a water management action, referred to as the Fall X2 Action, which requires a combination of reservoir releases upstream from the ...

Posted in Delisting

The  Associated Press is reporting that the federal government intends to issue a final rule delisting the gray wolf (Canis lupus) in Wyoming on August 31, 2012 (The Missoulian, Aug 14, 2012, by Ben Neary).  The Fish and Wildlife Service proposed (pdf) removal of the gray wolf in Wyoming from the list of endangered and threatened species on October 5, 2011, and reopened the comment period (pdf) on that proposal on May 1, 2012.

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Posted in Court Decisions

In a recent decision (pdf), the United States District Court for the District of Idaho remanded a determination (pdf) by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to list slickspot peppergrass (Lepidium papilliferum), a small, flowering plant in the mustard family, as threatened under the Endangered Species Act.  The controversy  over the listing of the species has spanned more than a decade, resulting in numerous Service determinations and court orders.

Slickspot peppergrass is only found in portions of Idaho.  Idaho's Governor, Butch Otter, and others brought the case challenging the ...

Today Governor Brown and Secretary of the Interior Salazar announced plans to construct two tunnels to transport water under the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta in an effort to guarantee a stable water supply for Californians and contribute to the protection and recovery of the Delta ecosystem and at-risk species.  In a press release that accompanied the announcement, the federal and state officials stated "the parties expect to issue a draft Bay Delta Conservation Plan and corresponding Environmental Impact Report/Environmental Impact Statement for public review this fall."

Posted in Court Decisions

The United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit issued a 2-1 decision (pdf) affirming a lower court holding that plaintiff environmental groups lacked standing to challenge the renewal of certain water contracts by the Bureau of Reclamation and that other contract renewals by the Bureau were not subject to consultation under section 7(a)(2) of the Endangered Species Act because the renewals constituted non-discretionary actions outside the scope of the consultation requirement.

At issue in the case was the renewal of water contracts between the Bureau and two sets of ...

Posted in Conservation

In an article published in July 2012, in the Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Christian Langpap and Joe Kerkvliet of Oregon State University assess the effectiveness of habitat conservation plans.  The abstract reads:

Habitat conservation plans (HCPs) have become a key instrument for implementation of the Endangered Species Act (ESA) on private land. However, there is no systematic analysis of their effectiveness in promoting endangered species recovery. This paper is the first to provide a comprehensive analysis of the impact of HCPs on species recovery ...

Posted in Conservation

According to Ryan McCarthy with KeysNet (June 27, 2012), the County Commission in Monroe County, Florida has agreed to take responsibility for reviewing permits for new development within the county to ascertain whether such development is likely to affect species listed as threatened or endangered under the federal Endangered Species Act.  The County took this action to avoid suspension of the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) there by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).  Monroe County was the locus of the first lawsuit under the Endangered Species Act (ESA ...

The Bay Delta Conservation Plan (BDCP) is a daunting conservation planning exercise.  The affected ecosystems have been irreversibly altered; a number of the covered species are at risk of extinction over the next century; despite the investment of billions of dollars, the monitoring scheme in place is inadequate to provide scientists with data necessary to generate robust analyses needed to make informed resource management decisions; and the entire exercise is a political hot potato.

The State committed to release a public draft of the BDCP in June 2012, but in a letter to the ...

Posted in Listing

The Fish and Wildlife Service made a decision (pdf) recently not to list the dunes sagebrush lizard (Sceloporus arenicolus) as threatened or endangered under the Endangered Species Act.  The distribution of the small, light brown lizard is limited to western Texas and southeastern New Mexico. The status of the species has been uncertain for a number of years; in 2004 the Service determined that listing the species was warranted but precluded by higher priority actions and in 2010 the Service proposed to list the species as endangered.  The potential listing of the species drew strong ...

