The United States District Court for the Eastern District of California recently signed an order on a stipulation (pdf) in Murphy v. United States Forest Service that bars the Forest Service from proceeding with implementation of the Upper Echo Lake Hazardous Fuels Reduction Project in 2014 (Project), and requires the Forest Service to consult with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service regarding the effects of the Project on the endangered Sierra Nevada yellow-legged frog (Rana sierrae) before proceeding further with the Project.
The Forest Service approved the Upper Echo Lake Hazardous Fuel Reduction Project in 2012 and began to implement the Project in fall 2013 over the objections of conservation biologist Dr. Dennis Murphy. On behalf of Dr. Murphy, Nossaman filed an action challenging the Project in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of California. In October and November 2013, the Forest Service implemented the first phase of the Project, cutting trees and brush and creating slash piles consisting of the cut materials.
The agency invoked a categorical exclusion to avoid conducting environmental review of the Project under the National Environmental Policy Act, and until recently refused to evaluate the effects of the Project on the Sierra Nevada yellow-legged frog as required by the Endangered Species Act. Information regarding the deleterious impacts of the Project is available here.
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 ...
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.
Stay ConnectedRSS Feed
- Continuing Education
- Court Decisions
- Critical Habitat
- Fish & Wildlife Service
- Freedom of Information Act
- Migratory Bird
- National Marine Fisheries Service
- Pacific Northwest
- Regulatory Reform
- Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta
- Speaking Engagements
- Supreme Court