Posts tagged Delisting.

On September 13, 2019, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) posted a final rule removing the Foskett speckled dace (Rhinichthys osculus ssp.) from the federal List of Endangered and Threatened Wildlife.  The dace, which was listed under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) as a threatened species in 1985, is being removed from the List of Threatened and Endangered Species on the basis of recovery.  In its final notice ...

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) is systematically revising species recovery plans issued under the Endangered Species Act (ESA).  On August 6, 2019, USFWS published three notices of availability announcing public comment periods on its draft revisions to 70 recovery plans covering 121 species across the United States ...

In its newly-released proposed recovery plan for the Desert pupfish (Cyprinodon macularius), the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) has put into action its internal plan to add quantitative criteria to recovery plans.  The pupfish recovery plan, originally adopted in 1993, contained only qualitative criteria when adopted.  In its proposed revisions to the pupfish’s recovery plan, the Service adds quantitative criteria for whether the pupfish should be considered for delisting or when it has recovered, including the number of established populations that would make the ...

Today, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) finalized its reclassification of the Tobusch fishhook cactus (Sclerocactus brevihamatus ssp. tobuschii), a small cactus found in Texas, downlisting the species from endangered to threatened under the Endangered Species Act (ESA).

As previously reported here, the Service concluded that downlisting the cactus was warranted given an increase in the number of observed individuals. While only 200 cactuses were known when the species was listed as endangered in 1979, the Service now estimates there are more than 3,300 ...

On April 17, 2018, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) reached a negative 90-day finding on a petition to remove the Preble’s meadow jumping mouse (Zapus hudsonius preblei) from the List of Threatened and Endangered Species.  The Service’s finding was in response to a petition to delist the mouse filed by the Pacific Legal Foundation in 2017.  The Service concluded that the petition presented no new information indicating that delisting the mouse is warranted.

The Service rejected the petition’s taxonomic argument that the mouse is not a distinct subspecies that ...

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 Friday, September 29, 2017, the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (Service) announced its withdrawal of the proposed rule listing the Kenk’s amphipod (Stygobromus kenki), an aquatic crustacean, as an endangered species under the Endangered Species Act (ESA).  The Service originally proposed to list the amphipod, which occurs in the District of Columbia, Virginia, and Maryland, in September 2016 due to the impacts of water quality, water quantity, and other collateral impacts of urbanization near the species’ habitat.  In support of its decision to withdraw the proposed ...

On June 23, 2017, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) promulgated a long-awaited final rule to delist the Hualapai Mexican vole (Microtus mexicanus hualpaiensis) (HMV) due to the Service’s determination that the original 1987 listing of the HMV under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) was in error.  Based upon more recent scientific and commercial information, the Service concluded that the HMV is not a distinguishable subspecies of Mexican vole and thus is not a valid taxonomic entity listable under the ESA.  This error in taxonomic classification was first raised by a ...

On June 22, 2017, U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke announced that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) will delist the Yellowstone population of the grizzly bear (Ursus arctos horribilis).  According to the Service, the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem Distinct Population Segment (Yellowstone DPS) of the grizzly bear has recovered to the point that federal protections are no longer necessary and overall management of the species can be returned to the states and tribes.

The Yellowstone DPS consists of grizzlies in portions of northwestern Wyoming, southwestern ...

Earlier this week, the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (Service) issued a notice in the Federal Register that it was reopening the comment period on five proposed rules for four plant species.  Specifically, the proposed rules include the following: (1) listing Guadalupe fescue (Festuca ligulata) as an endangered species; (2) designating Guadalupe fescue critical habitat; (3) reclassifying Tobusch fishhook cactus (Sclerocactus brevihamatus ssp. tobuschii) from endangered to threatened; (4) reclassifying Kuenzler hedgehog cactus (Echinocereus fendleri var.

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 December 28, 2016, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) published a proposed rule to reclassify the Tobusch fishhook cactus (Sclerocactus brevihamatus ssp. tobuschii), downlisting the species from endangered to threatened under the Endangered Species Act (ESA).  The Service concluded that, while the Cactus is not in danger of extinction, it is likely to become endangered in the foreseeable future.  This proposed rule and the accompanying 12-month finding were precipitated by the same ESA petition, citizen suit, and settlement agreement that compelled the ...

