Posts in Listing.

On March 16, 2018, the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (FWS) announced the withdrawal of its 2016 proposed rule to list San Fernando Valley spineflower (Chorizanthe parryi var. fernandina), a southern California plant species, as a threatened species under the Endangered Species Act (ESA).  The spineflower’s conservation has been one component of the long-standing conflict over the development of Newhall Ranch in northern Los Angeles County, since its discovery on the property in 2000.

According to FWS, the spineflower no longer meets the statutory definition of a threatened or ...

On February 27, 2018, the National Marine Fisheries Service (Service) published a 90-day finding on the Karuk Tribe and Salmon River Restoration Council’s (Petitioners) petition to list the Upper Klamath-Trinity Rivers Basin (UKTR) Chinook salmon (Oncorhynchus tshawtscha) evolutionarily significant unit (ESU) as endangered or threatened.  Based on the information included in Petitioners’ filing, the Service found that listing the UKTR ESU as endangered or threatened under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) may be warranted.

The Service’s determination follows a ...

On February 27, 2018, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) finalized a regulation removing Eureka Valley evening-primrose (Oenothera californica ssp. eurekensis) from the Federal List of Endangered and Threatened Plants.  The delisting, originally proposed in 2014, is based on the elimination of threats to the subspecies, accomplished largely as a result of the 1994 designation and ongoing management of its dune habitat as federal wilderness within Death Valley National Park.  The National Park Service manages the federal wilderness area under the Park Service’s Organic ...

On February 12, 2018, in Alaska Oil & Gas Association v. National Marine Fisheries Service, Case No. 16-35380, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit reversed a 2016 decision by the U.S. District Court for the District of Alaska that vacated a final regulation listing the Arctic subspecies of ringed seal (Phoca hispida hispidaPhoca hispida ochotensis, and Phoca hispida botanica) as threatened and the Ladoga subspecies of ringed seal (Phoca hispida ladogensis) as endangered under the Endangered Species Act, 16 U.S.C. §§ 1531 et seq. (ESA).

Posted in Listing

At its February 2018 meeting, the California Fish and Game Commission (Commission) received the one-year status review report on a petition to list tricolored blackbird (Agelaius tricolor) as a threatened or endangered species from the Department of Fish and Wildlife (Department).  In the status report the Department recommends listing the species as threatened under the California Endangered Species Act.  Because the species is so widely distributed and abundant, listing could have major impacts on building, farming, and public infrastructure activities and projects across ...

On February 6, 2018, the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) announced an extension of the public comment period for the 5-year review of the endangered Western Distinct Population Segment (DPS) of the Steller sea Lion (Eumetopias jubatus).  The Western DPS includes Steller sea lions that reside in the central and western Gulf of Alaska, Aleutian Islands, as well as those that inhabit coastal waters in Asia.  According to the Federal Register notice, the extension of the comment period to April 6, 2018 was issued in response to a request for additional time.  In addition ...

On January 30, 2018, the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) issued a final rule listing the oceanic whitetip shark (Carcharinus lonigmanus) as a threatened species under the Endangered Species Act (ESA).  This final listing rule is the culmination of NMFS’ analysis following the 2015 petition filed by Defenders of Wildlife seeking to either list the species range-wide or, alternatively, to list two distinct populations (DPSs) of the oceanic whitetip shark.  In the final rule, NMFS notes that the shark is a globally-distributed species that has not undergone any range ...

As 2018 approaches, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) made a few announcements that will likely impact the list of threatened and endangered species.  In these last 11 days of 2017, the Service announced 90-day findings on petitions to list or reclassify five species, and 12-month findings on petitions to list or de-list two species under the ESA.

  • On December 20, 2017, the Service announced 90-day findings on petitions for five separate species. The Service found that the petitioned actions for each of the five species may be warranted, based on the information presented in ...

In the Fall 2017 publication of the Unified Agenda of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, the Department of the Interior announced its intent to revise the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s regulations governing interagency cooperation and exceptions to the conservation of endangered and threatened species of fish, wildlife, and plants. In a separate announcement in the same publication, the Department of the Interior stated that it intends to revise regulations governing the listing of endangered and threatened species and the designation of critical ...

Posted in Listing

On October 17, 2017, the California Fish and Game Commission (Commission) published notice of its preliminary positive finding on a petition to list the Cascades frog (Rana cascadae) as threatened or endangered under the California Endangered Species Act (CESA).  The Cascades frog inhabits a variety of habitats—including large lakes, ponds, wet meadows and streams—at mid-to-high elevations from the Klamath-Trinity region, along the Cascades Range axis in the vicinity of Mt. Shasta, southward to the headwater tributaries of the Feather River.  The California populations ...

