- Posts by Samantha SavoniAssociate
Having begun her legal career as a Summer Associate at Nossaman, Samantha Savoni has experience preparing memoranda on questions of environmental protection legislation, civil procedure and real property. As an Associate, Sam ...
This week, the New York Court of Appeals rejected a bid for writ of habeas corpus from an unusual petitioner: Happy, a 51-year-old, female Asian elephant, currently living in captivity at the Bronx Zoo.
In its 5-2 opinion, the court held that habeas corpus only protects against the unlawful and indefinite imprisonment of human beings, and that Petitioner, the Nonhuman Rights Project, could not use the legal mechanism to bust Happy out of the zoo and into an elephant sanctuary.
Though the outcome of the case was not particularly surprising, it did feature some surprising elements—the ...
Today, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) published a final rule revising the critical habitat designation for the northern spotted owl (Strix occidentalis caurina) under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). The final rule rescinds a previous rule issued by the Trump Administration on January 15, 2021, which was set to take effect this coming December, and would have excluded approximately 3.4 million acres from the species’ critical habitat designation. Instead, the Service’s new final rule excludes from the designation only 204,294 acres located across multiple ...
On October 25, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) published a proposed rule to designate critical habitat for the coastal distinct population segment (DPS) of Pacific marten (Martes caurina), also known as coastal marten, under the federal Endangered Species Act (ESA). In the proposed rule, the Service identifies a total of approximately 1,413,305 acres of land in northwestern California and southwestern Oregon to designate as critical habitat for the coastal marten.
Listed as a threatened species in October 2020, the coastal marten is a medium-sized carnivore in the ...
Last week, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) published two proposed rules to delist a total of 24 species under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). First, the Service published a proposed rule delist 23 species as a result of the species’ extinction. The 23 now-extinct species include thirteen species of birds, eight freshwater mussels, one Texas fish, and one Hawaiian plant. The Federal Register notice indicates that, based on the best available scientific and commercial data, these species are no longer extant, and therefore no longer meet the definitions of ...
On Monday, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) published a final rule delisting the now-recovered Cumberland sandwort (Arenaria cumberlandensis) under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). Originally listed as endangered in 1988, the Cumberland sandwort is a perennial plant species occurring in cave-like “rockhouses” or bluff sites throughout northern Tennessee and southern Kentucky. In 1996, the FWS released a recovery plan for the species. By December of 2013, the FWS recommended downlisting the Cumberland sandwort to threatened status, and in April of 2020, the ...
This week, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) published a 12-month finding on a petition to revise the critical habitat designation for the endangered Mount Graham red squirrel (Tamiasciurus hudsonicus grahamensis) under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). The Mount Graham red squirrel is a subspecies of red squirrel occurring only in certain high-elevation areas of the Coronado National Forest in Arizona.
In December of 2017, a group of eNGOs including the Center for Biological Diversity submitted a petition to FWS, requesting that the agency expand the subspecies’ ...
On July 13, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) published a proposed rule to designate critical habitat for the pearl darter (Percina aurora) under the federal Endangered Species Act (ESA). Listed as a threatened species under the ESA in September 2017, the pearl darter is a small, snub-nosed fish whose historical range includes Mississippi and Louisiana. The proposed critical habitat designation for the pearl darter includes a total of approximately 517 river miles along the Pascagoula River and Pearl River basins, which run across multiple counties in ...
On July 7, 2021, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) published a proposed rule in the Federal Register announcing the agency’s finding that the razorback sucker (Xyrauchen texanus) no longer warrants listing as an endangered species under the federal Endangered Species Act (ESA). As such, FWS has proposed to downlist the species to threatened status.
The razorback sucker is a freshwater fish measuring up to 3 feet long that gets its name from the bony ridge behind its head. The species is commonly found throughout the reservoirs, floodplains, and backwaters of the Colorado ...
This week, the United States Fish and Wildlife Service ("Service") published a final rule designating critical habitat for the northern Mexican gartersnake (Thamnophis eques megalops) under the Endangered Species Act (“ESA”). The final critical habitat designation includes a total of approximately 20,326 acres of land located in Arizona and New Mexico.
The northern Mexican gartersnake, an olive-colored snake identifiable by a pattern of vertical yellow stripes and paired black dots lining its body, typically occurs in shallow wetlands and aquatic habitats, such ...
On January 13, 2021, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) published a final rule to remove the inland population of the Interior least tern (Sterna (now Sternula) antillarum) from the list of endangered and threatened wildlife under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). Originally listed as an endangered species under the ESA in 1985, the Interior least tern is a small, fish-eating bird occurring along the Arkansas, Ohio, Mississippi, Missouri, Red, and Rio Grande rivers.
Prior to listing, the Interior least tern’s population had fallen below 2,000 as a result of habitat ...
The Sacramento Superior Court upheld a challenge to a decision by the California Fish and Game Commission to designate four subspecies of bumble bees as candidates for protection under the California Endangered Species Act (CESA). The decision in Almond Alliance et al. v. California Fish and Game Commission reinforces a long line of authority dating back several decades suggesting that insects are not subject to protection under CESA. It also reflects respect for the role of the coordinate branches of government in formulating, executing and interpreting the laws that the ...
The United States Fish and Wildlife Service ("Service") recently released a pre-publication version of its final rule to reclassify the American burying beetle (Nicrophorus americanus) from endangered to threatened under the Endangered Species Act (“ESA”). The final rule will also include 4(d) rule provisions that specify when the ESA section 9 take prohibitions will apply to the beetle.
The American burying beetle, which gets its name from its tendency to burrow under vegetation or into soil during the daytime and throughout the winter hibernation season, is the largest ...
The United States Fish and Wildlife Service ("Service") has recently received an application for an incidental take permit under Endangered Species Act section 10(a)(l)(A) to authorize take of the West Coast distinct population segment ("DPS") of fisher (Pekania pennanti) ("fisher") should it or its subpopulations become federally listed. As we have previously reported, the Service recently listed the Southern Sierra Nevada DPS of fisher as an endangered species.
The permit application, submitted by Oregon-based timberland investment company Chinook Forest Partners ...
On May 15, 2020, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service ("Service") published a final rule in the Federal Register announcing the agency’s determination to list the Southern Sierra Nevada (SSN) Distinct Population Segment (DPS) of fisher (Pekania pennanti) as endangered under the Endangered Species Act (ESA).
The fisher is a small, carnivorous mammal in the mustelid (commonly referred to as weasel) family. The SSN DPS of fisher, which occurs in California, was recently determined by the Service to be a separate subpopulation of the West Coast DPS.
The Service first proposed to list ...
On January 6, 2020, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) published a proposed rule in the Federal Register announcing the agency’s finding that the Kanab ambersnail (Oxyloma haydeni kanabensis) is no longer warranted for listing as an endangered species under the federal Endangered Species Act (ESA). The proposed rule states that the Kanab ambersnail does not represent a valid taxonomic entity, and therefore does not meet the definition of “species” under the ESA. The ESA defines “species” as including ''any subspecies of fish or wildlife or plants, and any distinct population segment of any species of vertebrate fish or wildlife which interbreeds when mature.”
The Kanab ambersnail, which gets its name from its mottled, amber-colored shell, is a terrestrial snail ...
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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