For the second time in two months, the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit rejected an industry challenge to a designation of critical habitat under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). In Home Builders Association of Northern California v. United States Fish and Wildlife Service (PDF), the court upheld the designation of 858,000 acres of land in California as critical habitat for fifteen vernal pool species.
The ESA prohibits federal agencies from approving actions that adversely modify critical habitat. The court rejected Home Builders’ claim that the ESA ...
In Arizona Cattle Growers’ Association v. Salazar (PDF), the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit upheld a Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) determination that under the Endangered Species Act (ESA), critical habitat for the threatened Mexican spotted owl is not limited to areas where the owl actually resides, but can encompass areas that the owl uses with sufficient regularity that it is likely to be present during a reasonable span of time. That standard means the thousands of miles of migratory bird flyways used by ESA-listed birds could become protected critical habitat. The decision also held that when implementing the ESA’s requirement to decide whether the costs of designating an area as critical habitat outweigh the benefits, the Service need not include costs caused by the critical habitat designation if such costs can also be attributed to listing the species.
Arizona Cattle Growers’ made two arguments on appeal: (1) that the Service impermissibly treated areas in which no owls are found as occupied" under the ESA, and (2) in the Service’s determination of the economic impacts of the critical habitat designation, the Service used a baseline approach that did not account for economic impacts of the critical habitat designation that are also attributable to the listing decision.
The Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit upheld the Fish and Wildlife Service's ("Service') no "adverse modification" determination despite the fact that the proposed project would destroy some critical habitat.
In Butte Environmental Council v. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (PDF), environmental plaintiffs challenged the Service's biological opinion finding that a proposed business park to be located along Stillwater Creek in Redding, California would not adversely modify the critical habitat of the threatened vernal pool fairy shrimp, endangered vernal pool tadpole ...
On May 27, 2010, the United States District Court for the District of Columbia issued a decision rejecting a challenge to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's critical habitat determination for the endangered San Diego fairy shrimp, concluding that the Service's determination was entitled to deference.
Under the terms of the Endangered Species Act, the Service is required to designate, to the maximum extent practicable, critical habitat for an endangered or threatened species concurrently with a final listing rule. Critical habitat is defined, in part, as ...
For the third time in nine years, the Fish and Wildlife Service has revised the designation of critical habitat for the California red-legged frog. The new designation includes 1.6 million acres in 20 counties in California. 75 Fed. Reg. 12,816 (Mar. 17, 2010) (PDF). The revised designation increases the amount of critical habitat by over one million acres from the 2006 critical habitat designation (PDF). The revised designation represents a decrease of approximately 2.4 million acres from the 2001 designation (PDF). The Service revised the prior designations in response to ...
As reported in The Daily News Online, the Fish and Wildlife Service will be holding a public meeting on Wednesday, March 3, 2010 at the Water Resources Education Center in Vancouver, Washington to inform the public and address questions on its proposal to expand critical habitat (PDF) for the threatened bull trout. For more information on the proposed expansion, see the previous post Fish and Wildlife Service Proposes Revision of Critical Habitat for Bull Trout.
On February 11, 2010, the Fish and Wildlife Service reported that it will not be designating critical habitat for the Florida panther. This announcement comes in response to petitions submitted to the Service by several environmental groups including the Sierra Club and the Center for Biological Diversity requesting designation of 3 million acres of land in south Florida as critical panther habitat.
The Service determined that critical habitat designation is not in the best interest of the Florida panther at this time but retained discretion to designate habitat at a later time ...
On January 13, 2010, the Fish and Wildlife Service proposed to revise its 2005 designation of critical habitat for the bull trout (Salvelinus confluentus), a species that has been protected under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) since it was listed as threatened in 1999.
The proposed rule (PDF) represents a dramatic increase in critical habitat from that currently designated under the 2005 rule. The rule as revised includes approximately 22,679 miles of streams and 533,426 acres of lakes and reservoirs in Idaho, Oregon, Washington, Montana and Nevada, which is a 79% increase 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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