On Thursday, October 5, 2017, the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (Service) announced 12-month not warranted findings on petitions to list 25 species as endangered or threatened under the Endangered Species Act (ESA).  It is likely that the Service’s not warranted findings represent the Trump administration’s departure from the previous administration’s  90-day determinations wherein the Service found that the petitions contain substantial information that listing may be warranted.  For over half of the 25 species, the not warranted findings satisfy the terms of various ...

On September 20, 2017, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) listed three separate species under the Endangered Species Act ("ESA").  USFWS listed the Sonoyta mud turtle (Kinosternon sonoriense) as endangered, and the 'I'iwi (Drepanis coccinea) and pearl darter (Percina aurora) as threatened species under the ESA.  Despite listing all three species, the USFWS deferred designating critical habitat for the three species.  The three listing decisions, all of which were compelled by settlements that the USFWS entered into during the Obama administration, are summarized below.

Posted in Listing

On August 9, 2017, the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) issued a 12-month finding on a petition to list the Pacific bluefin tuna (Thunnus orientalis) as an endangered or threatened species under the Endangered Species Act (ESA), concluding that listing at this time is not warranted.  NMFS determined that the species is not endangered throughout all or a significant portion of its range, and that it is not likely to become endangered in the foreseeable future.

NMFS’s 12-month finding follows the Center for Biological Diversity’s June 20, 2016 petition to list the ...

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On June 23, 2017, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) promulgated a long-awaited final rule to delist the Hualapai Mexican vole (Microtus mexicanus hualpaiensis) (HMV) due to the Service’s determination that the original 1987 listing of the HMV under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) was in error.  Based upon more recent scientific and commercial information, the Service concluded that the HMV is not a distinguishable subspecies of Mexican vole and thus is not a valid taxonomic entity listable under the ESA.  This error in taxonomic classification was first raised by a ...

Earlier this week, the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (Service) issued a notice in the Federal Register that it was reopening the comment period on five proposed rules for four plant species.  Specifically, the proposed rules include the following: (1) listing Guadalupe fescue (Festuca ligulata) as an endangered species; (2) designating Guadalupe fescue critical habitat; (3) reclassifying Tobusch fishhook cactus (Sclerocactus brevihamatus ssp. tobuschii) from endangered to threatened; (4) reclassifying Kuenzler hedgehog cactus (Echinocereus fendleri var.

On January 11, 2017, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) published a final rule listing the rusty patched bumble bee (Bombus affinis) as endangered under the Endangered Species Act (ESA).  The rusty patched bumble bee’s historic range encompassed areas of 28 states and the District of Columbia (Connecticut, Delaware, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota ...

On January 5, 2017, the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) published notice of the availability of the final Recovery Plan for the Cook Inlet Beluga Whale (Delphinapterus leucas).  The Endangered Species Act (ESA) requires the preparation and implementation of recovery plans for all listed species, unless the Secretary of Commerce determines that doing so does not promote the recovery of the species.  NMFS listed the Cook Inlet distinct population segment (DPS) of beluga whale (CI beluga) as endangered under the ESA in 2008 and designated critical habitat in 2011.

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Posted in Listing

The Candidate Notice of Review is an annual appraisal by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) of plants and animals that are candidates for Endangered Species Act protection.  A "candidate" species is a species for which there is sufficient information to support a proposal for listing as an endangered or threatened species under the Endangered Species Act, but the formal listing determination is delayed because of higher priority listing actions for other species.  The Candidate Notice of Review, among other things, "summarizes the status and threats ...

The National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) recently completed its review of the status of eastern North Pacific harbor seals (Phoca vitulina richardii) in Iliamna Lake, Alaska, a large freshwater lake in Alaska connected to the Bristol Bay region of the Bering Sea.  NMFS concluded (pdf) that the seals do not constitute a species, subspecies, or distinct population segment (DPS) under the Endangered Species Act (ESA), and, thus, listing the harbor seals in Iliamna Lake as threatened or endangered is not warranted.

The Center for Biological Diversity (CDB) submitted a petition to ...

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On November 2, 2016, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) issued a final rule adding ten species to the List of Endangered and Threatened Wildlife, and updating the listings of five other species. Of the ten new species added, only one, the Nassau grouper (Epinephelus striatus), occurs in the United States.  The grouper, which is found in Florida, was listed as a threatened species.  The nine other species include three angelshark species (Squatina aculeata, S. oculata, and S. squatina), found in the Mediterranean Sea and eastern Atlantic; three coral species (Cantharellus ...