On January 20, 2015, the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works approved S. 659, the Bipartisan Sportsmen’s Act of 2015, which complements the bill reported by the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee late last year.  However, the Environment and Public Works Committee’s approval adds a number of controversial amendments to the Act’s overarching purpose of increasing recreational hunting, fishing, shooting, conservation, and other access on public lands.  An amendment offered by Senator John Barrasso (R-Wyo.), and approved by voice vote, would delist ...

On October 27, 2015, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) issued a memorandum to the Service Regional Directors announcing new guidance to streamline findings on petitions to list species under the Endangered Species Act (ESA).  The stated purpose of the guidance is to streamline petition findings while ensuring [the Service] conducts an adequate review of petitions.   The memorandum clarifies that this guidance is interim guidance until the Service’s amendments to its petition listing rules are final.  Once finalized, the guidance will supersede previous guidance ...

The Modoc sucker (Catostomus microps), a small fish with a range limited to northeast California and south-central Oregon, was listed as endangered (pdf) in 1985.  A recovery plan for the species was adopted by the Service in 1992, and in February 2014, the Fish and Wildlife Service proposed the delisting of the species (pdf).  In the proposed rule, the Service made the following determinations:

As a result of the discovery of five populations not known at the time of listing and the documentation of the genetic integrity of populations considered in the 1985 listing rule to have been lost ...

Continuing the quarter century controversy over the listing of the Coastal California gnatcatcher (Polioptila californica californica) as a threatened subspecies, the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (FWS) has concluded that a petition to delist the gnatcatcher may be warranted. (Federal Register PDF).   The petition asserts that the listing of the Coastal California gnatcatcher as a distinct subspecies is not based on the best scientific data available as is required by the Endangered Species Act.  Nossaman prepared the petition on behalf of the National Association of Home ...

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On September 17, 2014, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) withdrew (pdf) its proposal (pdf) to remove the valley elderberry longhorn beetle (Desmocerus californicus dimorphus) from the Federal List of Threatened and Endangered Species.  While this means the beetle will continue to be protected as a threatened species under the Endangered Species Act (ESA), the Service did reduce the area in which the species is presumed to occur.

The beetle was listed as threatened and critical habitat designated, in 1980 (pdf).  Until recently, the beetle’s range was believed to ...

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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 ...

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On February 26, the Alaska Department of Fish and Game petitioned (pdf) the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) to remove the Central North Pacific subpopulation of humpback whales from the federal list of endangered or threatened species. In a press release, the director of Alaska’s Division of Wildlife Conservation declared the species a prime example of a recovered species that should be delisted from the Endangered Species Act (ESA) because the threat of extinction for this subpopulation is gone.

The entire North Pacific humpback whale species (Megaptera ...

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 The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) recently issued (pdf) a proposed rule to remove Eureka Valley evening-primrose (Oenothera avita ssp. eurekensis) and Eureka dune grass (Swallenia alexandrae) from the federal list of endangered species. The Service’s proposed rule follows its 12-month finding on the Pacific Legal Foundation’s petition to delist the species.

Eureka Valley evening-primrose and Eureka dune grass are endemic to three dune systems in the Eureka Valley, located in Inyo County, California. Eureka Valley is managed by the National Park Service (Park ...

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In August 2008, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) issued a proposed rule to delist the Hawaiian hawk (Buteo solitarius), also referred to as the io, from the federal list of endangered or threatened species.  The proposed rule states that the proposed action is "based on a thorough review of the best available scientific data, which indicates that range-wide population estimates have been stable for at least 20 years, and the species has recovered and is not likely to become an endangered species in the foreseeable future throughout all or a significant portion of ...

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A report issued by a group of independent scientists claims that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) relied on inadequate scientific evidence to support its proposal to delist the gray wolf (Canis lupus) under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). As we previously reported, the Service issued a proposed rule to delist the species last June. The Service then commissioned U.C. Santa Barbara’s National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis (NCEAS) to conduct an independent review of the science behind the proposed rule. NCEAS issued its report last month.

According ...

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As recently reported in The Oregonian, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) has declared the Oregon chub (Oregonichthys crameri) recovered, and will remove the species from the list of federally threatened and endangered species.  According to the report, this is the first fish ever taken off the endangered species list.  In a previous report, the Service stated that the fish's improved status was attributable to the efforts of the Oregon Chub Working Group, and "successful introduction of Oregon chub into new locations within their historical range and the discovery ...

