Endangered Species Act

The Endangered Species Act is a United States federal statute enacted in 1973 to protect species at risk of extinction due to the consequences of economic growth and lack of habitat conservation.
News & Analysis as of

Wolves, Salamanders, and Snakes – Oh My!

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...more

Ninth Circuit Critical Habitat Decision Casts Shadow On Habitat Conservation Plan “No Surprises” Assurances

In a decision that casts a shadow on the enforceability of contractual assurances in habitat conservation plan (“HCP”) agreements, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit rejected various Endangered Species Act...more

District Court Declines to Provide Injunctive Relief for Emergency Drought Salinity Barrier in the California Bay-Delta

On June 18, 2015, the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California denied a motion for a temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction, finding the plaintiff failed to establish that an emergency...more

Ninth Circuit Holds Forest Service Violated ESA by Failing to Reinitiate Consultation for Canada Lynx

On June 17, 2015, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit ruled that the U.S. Forest Service (Service) violated section 7 of the Endangered Species Act (ESA) by failing to reinitiate consultation with the U.S. Fish...more

District Court Issues Order Allowing Plaintiffs in Case Seeking Review of Neonicotinoid Pesticides under the ESA to Utilize Extra...

On June 12, 2015, Federal District Judge Maxine Chesney issued a decision in Ellis v. Housenger (N.D. Cal.) allowing the plaintiffs to utilize expert declarations and exhibits that were not included in the certified...more

Governor Brown Nominates Two for Fish and Game Commission

Governor Brown has announced the nomination of Eric Sklar and Anthony Williams to serve on the California Fish and Game Commission (Commission). The five-member Commission is established under article IV, section 20 of the...more

Ninth Circuit Rules Approval of Oil Spill Response Plans is Non-Discretionary

On June 11, 2015, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit upheld the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement’s (Bureau) approval of oil spill response plans (OSRPs) relating to oil leases in the Beaufort and...more

California Fish and Game Commission Votes Not to Make Tricolored Blackbird Candidate for Listing

Thursday, in response to a petition to list filed by the Center for Biological Diversity (CBD) in October 2014, the California Fish and Game Commission (Commission) determined not to make the tricolored blackbird (agelaius...more

Bureau of Land Management Releases Conservation Plans for Greater Sage-Grouse

On Thursday, May 28, 2015, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) released fourteen final Environmental Impact Statements (EISs) that incorporate greater-sage-grouse conservation measures into the land-use plans for about 50...more

Lawsuit Filed Over State Water Board’s Temporary Modification of Water Quality Objectives

Consistent with Governor Brown’s Drought Proclamation and Executive Orders, the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation (USBR) and the California Department of Water Resources (DWR) sought and obtained a temporary modification of certain...more

Nine Western States Throw Their Support Behind Case Challenging Reach of the Endangered Species Act

On May 26, nine western states filed an amicus brief in People for the Ethical Treatment of Property Owners (PETPO) v. United States Fish and Wildlife Service urging the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals to limit the reach of...more

Ninth Circuit Holds Consultation Unnecessary for Wind Energy Project

On May 27, 2015, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit provided some additional guidance as to what constitutes agency action for purposes of triggering the consultation requirement under the Endangered Species Act...more

Sage Grouse Status Hangs in the Balance as BLM Moves to Adopt Conservation Plans for Ten Western States

On May 29, 2015, the U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM), in cooperation with the U.S. Forest Service, released Final Environmental Impact Statements for proposed amendments to existing Resource Management Plans (RMPs) for...more

Wildlife Agencies Propose Overhaul of ESA’s Petition Process for Species Listings

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the National Marine Fisheries Service (“the Services”), the two agencies that administer the Endangered Species Act (“ESA”), recently published a proposed rule designed to improve the...more

A Permit System May Finally Arrive for the Migratory Bird Treaty Act - New Opportunities and Responsibilities

For years, Federal Courts have held that individuals can be held criminally liable under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act (MBTA) for the death of birds regardless of whether they intended to harm them. While several courts have...more

Easy Cases Make Better Law — Standing Edition

In an interesting, but not really difficult, decision on Tuesday, the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals found that the National Association of Home Builders did not have standing to challenge a consent decree pursuant to which...more

Wildlife Agencies Propose Regulatory Changes to Species-Listing Process Under Endangered Species Act

On May 18, 2015, the federal agencies that oversee the enforcement of the Endangered Species Act, the US Fish and Wildlife Service and National Marine Fisheries Service proposed significant changes to the process by which...more

Federal Government Proposes Revisions to Endangered Species Act Regulations

While a number of Endangered Species Act (ESA) reform bills continue to wind their way through Congress (see our May 6, 2015 post), Monday, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) and National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS)...more

Friday May 15th Is Endangered Species Day

This Friday, April 15, marks the 10th anniversary of Endangered Species Day. Events are scheduled throughout the country to recognize conservation efforts to protect endangered species and their habitats, which have occurred...more

Bats in the Balance: Northern Long-Eared Bat Listing and Interim 4(d) Rule

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (“Service”) recently listed the northern long-eared bat (the “Bat”) as a “threatened” species under the U.S. Endangered Species Act (“ESA”) and issued an interim “species-specific” rule...more

Federal Wildlife Agencies Issue Final Rule Codifying Practice of Using Surrogates in Incidental Take Statements

On May 1, 2015, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and National Marine Fisheries Service (collectively, the wildlife agencies) issued a final rule amending the regulations governing consultation under section 7 of the...more

The Northern Long-Eared Bat’s listing as threatened under the Endangered Species Act could affect development in the Northeastern...

On April 1, 2015, the US Fish and Wildlife Service (“FWS”) announced that it would list the northern long-eared bat as a “threatened species” under the Endangered Species Act (“ESA”). The listing comes in response to a...more

Tenth Circuit Upholds Roadway Project On Lands Formerly Used To Manufacture Nuclear Weapons

On April 17, 2015, the United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit affirmed a district court decision upholding the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s (FWS) approval of a roadway project in the Rocky Flats area of...more

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Revises Proposed Critical Habitat Rule for Zuni Bluehead Sucker

On Tuesday, April 14, 2015, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) reopened the public comment period on its proposed rule designating critical habitat for the Zuni bluehead sucker (Catostomus discobolus), a fish...more

Federal Court Strikes Down HCP: No Piggybacks Under Section 10

While decisions dealing with lawsuits alleging violations of section 7 or section 9 of the Endangered Species Act (ESA) are rather common, it is far less common for courts to address suits under section 10. In fact, in any...more

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