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The distinct population segment of the North American wolverine (Gulo gulf luscus) has had a long and difficult history with the Endangered Species Act (ESA).  However, things appeared to be changing in 2013, when, after denying a number of prior listing petitions at various stages of the process, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) announced its proposal to list the wolverine as a threatened species under the ESA, citing anticipated habitat loss due to climate change.  (See our February 3, 2013 post for a summary of this history.)  While this put the wolverine squarely on ...

On October 5, 2016, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) listed a beetle species as endangered, a fish species as threatened, and designated critical habitat for the fish species pursuant to the Endangered Species Act (ESA).

The Service listed the Miami tiger beetle (Cicindelidia floridana), which occurs in Miami-Dade County, Florida, as endangered under the ESA.  According to the Service, the decline in the species is due to the impact of habitat loss, degradation, and fragmentation, the inadequacy of existing regulatory protections, and the beetle’s relatively ...

On September 27, 2016, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and National Marine Fisheries Service (Agencies) published a final rule (pdf) that revises the regulations governing the Endangered Species Act’s (ESA) petition process.  According to the Agencies, the revisions are intended to improve the content and specificity of petitions and enhance the efficiency and effectiveness of the petition process to support species conservation.  The final rule, which revises 50 CFR 424.14, also clarifies the procedures by which the Agencies will evaluate petitions under section 4(b)(3 ...

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On September 15, 2016, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) proposed to list as threatened the San Fernando Valley spineflower (Chorizanthe parryi var. fernandina), a plant species native to Southern California, under the Endangered Species Act.  The proposal is one of dozens under a settlement reached in litigation challenging USFWS’s failure to propose listing or determine that listing is not warranted for 251 candidate species.  The proposed rule to list the plant species as threatened ends over 16 years on USFWS’s candidate list; it was listed as endangered under the ...

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The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) and National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) have issued listing decisions on a number of species under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) in recent days, and USFWS has announced notable changes in its recovery strategy for the red wolf.

  • On September 7, 2016, USFWS reopened the comment period for its proposed rule to remove the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem population of grizzly bear (Ursus arctos horribilis) from the list of threatened species. The initial proposed rule emphasized that the States of Montana, Wyoming, and Idaho needed to ...
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On August 25, 2016, the California Fish and Game Commission (Commission) voted unanimously to list the northern spotted owl (Strix occidentalis caurina) as a threatened species under the California Endangered Species Act.  The owl is already listed as a threatened species under the Federal Endangered Species Act.  The Commission's action increased protections for the species by allowing for state and citizen enforcement actions through the California Department of Fish and Wildlife and the state courts.

In California, the northern spotted owl’s range extends south along ...

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 ...

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 ...
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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 ...

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On June 2, 2016, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) issued a 90-day finding that listing populations of the Northwestern moose (Alces alces andersoni) under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) may be warranted.  The Service’s 90-day finding is in response to a petition filed in July 2015 by the Center for Biological Diversity and Honor the Earth, which asked that the moose be listed as a threatened or endangered distinct population segment (DPS).

The U.S. population of Northwestern moose inhabits the upper peninsula of Michigan, Minnesota, North Dakota and Wisconsin.  In ...

After filing an appeal with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit less than two weeks prior, on May 10, 2016, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) filed an unopposed motion to voluntarily dismiss its appeal of the district court decision that vacated the listing of the lesser prairie-chicken (Tympanuchus pallidicinctus) as threatened under the Endangered Species Act (ESA).  The U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas, Midland Division, identified a number of errors in the Service’s evaluation of the species under the criteria laid out in the ...

On April 21, 2016, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and National Marine Fisheries Service (collectively, Service) announced revisions to their proposed modifications  to  the Endangered Species Act (ESA) petition process. 81 Fed. Reg. 23,448 (Apr. 21, 2016) (pdf).  In May 2015, the Service announced proposed changes to the petition process for listing a species or seeking to change the listing status of a species under the ESA. 80 Fed. Reg. 29,286 (May 21, 2015) (pdf).  The Service’s proposed rule originally required petitions to list species to address only one species, contain ...

On April 4, 2016, the U.S. District Court for the District of Montana vacated the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s (Service) August 13, 2014 withdrawal of its proposed rule to list the distinct population segment of the North American wolverine (Withdrawal).  The Withdrawal signaled a complete departure from the Service’s February 2013 proposed rule to list the wolverine as a threatened species under the Endangered Species Act (ESA).  The court’s decision is the newest chapter in what has been a contentious and storied path to a listing decision for the North American ...