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Last week, the Interagency Grizzly Bear Committee, a panel consisting of federal, state, local, and tribal representatives, recommended that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) remove the grizzly bear (Ursus arctos horribilis) from the list of threatened and endangered species under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). If the Service agrees, it will initiate the rule-making process to delist the species. The Service is expected to make a decision next month.

The Yellowstone grizzly bear population is found in Montana, Idaho and Wyoming. When initially listed under the ...

                                                       Photograph By Alan Vernon

On November 4, 2013, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) published a proposed rule (pdf) to remove the Inyo California towhee (Pipilo crissalis eremophilus) from the list of threatened and endangered species under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). The Service concluded that delisting the Inyo California towhee is warranted because substantial threats to the species have been ameliorated or reduced since listing, and the species no longer meets the definition of a threatened species under the ESA. 

According to the Service, the total rangewide ...

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Last week, the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) issued a final rule (pdf) delisting the eastern distinct population segment (DPS) of the Steller sea lion (Eumetopias jubatus) from the list of threatened and endangered species. NMFS concluded that delisting is warranted because the species has met the recovery criteria outlined in its 2008 recovery plan and no longer meets the definition of a threatened or endangered species under the Endangered Species Act (ESA).

According to NMFS, the eastern DPS Steller sea lion population has increased from an estimated 18,040 ...

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Earlier this month, the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (Service) announced (pdf) the availability of its recovery plan (pdf) for the threatened southwest Alaska Distinct Population Segment of the northern sea otter (Enhydra lutris kenyoni).  The recovery plan describes the status of the otter, its history, and a number of actions the Service believes will allow for the delisting of the otter.  With respect to the otter's declining status, the recovery plan states that "[t]he only identified threat factor that is judged to have a high importance to recovery is predation[,]" and ...

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The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will hold three public hearings on its proposed rule to delist the gray wolf (Canis lupus) from the list of endangered and threatened species. The first hearing is scheduled to occur on September 30, 2013 in Washington, DC. The second will be held on October 2 in Sacramento, California, and the third on October 4 in Albuquerque, New Mexico. As we reported here, the comment period for the proposed rule has been extended to October 28, 2013. For further information regarding the proposed rule and its potential impacts on the Mexican gray wolf (Canis lupus ...

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On September 4, 2013, the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service announced that the public comment period regarding its proposed rule to remove the gray wolf (Canis lupus) from the list of endangered and threatened species, which was due to close on September 11, has been extended by 45 days through 11:59 p.m. on October 28, 2013.  For a discussion of the proposed rule and its potential impacts on the Mexican gray wolf (Canis lupus baileyi), see our June 20, 2013 post available here.  You may also want to check out Sylvia Fallon's blog post on SWiTCHBOARD, which is available here.

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On June 13, 2013, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) issued a proposed rule (pdf) to delist the gray wolf (Canis lupus) under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) throughout the United States and Mexico. The proposed rule also proposes to maintain protection for the Mexican gray wolf (Canis lupus baileyi) in the Southwest by listing it as endangered under the ESA. Presently, the gray wolf is listed in 42 states, including California. 

Previously, the Service determined (pdf) that the southwestern population of the gray wolf – known as the Mexican gray wolf – may warrant a ...

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On June 5, 2013, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) denied (pdf) two petitions to remove captive populations of the scimitar-horned oryx (Oryx dammah), dama gazelle (Gazella dama), and addax (Addax nasomaculatus) from the List of Endangered and Threatened Wildlife under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). In denying the petitions, the Service found it did not have the discretion to differentiate the listing status of animals in captivity from those in the wild.

The petitions, brought by Safari Club International and the Exotic Wildlife Association, sought to delist only ...

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On May 15, 2013, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) removed (pdf) the Magazine Mountain shagreen (Inflectarius magazinensis) from the Federal List of Endangered and Threatened Wildlife. The Service determined that the threats to the species have been eliminated or reduced to the point that the species has recovered and no longer meets the definition of threatened or endangered under the Endangered Species Act (ESA).

The Magazine Mountain shagreen is a medium-sized, dusky brown or sand-colored snail found on Mount Magazine in western Arkansas. The snail was first listed ...

