On July 10, 2023, Governor Newsom signed Senate Bill 147 (SB147) into law, amending California’s “fully protected species” statutes. These laws were enacted in 1970 and currently protect 37 species native to California, ranging from the North Pacific right whale (Eubalaena japonica) to the salt marsh harvest mouse (Reithrodontomys raviventris). The amendments enacted by the legislature and signed into law by the Governor create a temporary, 10-year permitting regime that allows proponents of a limited, defined set of projects to pursue authorization from the ...
On June 16, 2022, a vote by the California Fish and Game Commission (Commission) on whether the Western Joshua tree (Yucca brevifolia) should be listed as threatened under the California Endangered Species Act (CESA) resulted in a 2-2 tie. Pursuant to the Commission’s rules, the Western Joshua tree will remain a “candidate” under CESA and the issue will be taken up again at a subsequent Commission meeting. The Commission will take up the Western Joshua tree’s listing status at the agency’s October 12-13, 2022 meeting and will re-open the comment period on the species’ ...
Join us on March 29, 2022, when we will participate in the 2022 Annual AGWT-AGWA California Groundwater Issues Conference in Lakewood, CA, hosted by American Ground Water Trust and Association of Ground Water Agencies.
We will be providing a presentation entitled “The New Endangered Species ‘Protection’ Requirements for Steelhead Trout Will Impact Water Managers’ Options and Groundwater Sustainability Plans.” During this session, we will discuss how the new California endangered species listing will affect operations from Santa Maria, in the central ...
On February 16, 2022, a California state court upheld protections afforded the western Joshua tree (Yucca brevifolia) under the California Endangered Species Act (CESA). The ruling came in connection with a lawsuit filed by the California Construction and Industrial Materials Association and others (Plaintiffs), alleging that the California Fish and Game Commission (Commission) failed to abide by its own rules in finding a petition to list the western Joshua tree indicated listing the tree may be warranted. A Commission finding that listing a species under CESA may be warranted ...
In July 2021, CalTrout submitted a petition to the California Fish and Game Commission (Commission) to list a population of the fish Oncorhynchus mykiss, referred to as the Southern California Steelhead or Southern Steelhead, as an endangered species under the California Endangered Species Act (CESA). The population extends from the Santa Maria River system on the central coast of California to the border with Mexico. ...
In an article published this week in California Fish and Wildlife, co-authors Stephanie Clark, Ashley Remillard and I provide an overview of the process of determining whether to list species as threatened or endangered, and thereby protect them, under the California Endangered Species Act (CESA). Listing is the gateway to protection under CESA. The process is analogous to listing under the federal Endangered Species Act in certain respects but it also differs in a number of respects, perhaps the most important being that the decision whether to list a species is made by the Fish and ...
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 California Fish and Game Commission deferred the decision on whether to make the western Joshua tree a candidate for listing to a special meeting in September 2020. In a hearing on August 20, 2020, the Commission heard a wide variety of perspectives on whether listing the species may be warranted. The California Department of Fish and Wildlife’s 90-day evaluation recommended a “may be warranted” finding but at the hearing Director Bonham indicated he was open to deferring the decision in order to work with the stakeholders ...
The Center for Biological Diversity and Mountain Lion Foundation submitted a petition to the California Fish and Game Commission (the Commission) to list mountain lions (Puma concolor) in southern and central California as threatened or endangered pursuant to the California Endangered Species Act. The petition identifies habitat loss and fragmentation, due to roads and development, as significant threats to the survival of the local populations.
The petition acknowledges that there is no reliable estimate of mountain lion abundance in California, but includes estimates for ...
On June 12, 2019, the California Fish and Game Commission (Commission) voted 3-1 that listing four subspecies of bumble bee may be warranted under the California Endangered Species Act (CESA). The decision was made after the Xerces Society, Center for Food Safety, and Defenders of Wildlife filed a petition to list the Crotch bumble bee (Bombus crotchii), Franklin’s bumble bee (Bombus franklini), Suckley cuckoo bumble bee (Bombus suckleyi), and western bumble bee (Bombus occidentalis occidentalis) as endangered species under CESA.
Presently, no insects are ...
On January 28, 2019, the Superior Court for San Diego County upheld the California Fish and Game Commission’s (Commission) 2015 decision to list the gray wolf (canis lupus) under the California Endangered Species Act (CESA). (Cal. Cattlemen’s Assn. v. Cal. Fish & Game Com. (Super. Ct. San Diego County, 2019, No. 37-2017-00003866-CU-MC-CTL).)
CESA defines an endangered species as a native species or subspecies of bird, mammal, fish, amphibian, reptile or plant which is in serious danger of becoming extinct throughout all, or a significant portion, of its range due to one or ...
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 ...
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 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 ...
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.
Senator Lois Wolk has introduced two separate bills into the California Senate to amend the California Endangered Species Act (CESA) and Natural Community Conservation Planning Act (NCCPA).
SB 1303, as amended, would amend section 2087 of the California Fish and Game Code, which exempts otherwise lawful routine and ongoing agricultural activities from the take prohibitions established by CESA. Routine and ongoing agricultural activities are defined by regulation to include, among other things, any practices performed by a farmer on a farm as incident to or in conjunction with ...
The California Fish and Game Commission provided notice (PDF) that it will be holding a hearing in Stockton on Wednesday, May 5, 2010 at 8:30 am to take comments on the listing of the California tiger salamander to the list of threatened animals pursuant to the California Endangered Species Act. The Department of Fish and Game submitted a status review (PDF) of the California Tiger Salamander to the Commission on January 11, 2010.
As detailed in the notice, written comments are requested to be submitted on or before April 30, 2010, but must be received no later than 5:00 p.m. on May 3, 2010. ...
Assemblyman Jared Huffman has introduced Assembly Bill 2420 (PDF) to amend the provisions of the California Endangered Species Act (CESA) that allow persons who obtain incidental take authorization under the federal Endangered Species Act (ESA), to also obtain take authorization from the Director of the California Department of Fish and Game for species listed under both laws, provided the Director determines that such federal take authorization is consistent with CESA.
AB 2420 would revise section 2080.1 of the California Fish and Game Code. As presently written, that section ...
In a 3-2 vote, the California Fish and Game Commission ruled yesterday that the California tiger salamander will be protected as a threatened species under the State’s Endangered Species Act. The Commission had previously denied the listing twice, and was ordered by the State Court of Appeals to reconsider the issue after the Center of Biological Diversity filed suit in 2004. The Commission made the decision after finding that the species’ habitat, roughly 400,000 acres in Central California, is threatened by future development.
This decision is anticipated to ...
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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