On March 15, 2016, in Alaska Oil & Gas Association v. National Marine Fisheries Service, case number 4:14-cv-00029-RRB, the U.S. District Court for the District of Alaska vacated a final regulation promulgated by the National Marine Fisheries Service ("NMFS") listing the Arctic subspecies of ringed seal (Phoca hispida hispida, Phoca hispida ochotensis, and Phoca hispida botanica) as threatened and the Ladoga subspecies of ringed seal (Phoca hispida ladogensis) as endangered under the Endangered Species Act ("ESA").  The State of Alaska, North Slope Borough and the Alaska Oil ...

On February 29, 2016, the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas rejected the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's (Service) request to reinstate federal Endangered Species Act (ESA) protections for the lesser prairie chicken (Tympanuchus pallidicinctus).  Permian Basin Petrol. Ass 'n v. Dep 't of the Interior, No. 7:14-CV-50 (W.D. Tex. Feb. 29, 2016.).  In September 2015, the court ruled on a challenge brought by the Permian Basin Petroleum Association and four New Mexico counties and vacated the final rule listing the lesser prairie chicken as threatened under the ESA.  ...

In a notice published on January 15, 2016, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) announced a draft methodology for prioritizing species status reviews and 12-month findings on petitions for listing species under the Endangered Species Act (ESA).  81 Fed. Reg. 2,229 (Jan. 15, 2016).  The Service currently has over 500 unresolved species status reviews and associated 12-month findings on petitions for listing, and intends to use the changes to its methods to set priorities on how and when those unresolved petitions will be addressed.  The Service’s draft methodology will not ...

On January 6, 2016, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) issued its 12-month finding on the petition to list the Alexander Archipelago wolf (Canis lupus ligoni) as an endangered or threatened species under the Endangered Species Act, concluding that listing the wolf species throughout all or a significant portion of its range "is not warranted at this time."

The Alexander Archipelago wolf inhabits the mainland of southeastern Alaska, coastal British Columbia, and several island complexes.  On March 31, 2014, the Service issued a 90-day finding for the wolf stating that ...

Posted in Listing

On December 24, 2015, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) released its annual Candidate Notice of Review (CNOR) summarizing the status of species that qualify as candidates for listing under the Endangered Species Act (ESA).  The 2015 CNOR identifies all species designated as candidates and explains the changes to the candidate list from the 2014 CNOR.  The Service assigns each candidate species a listing priority number (LPN) indicating the magnitude of the threat to a species’ continued existence (with one being the highest priority, and twelve being the lowest ...

Under the Endangered Species Act (ESA), a citizen plaintiff is required to provide a notice no less than 60-days before filing certain types of lawsuits against the federal government.  For example, a 60-day notice is required before a citizen plaintiff may file a lawsuit seeking to compel the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) to issue a decision on an ESA listing petition.  The primary purpose of the 60-day notice is to give the federal government an opportunity to review and, if necessary, correct the alleged ESA violation before incurring the cost of ...

Posted in Congress, Listing

After weeks of negotiations, on December 18, 2015, Congress finally approved the Fiscal Year 2016 omnibus spending bill.  One hotly debated issue related to the controversial greater sage grouse (Centrocercus urophasianus).  Republicans had hoped to include a rider rolling back the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and the U.S. Forest Service’s sage grouse conservation plans across 67 million acres in several Western states, including California, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, North Dakota, Oregon, South Dakota, Utah and Wyoming.  This rider was ultimately cut from the ...

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On October 27, 2015, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) issued a memorandum to the Service Regional Directors announcing new guidance to streamline findings on petitions to list species under the Endangered Species Act (ESA).  The stated purpose of the guidance is to streamline petition findings while ensuring [the Service] conducts an adequate review of petitions.   The memorandum clarifies that this guidance is interim guidance until the Service’s amendments to its petition listing rules are final.  Once finalized, the guidance will supersede previous guidance ...

In a notice published on October 8, 2015, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) announced its proposed 12-month finding on the Center for Biological Diversity’s (CBD) petition to list the Sierra Nevada red fox (Vulpes vulpes necator) as endangered or threatened under the federal Endangered Species Act. The Service determined that listing of the subspecies is not warranted because the fox is more abundant than previously believed and because known and potential stressors to the fox are not likely to cause the subspecies to become endangered in the foreseeable future ...