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Posted in Court Decisions

Recently, the United States District Court for the District of Oregon issued a decision (pdf) denying the motion of plaintiff environmental groups for a preliminary injunction to halt lethal removal of California sea lions (Zalophus californianus) from the Columbia River to reduce predation pressure on salmonids as they migrate past the Bonneville Dam.  The decision is the latest chapter in a long-running dispute over efforts to protect salmon runs in the Columbia River system.

The States of Oregon, Washington, and Idaho applied for and obtained authorization from the National ...

Posted in Court Decisions

In Conservation Congress v. Finley, 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 61634 (May 2, 2012), plaintiffs challenge agency decisions that authorize the Beaverslide Timber Sale and Fuel Treatment Project located in the Six Rivers National Forest in northern California on the grounds the project violates the Endangered Species Act (ESA), National Environmental Policy Act, and National Forest Management Act.  Among other things, plaintiffs allege that the Forest Service unlawfully failed to reinitiate consultation with the Fish and Wildlife Service under section 7(a)(2) of the ESA ...

Large-scale habitat conservation plans often are under development for many years then mired in the regulatory process for many more.  The Bay Delta Conservation Plan (BDCP) is not exceptional because it has hit a number of bumps in the road.  But it is exceptional because the plan development and regulatory processes are transparent and being scrutinized by a multitude of interests at every step, including some that will challenge the BDCP in court irrespective of the merits of the Plan for both society and the at-risk species it is designed to protect.  For the past several months, the ...

Posted in Court Decisions

The United States District Court for the Northern District of California issued an order (pdf) denying cross motions for summary judgment in a case brought by plaintiffs suing the City and County of San Francisco over the management of Sharp Park Golf Course, which San Francisco owns but which is located in the City of Pacifica in San Mateo County, California.  At issue in the case is whether San Francisco’s management of the golf course violates the take prohibition of the Endangered Species Act (ESA).  Previously, we posted a blog describing plaintiffs' unsuccessful attempt to ...

Posted in Court Decisions

The United States District Court for the Western District of Washington issued a decision (pdf) denying a request by the National Wildlife Federation (NWF) to enjoin the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) from providing flood insurance, either directly or through third-party entities, for any new development in certain jurisdictions in the Puget Sound area until the case is resolved on the merits.  We blogged about the case previously, here.  NWF filed the case against FEMA for failure to fully implement the reasonable and prudent alternative (RPA) that ...

Posted in Listing

The National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) recently concluded that listing of the Chinook salmon (Oncorhynchus tshawytscha) in the Upper Klamath and Trinity Rivers Basin as threatened or endangered is not warranted.  The agency made the 12-month finding following receipt of a petition to list the species in January 2011 from the Center for Biological Diversity, Oregon Wild, Environmental Protection Information Center, and The Larch Company.

In its 12-month finding, NMFS included both spring-run and fall-run Chinook salmon populations in the Klamath River Basin ...

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The National Research Council's Committee on Sustainable Water and Environmental Management in the California Bay-Delta issued its final report (pdf) entitled Sustainable Water and Environmental Management in the California Bay-Delta.  The report is 220 pages and includes five chapters as well as a number of appendix.  The National Research Council established the Committee at the request of Congress and the Departments of the Interior and Commerce.  The task statement for this final report was as follows:

  • Identify the factors that may be contributing to the decline of ...
Posted in Litigation

In a case with a complicated procedural history, the United States District Court for the District of Oregon recently held (pdf) that a claim for failure to consult under section 7 of the Endangered Species Act (ESA) arises under the citizen suit provision of that Act rather than under the Administrative Procedure Act (APA).  In doing so, the Court followed the Ninth Circuit's reasoning in Western Watersheds Project v. Kraayenbrink, 632 F.3d 472 (9th Cir. 2011) (pdf) and rejected a contrary interpretation included in proposed findings and recommendations (pdf) of the magistrate.  ...

