On June 24, 2022, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the National Marine Fisheries Service (collectively, Services) published a final rule rescinding the Trump administration’s 2020 final rule defining “habitat” for the purpose of informing designation of areas as “critical habitat” (2020 Rule) under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). In rescinding the definition of “habitat,” the Services explained they were removing an “excessive constraint” on the agencies’ ability to designate critical habitat under the ESA. Specifically, the Services ...
This week, I published a post on the Center for California Water Resources Policy and Management’s DeltaCurrents blog discussing the Biden administration’s proposal to rescind the definition of habitat. The definition was promulgated by the Trump administration in response to the decision of the U.S. Supreme Court in 2018 in Weyerhauser Co. v. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, a case involving a challenge to the rule designating critical habitat for the dusky gopher frog in the American southeast. …
On December 15, 2020, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and National Marine Fisheries Service (collectively, the agencies) released a pre-publication version of a final rule providing a definition of “habitat” for the purpose of informing designation of areas as “critical habitat” under the Endangered Species Act. The agencies released a proposed rule defining habitat in August 2020 in response to a unanimous decision by the U.S. Supreme Court in 2019 overturning a lower court decision that upheld a controversial determination of critical habitat by the U.S. Fish and ...
This week, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) announced its opening of 5-year status reviews for 25 southeastern species and 10 southwestern species. Among the species included in the status review are the dusky gopher frog (Lithobates sevosus), Jollyville Plateau salamander (Eurycea tonkawae), and many other species of fish, wildlife, and plants. Five-year status reviews are required under section 4(c)(2)(A) of the Endangered Species Act and serve to inform USFWS whether a given species warrants a change in listing status (e.g., de-listing or a change from threatened ...
The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (Service) and a group of landowners recently settled long-running litigation regarding the Service’s designation of approximately 1,500 acres of private land as critical habitat for the dusky gopher frog (Rana sevosa). The Service designated the private land in Louisiana as critical habitat in 2012. Weyerhaeuser Co. and local landowners sued the Service, arguing that designation of the private land where the frog could not currently survive was overreach ...
Nossaman’s Environmental Practice attorneys will be off to a great start in 2019 presenting at many key events around the U.S. focused on endangered species and environmental issues.
On November 27, 2018, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that an area is eligible to be designated as critical habitat under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) only if the area is habitat for the relevant threatened or endangered species. Weyerhaeuser Co. v. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Dkt. No. 17-71. The Court vacated the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit’s decision, which held that the ESA has no habitability requirement, and remanded the case to the Fifth Circuit to consider the meaning of habitat under the ESA. Additionally, the Court held that a decision by the U.S. Fish and ...
On January 22, 2018, the U.S. Supreme Court granted review of the petition for writ of certiorari in Weyerhauser Co. v. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, No. 17-71. Petitioners challenge a 2-1 panel decision issued by the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, affirming a rule issued by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) designating critical habitat for the dusky gopher frog (Rana sevosa) and including areas within critical habitat that the frog could not currently inhabit.
The dusky gopher frog spends most of its life underground in open-canopied pine forests. ...
In a 2-1 decision, the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit rejected challenges to the final rule designating critical habitat for the dusky gopher frog (Rana sevosa) under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) and National Environmental Policy Act. Markle Interests, L.L.C. v. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, No. 14-31008 (5th Cir. June 30, 2016). The decision is remarkable because it upholds the determination by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) to designate areas as critical habitat that are not currently habitable by the frog and have not been shown likely to be ...
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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