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During the last week of its fiscal year, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) made several findings under section 4 of the Endangered Species Act (ESA) to meet its obligations under the 2011 listing settlement workplan.  Below is a brief summary of these findings.

On September 29, 2015, the Service published a proposed rule to list four plant species from South Florida (specifically Miami-Dade and Monroe counties).  These include the Big Pine partridge pea (Chamaecrista lineata var. keyensis), the wedge spurge (Chamaesyce deltoidea ssp. Serpyllum) the sand flax (Linum ...

On September 22, 2015, Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell announced that the greater sage-grouse (Centrocercus urophasianus) does not warrant protection under the Endangered Species Act (ESA).  The Department of the Interior is calling the greater sage-grouse strategy the largest land conservation effort in U.S. history and a 21st-century approach to conservation.  In reaching its not warranted finding, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) relied upon the collective conservation efforts of the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), U.S. Forest Service (USFS), State ...

On September 18, 2015, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) issued 90-day findings on 25 petitions to list various plants and animals under the Endangered Species Act (ESA).  Of the 25 petitions, the Service concluded that 23 petitions presented substantial scientific or commercial information indicating that the petitioned actions may be warranted, and initiated 12-month status reviews for those species to determine if the listing is warranted under the ESA.  These species include:

Species Latin Name Range
Blue Calamintha bee Osmia calaminthae Florida
California ...
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On September 15, 2015, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) published (pdf) its 12-month finding on a petition to list the New England cottontail (Sylvilagus transitionalis) as an endangered or threatened species under the Endangered Species Act (ESA).  The Service determined that listing the species is not warranted.

The New England cottontail is the only rabbit native to New England and the area east of the Hudson River in New York.  It was first identified as a candidate species in 2006, when the Service published a finding that listing the New England cottontail as ...

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On September 1, the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas, Midland Division vacated the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s (Service) Final Rule listing the Lesser Prairie Chicken (LPC) as threatened.  The Service had published its final rule listing the LPC as threatened on April 10, 2014 amidst significant controversy as to whether the listing was needed.  In conjunction with the decision to list the LPC as a threatened species, the Service issued a special take rule under section 4(d) of the Endangered Species Act.  The 4(d) Rule allowed those who participate in the ...

Posted in Listing

On August 6, 2015, the California Fish and Game Commission (Commission) voted to list the southern Sierra Nevada evolutionarily significant unit of the fisher (Pekania pennati) as a threatened species under the California Endangered Species Act, but determined not to list the northern California evolutionarily significant unit.  In doing so, the Commission followed the recommendation of the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (Department).

According to the Department’s status review, [n]ative populations of fishers currently occur in Canada, the western United ...

Whether dealing with water or with endangered species directly, there have been a number of recent developments that are worth keeping on your radar.  Below is a quick summary of some of the more significant items:

July 16, 2015 - The House of Representative, in a largely partisan vote, passed H.R. 2898, the Western Water and American Food Security Act of 2015, by a vote of  245-176.  The Act, which is intended to ease some of the effects of the unprecedented drought gripping California, requires, among other things, for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the National ...

On July 1, 2015, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) published notice of its 90-day findings on petitions to list 31 species under the Endangered Species Act (ESA).  Of these 31 species, all of which occur in the United States, the Service made positive 90-day findings on 21 petitions.  A positive finding on a listing petition prompts a 12-month review of each species by the Service to determine whether listing is warranted.  Of the remaining ten petitions, the Service concluded that nine petitions failed to provide substantial information demonstrating that listing action may be warranted.  Most species addressed in the findings originated from a 53-species mega-petition filed by the Center for Biological Diversity (CBD) in July 2012.  If the Service finalizes its May 21, 2015 proposed rule to revise the regulations for species listing petitions, multi-species petitions such as the one filed by CBD will no longer be accepted by the Service.

Perhaps most notably, the Service’s publication included a denial of the petition to reclassify or downlist the gray wolf (Canis lupis) from its current status as endangered to threatened.  Twenty-two petitioners (including the Humane Society of the United States, CBD, and the Sault Sainte Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians) signed the 2015 petition requesting reclassification of the gray wolf (excluding the Mexican wolf subspecies (Canis lupus baileyi) throughout the conterminous United States).  The Service first concluded that the petition failed to provide substantial information indicating that the population proposed for reclassification may qualify as a distinct population segment.  The Service acknowledged that this finding alone was enough to deny the petition for reclassification, but stated that the status of the gray wolf has been a source of significant controversy over the past few years, and due to the controversy, also concluded that the petition did not provide substantial information indicating that the gray wolf at large would qualify as threatened rather than endangered.

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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