Yesterday, the U.S. Supreme Court denied certiorari in California Sea Urchin Commission v. Combs (Combs), Docket No. 17-1636, an appeal from a Ninth Circuit decision regarding endangered Southern sea otters (Enhydra lutris nereis) and deference to the decisions of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service). As we reported here last month, the case was seen as a potential vehicle for the Court to take up the broader issue of Chevron deference, the legal doctrine that requires courts to defer to an agency’s interpretation of an ambiguous statute so long as that interpretation is ...
As the U.S. Supreme Court prepares for its upcoming October 2018 term, one petition concerning an endangered sea otter relocation program is attracting a lot of attention as a potential vehicle for the Court to consider the broader issue of Chevron deference, the legal doctrine that requires courts to defer to an agency’s reasonable interpretation of an ambiguous statute. The petition has also created odd bedfellows, as the Department of Justice under the Trump Administration finds itself arguing alongside several national environmental non-profit organizations that the ...
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 27, 2017, the California Supreme Court reversed a Court of Appeal decision dismissing a petition for writ of mandate regarding the California Fish and Game Commission’s (Commission) rejection of a petition to delist the population of coho salmon (Oncorhynchus kisutch) south of San Francisco under the California Endangered Species Act (CESA). Central Coast Forest Assoc. v. Fish and Game Comm’n, Case No. S208181, 2017 Cal. LEXIS 1540 (Cal. Feb. 27, 2017). The California Supreme Court held that the Court of Appeal erred by failing to consider the merits of the ...
While the larger controversy is far from over, for the California and Nevada populations of the greater sage grouse (Centrocercus urophasianus), the controversy does appear to be put to rest. In 2013, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) published a proposed rule to list the bi-state population as threatened under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). In the proposed rule, the Service stated that the bi-state population was genetically distinct and geographically isolated from other greater sage grouse populations, and warranted protection under the ESA primarily because ...
In a landmark executive order (pdf) issued on April 1, 2015, Governor Jerry Brown mandated a 25 percent water cutback for urban residents to address the state’s historic drought. Gov. Brown directed the State Water Resources Control Board to impose restrictions to achieve a statewide 25% reduction in potable urban water usage … as compared to the amount used in 2013. Local agencies may decide how to get customers to reduce consumption, with higher rates being a likely option. The state intends to impose penalties on local agencies that fail to comply with the water restriction ...
Citing new genetic evidence that the coastal California gnatcatcher is not a distinct subspecies as previously claimed, but is part of a single, healthy and abundant species that ranges from Southern California to the southern tip of Baja, Mexico, the National Association of Home Builders and several other parties filed a petition to remove the coastal California gnatcatcher from the list of threatened species. The petition to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) is based on a peer-reviewed study of gnatcatcher DNA by Dr. Robert Zink of the University of Minnesota and ...
On June 2, 2014, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) announced the listing of the Webber's ivesia (Ivesia webberi) as a threatened species under the Endangered Species Act, and the designation of 2,170 acres of critical habitat in Plumas, Lassen, and Sierra Counties in northeastern California, and in Washoe and Douglas Counties in northwestern Nevada. As stated in a related announcement issued by the Service, the rule listing the Webber's ivesia and designating critical habitat will not become effective until July 3, 2014. The identified threats to the species include ...
Yesterday, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (DFW) recommended that the California Fish and Game Commission not list the gray wolf as endangered under the California Endangered Species Act. Following a yearlong review, DFW determined that the scientific evidence does not warrant listing the species at this time. Instead, DFW recommended designating the gray wolf as a species of special concern – which affords the gray wolf some protection, including prohibiting the killing of the species – with a recommendation to consider placing the gray wolf on the ...
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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