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 ...
I recently recorded a podcast as part of the Environmental Law Institute’s (ELI) People Places Planet Podcast series “Engage the Experts.” In our recent discussion entitled “Wind Power & Wildlife,“ I speak with Joy Page, Director of the Renewable Energy and Wildlife team at the Defenders of Wildlife about what it means to work on “wind and wildlife” issues and how that differs given our respective roles. We hope you find the conversation interesting and insightful.
People Places Planet Podcast provides the public, environmental practitioners, and ELI members with ...
On September 26, 2019, the U.S. District Court for the District of Colorado vacated and remanded in part the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s (Service) 2014 determination that listing the Rio Grande cutthroat trout (Oncorhynchus clarki virginalis) under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) was not warranted.
The Rio Grande cutthroat trout is native to high-altitude streams in southern Colorado and New Mexico. In 2008, the Service determined that the Rio Grande cutthroat trout warranted listing as an endangered or threatened species, although listing was precluded by other higher ...
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 ...
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 ...
The Center for Biological Diversity and Mountain Lion Foundation submitted a petition to the California Fish and Game Commission (the Commission) to list mountain lions (Puma concolor) in southern and central California as threatened or endangered pursuant to the California Endangered Species Act. The petition identifies habitat loss and fragmentation, due to roads and development, as significant threats to the survival of the local populations.
The petition acknowledges that there is no reliable estimate of mountain lion abundance in California, but includes estimates for ...
On April 23, 2019, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit found that environmental groups have standing to challenge the federal government’s killing of gray wolves in Idaho without conducting additional analysis under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). Western Watersheds Project et al. v. Grimm, No. 18-35075 (9th Cir. 2019).
Environmental groups brought an action against the U.S. Department of Agriculture Wildlife Services (Wildlife Services), alleging that NEPA requires Wildlife Services to prepare an Environmental Impact Statement and ...
On March 16, 2018, Nossaman Environment and Land Use Law Partner Svend Brandt-Erichsen will be serving as a member of the faculty for The Seminar Group’s CLE and Foresters program Pacific Northwest Timberlands Management: Regulations, Litigation, and Business Considerations.
The full conference, held from March 15-16, 2018, at the Portland, Oregon World Trade Center, will also be available via live webcast and on demand following the live presentation. Mr. Brandt-Erichsen’s presentation, entitled Practice Pointers for Energy Projects on Timberlands, will take place at 2:30 p.m. PT and will cover: energy project permitting needs and timelines; potential wildlife impacts and related mitigation needs; and providing construction access and access during the project’s operating life.
Additional topics to be addressed at the conference include:
The election of Donald Trump as President, together with Republican majorities in the House and Senate, is likely to lead to important policy changes across a range of issues. While administration of the Endangered Species Act and other federal wildlife laws has not been high profile during the election season, it is an issue area in which we are likely to see big changes. The five key issues are as follows:
Department heads. There will be a clean slate of Department heads, including new Secretaries of Commerce and the Interior. Rumored candidates for Commerce include Chris Christie ...
Today, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) and National Marine Fisheries Service issued their final interpretation of the phrase "significant portion of its range" for the purposes of applying the Endangered Species Act (ESA). This phrase plays a key role in the listing and delisting of species, as it appears in the ESA's definition of "endangered species" and "threatened species." Specifically, under the ESA, an "endangered species" is defined as "any species which is in danger of extinction throughout all or a significant portion of its ...
On June 23, 2014, the United States District Court for the District of Columbia affirmed the strict application of the Endangered Species Act's (ESA) pre-litigation notice requirements, dismissing a lawsuit alleging that the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (Service) failed to timely act on a number of listing petitions because the violations stated in the pre-litigation notice and complaint did not occur until after the litigation was filed. Friends of Animals v. Ashe, No. 13-1607 (D.D.C. June 23, 2014).
Under the ESA, after a listing petition has been filed, the Service is obligated ...
Yesterday, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (DFW) recommended that the California Fish and Game Commission not list the gray wolf as endangered under the California Endangered Species Act. Following a yearlong review, DFW determined that the scientific evidence does not warrant listing the species at this time. Instead, DFW recommended designating the gray wolf as a species of special concern – which affords the gray wolf some protection, including prohibiting the killing of the species – with a recommendation to consider placing the gray wolf on the ...
On January 2, 2013, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) issued a final rule increasing the critical habitat designated for the southwestern willow flycatcher (pdf) (Empidonax traillii extimus). The flycatcher is a small migratory bird (approximately 6 inches long) that nests in dense riparian habitats along streams, lakesides, and other wetlands. The Service listed the flycatcher as endangered in 1995, and in 1997 issued an initial critical habitat designation. Shortly thereafter, however, the New Mexico Cattle Growers' Association filed a lawsuit ...
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 ...
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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