In December 2020, the United States District Court for the District of Montana issued an order on cross-motions for summary judgment concluding that it lacked jurisdiction—under both the Administrative Procedure Act (APA) and Endangered Species Act (ESA)—to hear a lawsuit involving an environmental group’s denied request to update an existing recovery plan for the grizzly bear (Ursus arctos horribilis). Ctr. for Biological Diversity v. Bernhardt, CV 19-109-M-DLC, at 26 (D. Mont. Dec. 23, 2020) (Order). After listing the grizzly bear nearly half a century ago, the U.S ...
On August 6, 2019, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) published a 90-day finding that listing the Yellowstone Park bison (Bison bison bison) under the Endangered Species Act is not warranted. FWS also found that listing the Mojave poppy bee (Perdita meconis) and revising the critical habitat designation for the endangered Mount Graham red squirrel (Tamiasciurus hudsonicus grahamensis) may be warranted ...
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 ...
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 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 June 2, 2016, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) issued a 90-day finding that listing populations of the Northwestern moose (Alces alces andersoni) under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) may be warranted. The Service’s 90-day finding is in response to a petition filed in July 2015 by the Center for Biological Diversity and Honor the Earth, which asked that the moose be listed as a threatened or endangered distinct population segment (DPS).
The U.S. population of Northwestern moose inhabits the upper peninsula of Michigan, Minnesota, North Dakota and Wisconsin. In ...
On April 21, 2016, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and National Marine Fisheries Service (collectively, Service) announced revisions to their proposed modifications to the Endangered Species Act (ESA) petition process. 81 Fed. Reg. 23,448 (Apr. 21, 2016) (pdf). In May 2015, the Service announced proposed changes to the petition process for listing a species or seeking to change the listing status of a species under the ESA. 80 Fed. Reg. 29,286 (May 21, 2015) (pdf). The Service’s proposed rule originally required petitions to list species to address only one species, contain ...
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.
After a relatively quiet start to the year, the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) and U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (FWS) have issued findings and rules regarding the proposed listings of four separate species under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) over the last two days. NMFS issued a 90-day finding on a petition to list the Gulf of Mexico population of Bryde's whale (Balaenoptera edeni) on April 6, 2015. FWS issued a 12-month finding on a petition to list the Humboldt marten (Martes caurina humboldtensis) and proposed to list two species of crayfish - the Big Sandy crayfish ...
On March 27, 2015, the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) accepted two petitions asking NMFS to list the Porbeagle shark (Lamna nasus) as threatened or endangered under the Endangered Species Act either throughout the entirety of its global range, or as distinct population segments (DPS) occurring in the Northwest Atlantic, the Northeast Atlantic, and the Mediterranean. (80 Fed. Reg. 16,356 [pdf].) The petitions, filed separately by Wild Earth Guardians and the Humane Society of the United States, were originally rejected as not warranted by NMFS in July 2010. Both ...
On March 3, 2015, the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) issued two Federal Register notices – a 90-day finding on a petition (pdf) to list the Common thresher shark (Alopias vulpinus) as either threatened or endangered, and a proposed rule to list (pdf) the Tanzanian distinct population segment (DPS) of the African Coelacanth (Latimeria chalumnae) as a threatened species.
On August 26, 2014, Friends of Animals petitioned NMFS to list the Common thresher shark as endangered or threatened under the Endangered Species Act (ESA), or, in the alternative, to delineate six ...
On November 17, the U.S. Supreme Court denied the petition for writ of certiorari filed by Glenn Colusa Irrigation District and others seeking to overturn a decision by the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit (en banc) holding that the Bureau of Reclamation’s decision to renew water contracts with senior water rights holders is subject to consultation under section 7(a)(2) of the Endangered Species Act. Our prior post regarding the petition is available here.
E&E reporter Jeremy Jacobs wrote in Greenwire today that the Supreme Court "left in place an ...
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 ...
On Monday, September 27, 2010, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service issued its determination that the Gunnison sage-grouse warrants listing under the Endangered Species Act, but that proposing that it be listed as threatened or endangered be postponed while the Service addresses the needs of higher priority species.
Historically, the Gunnison sage-grouse occupied southwestern Colorado, southeastern Utah, northwestern New Mexico, and northeastern Arizona. But according to the Fish and Wildlife Service, its range has been reduced to seven separate populations in southwestern ...
In an article published in Yale Environment 360 on July 22, 2010, Todd Woody chronicles the ongoing campaign by various environmental organizations to use the Endangered Species Act to compel the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and National Marine Fisheries Service to regulate greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.
The article, Enlisting Endangered Species As a Tool to Combat Warming, recounts the perils facing the American Pika, previously blogged about here, to illustrate the broader strategy aimed at forcing the Services to regulate GHG emissions.
As noted in our blog post ...
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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