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Posted in Litigation

On Tuesday, March 27, the United States District Court for the Western District of Washington will hear argument in a suit filed by National Wildlife Federation against the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) for failure to fully implement the reasonable and prudent alternative (RPA) that accompanied the National Marine Fisheries Service's (NMFS) biological opinion regarding the impacts of the FEMA's National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) on listed species in the Puget Sound.

In 2004, the United States District Court for the Western District of Washington ruled

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Posted in Listing

The Pacific Legal Foundation has filed a lawsuit (pdf) in order to force the Fish and Wildlife Service to make a determination whether to delist the valley elderberry longhorn beetle (Desmocerus californicus dimorphus), a species with a distribution from southern Shasta County to Fresno County in California's Central Valley.  The lawsuit was reported by a number of news outlets including the Sacramento Bee (March 15, 2012, by Matt Weiser).

The valley elderberry longhorn beetle was listed by the Service as threatened under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) in 1980.  At that time, the ...

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Posted in Listing

As Dean Kuipers reported in the Los Angeles Times, on February 27, four environmental groups petitioned the California Fish and Game Commission to list the gray wolf (Canis lupis) as endangered under the California Endangered Species Act.  The petition is available here (pdf).  As I previously reported, a lone gray wolf briefly crossed the border from Oregon to California in December 2011.  The last documented gray wolf in the State prior to that time was seen in 1924.

The status of the gray wolf under the federal Endangered Species Act is described here (pdf).

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Posted in Conservation

Two stories covered in recent news highlight the challenges associated with integrating scientific information into public policy, including in the arena of agency decision-making respecting threatened and endangered species.  One, available here (The Observer, Feb. 18, 2012, by Robin McKie), covered the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS).  At that meeting, AAAS President and accomplished biologist Nina Fedoroff expressed profound dismay about what she perceives as a growing anti-science movement.  As was reported in The Observer, "[certain] institutions, acting as covers for major energy corporations, are responsible for the onslaught that has deeply lowered the reputation of science in many people's minds in America. This has come in the form of personal attacks on the reputations of scientists and television adverts that undermine environment laws."  The archetype example of the anti-science movement in action, according to sources cited in the article, is the debate over the scientific basis for the theory of anthropogenically generated climate change.

A second story, available here (Los Angeles Times, Feb. 22, 2012, by Neela Banerjee), covered the admission by Dr. Peter Gleick, President of The Pacific Institute, that he lied to obtain documents regarding climate change from The Heartland Institute.  As the Los Angeles Times reported, "[a] noted California scientist and environmental activist has admitted that he assumed a false identity to obtain and distribute internal documents from a libertarian group that questions climate change."  Dr. Gleick apologized for his actions explaining he was frustrated by attacks upon climate change science and scientists.  It is unclear how his actions may affect Dr. Gleick's professional life though it appears likely to have adverse consequences.  Fox News reports that "[t]he Task Force on Scientific Ethics for the well-respected American Geophysical Union has quietly expunged the name of committee chairman Peter H. Gleick from its website."

Posted in Listing

As the Department of Fish and Game(DFG)  reported, at its February 2012 meeting the California Fish and Game Commission "moved to list the Sierra Nevada yellow-legged frog (Rana sierrae) as a threatened species and the southern mountain yellow-legged frog (R. muscosa) as an endangered species."  The latter is listed (pdf) as endangered under the federal Endangered Species Act (ESA), and a final rule (pdf) designating critical habitat for the species was promulgated in 2006.  The former is a candidate for listing under the federal ESA.

According to DFG, "Mountain yellow-legged frogs ...

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At its February 2012 meeting, the California Fish and Game Commission unanimously rejected a recommendation by the California Department of Fish and Game, National Marine Fisheries Service, and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to initiate environmental review of a staff report and proposal (pdf) jointly developed by those agencies to alter the striped bass sport-fishing regulations in order to reduce predation by non-native striped bass on native species that are listed under the federal Endangered Species Act (ESA).  In addition to the three state and federal wildlife ...

