On August 11, 2023, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) published a proposed rule to delist the Apache trout (Oncorhynchus apache) under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) due to the species’ recovery. The Apache trout, the state fish of Arizona, is a species of freshwater fish that is found primarily in the mountain region of southeast Arizona. This species was initially listed as an endangered species under the ESA in 1967. Then, in 1975, the Service downlisted the species to threatened status. The ESA defines a threatened species as one that is “likely to become ...
On July 27, 2022, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) published an advance notice of proposed rulemaking (ANPR) seeking comment on species conservation banking. Species conservation banking gives developers and other entities the opportunity to mitigate potential harm to wildlife by allowing them to purchase habitat or species credits from bank owners. The ANPR is a result of a provision in the 2021 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) that required the Service to issue regulations for species conservation banking programs. Although the ANPR stems from the NDAA ...
Last week, a decision out of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California restored Endangered Species Act (ESA) protections for the gray wolf (Canis lupus) across most of the contiguous United States.
In 2020, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) issued a final rule removing federal protections for the last two remaining gray wolf entities listed as threatened or endangered under the ESA. The final rule asserted delisting was warranted because neither the Minnesota entity nor the 44-state entity qualified as a species, subspecies, or distinct population ...
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 January 13, 2021, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) published a final rule to remove the inland population of the Interior least tern (Sterna (now Sternula) antillarum) from the list of endangered and threatened wildlife under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). Originally listed as an endangered species under the ESA in 1985, the Interior least tern is a small, fish-eating bird occurring along the Arkansas, Ohio, Mississippi, Missouri, Red, and Rio Grande rivers.
Prior to listing, the Interior least tern’s population had fallen below 2,000 as a result of habitat ...
In a decision issued earlier this week, a U.S. District Court rejected the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's (Service) interpretation of the Endangered Species Act (ESA), finding that its interpretation of the critical habitat designation requirement constituted an impermissible construction of the statute. Ctr. for Biological Diversity v. Kelly, Case No. 1:13-cv-00427 (D. Idaho Mar. 23, 2015) (pdf). Specifically, the court found that, contrary to the Service's longstanding interpretation, the ESA requires critical habitat to be designated in a manner ...
The National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) has released its final recovery plan for Central Valley spring-run Chinook salmon, Sacramento River winter-run Chinook salmon, and Central Valley steelhead. The website for the recovery plan is here. Along with the recovery plan, NMFS released a number of supporting documents on the website. Sacramento River winter-run Chinook salmon is listed as endangered under the Endangered Species Act (ESA), and Central Valley spring-run Chinook salmon and Central Valley steelhead are listed as threatened under the ESA.
At the same time that ...
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) has announced the availability of a revised recovery plan for the pallid sturgeon (Scaphirhynchus albus), a species that is found in the Missouri and Mississippi River basins, has been described as having a "unique dinosaur-like appearance," and has been listed as endangered since 1990. As summarized by the Service, the revised recovery plan updates the "current understanding of the species life history requirements, identifies probable threats that were not originally recognized, includes revised recovery ...
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 ...
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) recently announced that it was opening a 30-day public comment period on updated information for the draft revised recovery plan for the threatened northern spotted owl (Strix occidentalis caurina). This announcement follows the completion of a new computerized modeling tool developed for assessing spotted owl habitat quality and population dynamics. It also predicts the effectiveness of different conservation measures.
The new modeling tool synthesizes more than 20 years of demographic data regarding the spotted owl ...
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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