Critical Habitat

News & Analysis as of

The Dusky Gopher Frog Causes Big Problems for Industrial and Commercial Development in Parts of St. Tammany Parish

In 2010, under the Endangered Species Act (“ESA”), the United States Fish and Wildlife Service (“the FWS”) designated 6,477 acres in Mississippi and Louisiana as “critical habitat” for the Rana sevosa or the dusky gopher...more

Fifth Circuit Upholds USFWS Designation of “Uninhabitable” Critical Habitat for Endangered Dusky Gopher Frog

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 under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) and National...more

Fifth Circuit Upholds USFWS Designation of "Uninhabitable" Critical Habitat for Endangered Dusky Gopher Frog

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 under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) and National...more

Bipartisan ESA Bill Proposes Funding for State Programs

In a year that has already seen its fair share of attempts to reform the Endangered Species Act (“ESA”), another proposal has made its way into the House of Representatives. Representatives Don Young (R-Alaska) and Debbie...more

Princesses Everywhere Embrace Recent Decision, Private Land Property Owners Not So Much

This decision is reminiscent of a fairytale about a princess and her frog prince and the croaking chorus of the Frogs of Aristophane. On June 30, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit issued a significant ruling...more

Federal Wildlife Agencies Release Draft Revisions to Habitat Conservation Planning Handbook

On June 28, 2016, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) and National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) released draft revisions to their joint Habitat Conservation Planning Handbook (Handbook).  The proposed revisions are...more

USFWS Issues 90-day Finding for Midwestern Moose Population

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...more

Lesser Prairie-Chicken Appeal Abandoned

After filing an appeal with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit less than two weeks prior, on May 10, 2016, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) filed an unopposed motion to voluntarily dismiss its appeal...more

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Designates Critical Habitat for the Oregon Spotted Frog

On May 11, 2016, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) issued a final rule designating approximately 65,038 acres and 20.3 river miles of critical habitat for the Oregon spotted frog (Rana pretiosa). The acres and...more

Long Awaited Eagle Rule Revamp Out for Public Comment

On May 6, 2016, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (“Service”) published its proposed revisions to the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act (“BGEPA”) permit program.  The stated intention of these proposed revisions is to...more

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Authorizes Take of the Last Known Wild Jaguar in the United States

On April 28, 2016, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) issued a revised Biological Opinion and Incidental Take Permit for the Rosemont Copper Mine in Pima County, Arizona. USFWS originally issued a Biological Opinion...more

Feds Spawn New Rules and Policies for Protected Species Habitat and Mitigation

Federal agencies charged under the Endangered Species Act (“ESA”) with species protection have recently hatched revisions to regulations and policies that change substantially the determination and protection of habitat for...more

Environmental Notes - April 2016

EPA’s Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance recently proposed changes to its National Program Manager (NMP) Guidance that, in part, would revise EPA’s National Enforcement Initiatives (“NEIs”) for federal fiscal...more

Court Holds that the Bureau of Indian Affairs is Not Obligated to Ensure Migratory Bird Treaty Act or Bald and Golden Eagle...

On March 29, 2016, the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California granted summary judgment in favor of the Bureau of Indian Affairs (“BIA”) in a lawsuit involving the grant of a lease to Tule Wind, LLC for...more

Congressional Hearings to be Held on New Critical Habitat Rules and Delisting under the Endangered Species Act

This week, two congressional committees are holding three separate hearings on issues related to the Endangered Species Act (ESA). On April 19, the House Committee on Natural Resources will hold an oversight hearing entitled...more

Court Rejects ESA Challenge to County’s Local Land Use Planning

On April 8, the United States District Court for the Middle District of Florida held that Collier County’s (County) land use planning regulations were complimentary, not contrary to the Endangered Species Act (ESA). The...more

The Wolverine Takes on Climate Change: Montana District Court Remands Withdrawal of Proposed Listing Rule

On April 4, 2016, the U.S. District Court for the District of Montana vacated the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s (Service) August 13, 2014 withdrawal of its proposed rule to list the distinct population segment of the North...more

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Issues 12-Month Findings on Four Species

On April 5, 2016, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) issued 12-month findings on petitions to list the island marble butterfly (Euchloe ausonides insulanus), the San Bernardino flying squirrel (Glaucomys sabrinus...more

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Designates Critical Habitat for 125 Hawaiian Species

On March 30, 2016, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (“Service”) issued a final rule designating critical habitat for 125 species listed as endangered or threatened under the Endangered Species Act (“ESA”) on the Hawaiian...more

Eminent Domain Case Analyzes Mitigation Credits as a Highest and Best Use

Eminent domain practitioners are well versed in analyzing a property’s highest and best use. Under these principles, a property being condemned is not necessarily valued based on its current, existing use....more

Ninth Circuit Reinstates Polar Bear Habitat Designation, ESA Implications for the West

In a decision that could result in significant new restrictions on development activities in the Arctic as well as set important Endangered Species Act (ESA) precedent in the Western United States, the U.S. Court of Appeals...more

New ESA Regulations Expand Impact of "Critical Habitat" Designations

Two new rules and one new policy from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the National Marine Fisheries Service (the Services) relating to the process of designating and protecting "critical habitat" under the Endangered...more

Dunes Sagebrush Lizard Decision Upholds Importance of Conservation Agreements

On March 1, the oil and gas industry won a significant victory when the Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit upheld the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service’s (“FWS”) decision that conservation agreements supported by the industry...more

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Proposes Revisions to Mitigation Policy

On March 8, 2016, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) announced proposed revisions to its Mitigation Policy that has guided Service recommendations on mitigating the adverse impacts of development on fish, wildlife,...more

Critical Habitat for Right Whales Expanded

Action Item: The National Marine Fisheries Services (“NMFS”) promulgated a final rule identifying critical habitats for the endangered Northern Atlantic Right Whale. Stakeholders involved in spill response, ocean and offshore...more

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