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 ...
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 ...
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 ...
The Klamath River Renewal Corporation (the "corporation") recently submitted a plan for the removal of four dams on the lower Klamath River to the Federal Energy Regulation Commission (FERC). In it, the corporation indicates its intent to sidestep compliance with the California Endangered Species Act and California’s Lake and Streambed Alteration Program by asking FERC to opine that those state law requirements are preempted by federal law. Among other things, these laws protect the critically endangered Lost River sucker (Deltistes luxatus) and shortnose sucker ...
On April 19, 2018, the California Fish and Game Commission voted 4-0 to list the tricolored blackbird (Agelaius tricolor) as a threatened species. A statewide survey conducted in 2017 estimated the California population of the species to be over 175,000 birds. The species is broadly distributed in California, occurring in roughly 40 counties, though the bulk of the population resides in the Central Valley.
The Center for Biological Diversity petitioned for the emergency listing of the species in 2015, based on a dramatic decline in population estimates from 2008 to 2011 and again ...
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 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 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 ...
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 December 10, 2015, the California Fish and Game Commission (Commission) voted to advance the tricolored blackbird (Agelaius tricolor) as a candidate species for listing under the California Endangered Species Act (CESA). The species is now subject to the same legal protections as endangered or threatened species under CESA.
As we previously reported, on June 11, 2015, the Commission voted not to make the tricolored blackbird a candidate for listing under CESA. The species had been listed on an emergency basis in December 2014 but, as a result of the Commission’s inaction in ...
On November 30, 2015, the California Supreme Court issued its much-anticipated decision in Center for Biological Diversity v. California Department of Fish & Wildlife, Case No. S217763 (Nov. 30, 2015). The decision comes at the conclusion of a nearly five-year legal battle over the California Department of Fish and Wildlife’s (CDFW) approval of an environmental impact report (EIR) for the Newhall Ranch development project (Newhall Ranch) in Los Angeles County. Newhall Ranch was approved as a mixed-use development on nearly 12,000 acres of land along the Santa Clarita River. ...
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 ...
Today, in response to a petition to list (pdf) filed by the Center for Biological Diversity (CBD) in October 2014, the California Fish and Game Commission (Commission) determined not to make the tricolored blackbird (agelaius tricolor) a candidate for listing under the California Endangered Species Act (CESA). As we reported, the Commission previously — in December 2014 — decided to list the species on an emergency basis principally on the basis of the petition and without the benefit of input from the California Department of Fish and Wildlife and interested parties. The ...
The Los Angeles Times reports that the California Fish and Game Commission (Commission) unanimously voted to postpone a decision on whether to list the gray wolf (Canis lupus) under the California Endangered Species Act (CESA). As we previously reported, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife recommended in February 2014 that the Commission not list the gray wolf under CESA, determining that the scientific evidence does not warrant listing the species at this time. The issue arose in 2011 when a single wolf, OR-7, was spotted in California for the first time.
The five-member ...
On October 19, 2010 the San Francisco Superior Court issued an order requiring the California Fish and Game Commission (Commission) to reconsider its determination that the American pika is not threatened with extinction. Center for Biological Diversity v. California Fish & Game Comm'n, No. CPF-090509927 (San Francisco Superior Court).
In 2008, the Center for Biological Diversity (CBD) filed a petition to list the pika as threatened under the California Endangered Species Act (CESA). CBD argues that the pika is threatened with extinction because climate change in ...
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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