Posted in Listing

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has prepared a 90-day finding (pdf) under the Endangered Species Act, in which it concludes that list of the ‘I’iwi (Vestiaria coccinea) as threatened or endangered  may be warranted, according to an article in Greenwire by April Reese.  The species, also known as the scarlet Hawaiian honeycreeper, is endemic to Hawaii, and its known distribution is limited to the islands of Hawaii, Maui, Molokai, Oahu, and Kauai.

The Service received a petition to list the species on August 25, 2010, from Noah Greenwald, Center for Biological Diversity, and Dr ...

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Posted in Litigation

In September 2011, we reported that a federal district court made a rare finding of agency bad faith in litigation challenging a biological opinion and reasonable and prudent alternative (RPA) issued with respect to the effects of the Central Valley Project and State Water Project in California on the threatened delta smelt.  The finding came on the heels of a decision by the court granting injunctive relief to the State of California and public water agencies and agricultural interests, enjoining implementation of a component of the RPA previously determined to be arbitrary and capricious, which is referred to as the Fall X2 Action.  Following the bad faith finding, the House of Representatives held an oversight hearing, and a number of Representatives expressed their concern about the conduct of the federal agency personnel.

Rather than launch an Inspector General's investigation, the Service decided to hire an engineering and designing consulting firm, Atkins, to oversee a review of the finding of bad faith.  At the same time, the Service vehemently defended the conduct of its personnel, going so far as to give a merit award to one of the two personnel charged with bad faith less than a month after the court's decision and well before the outside review was completed.  The decision to contract directly with an outside organization to conduct the review allowed the Service to control the scope of the review including the questions posed to the reviewers, determine what materials the reviewers would be provided, and limit the panel to communicating only with the Department of the Interior during the course of the review.

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Posted in Conservation

As Peter Fimrite reported in the San Francisco Chronicle, this week a lone gray wolf (Canis lupis) crossed the border from Oregon into California.  This marks the first time since 1924 that a wolf was seen in California.  The species was hunted to extinction within the state, due at least in part to concerns about the risks it posed to humans.  The species is listed (pdf) as endangered under the federal Endangered Species Act.  It is not listed under the California Endangered Species Act.

Posted in Delisting

Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar recently announced that the Fish and Wildlife Service would remove the gray wolf (Canis lupus) population in the Great Lakes region from the list of threatened and endangered species under the Endangered Species Act (ESA).  The species was listed in 1967 under the predecessor to the ESA.  The final rule delisting the gray wolf is available here (pdf).  The Service released the proposed rule (pdf) on May 5, 2011.  The population of gray wolfs in the Great Lakes region is estimated (pdf) to include 2,921 wolves in Minnesota, 687 wolves in ...

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Posted in Litigation

The United States District Court for the Southern District of Texas issued a decision (pdf) denying cross motions for summary judgment in a case brought by a non-profit group against State officials in Texas alleging violation of the Endangered Species Act’s (ESA) prohibition on take of the federally listed whooping crane (Grus americana). Plaintiffs allege that Defendants, who are officials with the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality and the South Texas Watermaster, failed to adequately manage the flow of fresh water into the San Antonio Bay ecosystem during the ...

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Posted in Court Decisions

The United States District Court for the Northern District of California issued an order (pdf) denying a motion for preliminary relief filed by plaintiffs suing the City and County of San Francisco over the management of Sharp Park Golf Course, which San Francisco owns but which is located in the City of Pacifica in San Mateo County, California. At issue in the case is whether San Francisco’s management of the golf course violates the take prohibition of the Endangered Species Act (ESA). Plaintiffs sought an injunction that would substantially restrict activities necessary to ...

 

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has announced that its Endangered Species Bulletin will be available exclusively in an online-only format going forward.  The Bulletin will be updated bi-monthly and will include a single in-depth feature articles, additional supporting articles, and other content.  The website for the Bulletin provides access to an archive that includes past editions back to 2000.

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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