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The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) recently proposed (pdf) to remove the island night lizard (Xantusia riversiana) from its current listing as threatened under the Endangered Species Act (ESA).  The proposed removal is based on successful recovery efforts led by the U.S. Navy and National Park Service, which have resulted in the achievement of nearly all of the objectives established in the recovery plan for the species.

Island night lizards are found only on the Channel Islands - San Clemente Island, San Nicolas Island, and Santa Barbara Island - off the ...

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In Central Coast Forest Assoc. v. California Fish and Game Commission (pdf), the California Court of Appeal, Third Appellate District held that a petition to delist the endangered coho salmon (Oncorhynchus kisutch) under the California Endangered Species Act (CESA), fails at the outset because a petition to delist a species may not be employed to challenge a final determination of the Commission.  The 2-1 decision is one of a small number of reported cases to interpret the listing provisions of the California Endangered Species Act (CESA).  The decision has important state-wide ...

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On Tuesday, December 18, 2012, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) proposed upgrading the status of the wood stork (Mycteria americana) from endangered to threatened under the Endangered Species Act (ESA).  The proposed change is in response to improvements in the population and habitat of the species based on the best available scientific information.

Dan Ashe, Director for the Service, remarked that the proposed reclassification "demonstrates that the [ESA] works" and that "the species is making real progress toward recovery."  The wood stork was ...

On November 26, 2012, the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS or the Service) accepted a petition to delist a distinct population segment (DPS) of the Southern Resident killer whales, which is currently listed as endangered under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). 

The DPS, estimated to include 88 individuals, was initially listed as endangered under the ESA in 2005.  These killer whales are "resident" type, fish-eating whales that spend a specific period of time each year in the San Juan Islands and Puget Sound. 

On August 2, 2012, the Service received a petition from the ...

 
On November 5, 2012, the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) sent a letter to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) encouraging the Service to consider an innovative approach to support conservation of the lesser prairie chicken (Tympanuchus pallidicinctus): through the use of habitat credit exchanges between companies and landowners.  The letter comes at a time when the Service is considering whether to propose to list the lesser prairie chicken under the Endangered Species Act (ESA).  Currently the Service has determined that listing of the species "is warranted ...

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Today, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced a proposed rule (pdf) to remove the valley elderberry Longhorn beetle (Desmocerus californicus dimorphus) from the list of threatened species.

The delisting will be significant for landowners, flood control agencies, and irrigation districts throughout the Central Valley of California because they will no longer be required to seek prior authorization for the incidental take of the beetle.  The beetle, as its name suggests, depends upon its host plant species, the valley elderberry, which grows along streams, rivers ...

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We previously reported the Fish and Wildlife Service's intention to delist the gray wolf (Canis lupus) in the State of Wyoming.  Today the Service announced "that the Wyoming population of gray wolves is recovered and no longer warrants protection under the Endangered Species Act."  A host of news outlets reported the announcement, including the New York Times (Aug. 31, 2012, by Feilicity Barringer).  Delisting of the gray wolf is controversial, but the species has been delisted in numerous parts of the upper mid-west and western United States.

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The  Associated Press is reporting that the federal government intends to issue a final rule delisting the gray wolf (Canis lupus) in Wyoming on August 31, 2012 (The Missoulian, Aug 14, 2012, by Ben Neary).  The Fish and Wildlife Service proposed (pdf) removal of the gray wolf in Wyoming from the list of endangered and threatened species on October 5, 2011, and reopened the comment period (pdf) on that proposal on May 1, 2012.

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On June 4, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) published a 90-day finding (pdf) that substantial scientific or commercial information indicates that delisting the Inyo California towhee (Pipilo crissalis eremophilus) and reclassifying from endangered to threatened the arroyo toad (Anaxyrus californicus), Indian Knob mountainbalm (Eriodictyon altissimum), Lane Mountain milk-vetch (Astragalus jagerianus), Modoc sucker (Catostomus microps), and Santa Cruz cypress (Cupressus abramsiana) under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) may be warranted.  The Service will now conduct status reviews for these six species which result in a 12-month finding for each species determining whether the action is, in fact, warranted.

The Pacific Legal Foundation petitioned the Service requesting these actions on December 19, 2011.  The Foundation's petition was based on information contained in the most recent 5-year reviews for these six species, which were completed in 2008 and 2009.

