U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Designates 9,600 Acres of Critical Habitat for Coachella Valley Milk Vetch

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) designated (pdf) approximately 9,600 acres as critical habitat for the endangered Coachella Valley milk vetch (Astragalus lentifinosus var. coachellae). The critical habitat designation covers four areas within the greater Coachella Valley area near Palm Springs, California.

As a result of the designation, federal agencies must consult with FWS under the Endangered Species Act regarding the impacts of federal actions on the plant species within the designated area. The ruling does not directly affect private land ownership.

The plant was listed as endangered in 1998, but FWS determined at that time that designation of critical habitat was not prudent. Two lawsuits were filed in 2001 challenging that decision, and in response, FWS designated critical habitat for the plant in 2005. Another lawsuit was filed by the Center for Biological Diversity in 2009, alleging that the 2005 designation failed to designate adequate critical habitat for the species. This week’s designation resulted from a settlement agreement among the parties to the 2009 litigation.

FWS cites development, invasive species, groundwater pumping, and off-highway vehicles as reasons for the plant’s endangered status.

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.

Stay Connected




View All Nossaman Blogs
Jump to Page

We use cookies on this website to improve functionality, enhance performance, analyze website traffic and to enable social media features. To learn more, please see our Privacy Policy and our Terms & Conditions for additional detail.