As previously blogged about here, on December 9, 2011, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and National Marine Fisheries Service (Services) published a notice of proposed rulemaking (PDF) in the Federal Register that will, if adopted, change the Services' standards for listing and delisting species as threatened or endangered under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) by re-interpreting the definitions of "threatened" and "endangered" species in the ESA.

In a letter to the Director of the Fish and Wildlife Service (PDF) dated January 26, 2012, Congressman Markey, the ranking ...

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Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar recently announced that the Fish and Wildlife Service would remove the gray wolf (Canis lupus) population in the Great Lakes region from the list of threatened and endangered species under the Endangered Species Act (ESA).  The species was listed in 1967 under the predecessor to the ESA.  The final rule delisting the gray wolf is available here (pdf).  The Service released the proposed rule (pdf) on May 5, 2011.  The population of gray wolfs in the Great Lakes region is estimated (pdf) to include 2,921 wolves in Minnesota, 687 wolves in ...

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Today, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and National Marine Fisheries Service (Services) published a notice of proposed rulemaking (PDF) in the Federal Register that will, if adopted, change the Services' standards for listing and delisting species as threatened or endangered under the Endangered Species Act (ESA).  See Draft Policy on Interpretation of the Phrase ‘‘Significant Portion of Its Range’’ in the Endangered Species Act’s Definitions of ‘‘Endangered Species’’ and ‘‘Threatened Species.’’ 76 Fed. Reg. 76,987 (Dec. 9, 2011). 

Under the ...

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The Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) announced a 90-day finding (pdf) that delisting the Valley Elderberry Longhorn Beetle (Desmocerus californicus dimorphus) may be warranted.  The Pacific Legal Foundation (PLF) initially petitioned the Service to delist the beetle in September 2010.  In April 2011, PLF filed a lawsuit seeking a court order directing the Service to issue a finding on PLF's petition.  The 90-day finding commences the Service's status review of the species to determine whether delisting is warranted.  The Service is requesting available data on the beetle.  The ...

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On August 3, 2011, a federal judge upheld (pdf) a congressional budget rider that removed Endangered Species Act (ESA) protections for gray wolves in Montana, Idaho, Oregon, Washington, and Utah. The legislation was included as part of the Department of Defense and Full-Year Continuing Appropriations Act of 2011 (pdf) (H.R. 1473) (the Act), which was passed by Congress and signed by the President in April 2011. Section 1713 of the Act directed the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (Service) to reissue a 2009 rule that removed ESA restrictions on the gray wolf, except for in the state of ...

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In a decision that underscores the regulatory importance of recovery plans, the United States District Court for the District of Columbia invalidated the delisting of the Virginia northern flying squirrel on the grounds that the delisting rule modified delisting criteria in the recovery plan for the squirrel. Friends of Blackwater v. Salazar No. 09-2122 (D.D.C. March 25, 2011). The Court concluded that the Service violated section 4(f) of the Endangered Species Act (ESA) (requiring notice and comment on recovery plans) by relying on criteria to support delisting that varied ...

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The United States Fish & Wildlife Service (Service) has reached an agreement with the majority of the plaintiffs, including the Defenders of Wildlife, the Greater Yellowstone Coalition, and eight other conservation organizations, to settle ongoing litigation over a Federal District Court’s 2010 decision (pdf) to reinstate Endangered Species Act (ESA) protections for the Rocky Mountain gray wolf.

The proposed settlement allows the Service to temporarily return management of the recovered wolf populations in Idaho and Montana to the states, while continuing efforts to ...

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On March 2, 2011, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) completed its formal review of the status of the eastern cougar (Felis concolor couguar) and concluded that the subspecies is extinct.  The existence of the subspecies, listed since 1973, has long been questioned.  Dr. Mark McCollough, the Service's lead scientist for subspecies, noted that the eastern cougar has likely been extinct since the 1930s.  Though sightings had been reported, the Service believes they are not of the eastern cougar.  Rather, the Service believes that the sightings were actually of South ...

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On January 18, 2011, after slightly more than a quarter-century of protection, the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service ("Service") announced that it will be removing the Maguire daisy (Erigeron maguirei) from the list of threatened and endangered species.  The Service recently concluded that the daisy population, which in 1985 consisted of only seven known plants, is presently comprised of over 162,000 individual plants, and "no longer meets the definition of endangered or threatened under the Endangered Species Act of 1973."  The Maguire daisy is just the 21st species that ...

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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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