ESA Listings

News & Analysis as of

National Marine Fisheries Service Accepts Two Petitions to List the Porbeagle Shark

On March 27, 2015, the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) accepted two petitions asking NMFS to list the Porbeagle shark (Lamna nasus) as threatened or endangered under the Endangered Species Act either throughout the...more

National Marine Fisheries Service Declines to List Distinct Population Segment of Harbor Porpoise in the Baltic Sea

On Tuesday, March 24, 2015, the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) issued a 12-month finding concluding that listing a distinct population segment (DPS) of the harbor porpoise (Phocoena phocoena) in the Baltic Sea as...more

National Marine Fisheries Service Issues a 90-Day Finding and a Proposed Rule

On March 3, 2015, the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) issued two Federal Register notices – a 90-day finding on a petition to list the Common thresher shark (Alopias vulpinus) as either threatened or endangered, and...more

Outdated requirement results in continued listing of species determined to be recovered

The Modoc sucker (Catostomus microps), a small fish with a range limited to northeast California and south-central Oregon, was listed as endangered in 1985.  A recovery plan for the species was adopted by the Service in 1992,...more

The Oregon chub is the first fish species ever to be declared recovered and removed from threatened species listing

On February 17, 2015, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced its final decision to remove the Oregon chub (Oregonichthys crameri) from the Federal List of Endangered and Threatened Wildlife under the Federal Endangered...more

Federal Agencies Revise Killer Whale Listing to Include Whales Held in Captivity

On February 10, 2015, the National Marine Fisheries Service and the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration (“Services”) issued a final rule (pdf) to include captive killer whales in the Southern Resident killer whale...more

High-Speed Rail Authority Under Fire for Disrupting San Joaquin Kit Fox Habitat

On January 26, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (“USFWS”) issued a letter to the California High-Speed Rail Authority (the “Authority”) that found that the Authority’s contractors are not in compliance with the Authority’s...more

Case Could Alter the Reach of the Endangered Species Act

The U.S. District Court for the District of Utah attracted national attention with its November decision in People for the Ethical Treatment of Property Owners v. United States Fish and Wildlife Service, in which it ruled...more

Endangered Species Act Roundup: More Rules

Last week, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) published three new rules, continuing its flurry of activity from December.  January 16, 2015 – The Service issued a final rule listing the Mexican wolf (Canis...more

Prairie Dogs vs. Congress

A recent ruling by a Utah federal judge, although directed at the Endangered Species Act (ESA), may have far-reaching implications on Congress' commerce clause powers. In a first-of-its-kind ruling, U.S. District Judge Dee...more

Fish & Wildlife Service Finds That Gnatcatcher Delisting May Be Warranted

Continuing the quarter century controversy over the listing of the Coastal California gnatcatcher (Polioptila californica californica) as a threatened subspecies, the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (FWS) has concluded that a...more

Endangered Species Act Year End Roundup: FWS Issues Findings on A Listing Petition and NMFS Issues A Correction

Coming in just under the wire for the New Year, the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (FWS) and National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) published new rules on December 31, 2014, making December a very busy month for Endangered...more

Federal Court Holds U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Violated Endangered Species Act by Delisting Gray Wolf in Nine States

The United States District Court for the District of Columbia recently held that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) violated the Endangered Species Act (ESA) when it issued a final rule delisting gray wolves in nine...more

Pierce Atwood Environmental Regulatory Compliance Calendar (RCC)

NEW REGULATORY DEVELOPMENTS - Federal - New Critical Habitat for Gulf of Maine Atlantic Sturgeon to be Designated - The National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) has agreed to designate critical habitat...more

National Marine Fisheries Service Lists Five Species of Sawfish as Endangered

The National Marine Fisheries Service (Service) recently published its final rule listing five species of sawfish as endangered under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). The final rule contains the Service’s determination that...more

District Court Limits Tiering of Biological Opinions

On December 5, 2014, a federal district court held that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) failed to comply with the Endangered Species Act (ESA) when it relied entirely on existing programmatic biological opinions to...more

Utah Prairie Dog Could Narrow Endangered Species Act

A Utah federal court has created the potential for a constitutional showdown that could result in a significant narrowing of the Endangered Species Act and further limiting Congress’ power to legislate. In an unprecedented...more

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Releases 2014 Threatened and Endangered Species Candidate List

On December 5, 2014 the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (USFWS) released its Fiscal Year 2014 Threatened and Endangered Species Candidate list. Under the Endangered Species Act (ESA), when the USFWS either receives a petition...more

California Fish and Game Commission Decides to List Tricolored Blackbird on an Emergency Basis

Today, in response to a petition to list (pdf) filed by the Center for Biological Diversity (CBD) in October 2014, the California Fish and Game Commission (Commission) extended protection to the tricolored blackbird (agelaius...more

Bats, Water, Soil, and Bridges- an Engineer’s dream

Want to know how bats may effect your engineering plans? Want to hear about cool new bridges? Read on. Over the past month, I’ve had the pleasure of attending two events hosted by the North Carolina Chapter of the...more

The Fat Lady Who Hasn’t Sung, Oil Field Technology, and a Lizard

Today is a grab-bag of topics, a pastiche if your college tuition was higher than mine. When Will the Fat Lady Sing? El Paso Marketing, LP v. Wolf Hollow I, L.P., involving a gas plant Supply Agreement,...more

Utah Federal Court Strikes Down as Unconstitutional a Regulation Under the Endangered Species Act Protecting Utah Prairie Dogs on...

The Utah Prairie Dog is a species that exists only in Utah, where it lives on both federal and private land. The species is listed as threatened under the federal Endangered Species Act of 1973, and a federal regulation...more

District Court Strikes Down Regulation of Purely Intrastate Species on Private Land

In a significant Endangered Species Act case, the Utah District Court has ruled that Congress may not regulate take of the threatened Utah prairie dog, a purely intrastate species, on non-federal land. The court found that...more

Court Finds Endangered Species Act Cannot Regulate Species on Private Lands Within a Single State

In a win for property owners and project proponents, a Utah federal district court has ruled that the United States Constitution does not authorize the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (“FWS”) to regulate impacts to the Utah...more

Reading the Tea Leaves: U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service Lists, Designates Critical Habitat for Gunnison Sage-Grouse – Is the Greater...

On November 12, 2014, the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (Service) listed as “threatened” and designated over 1.4 million acres of critical habitat for Gunnison sage-grouse (Centrocercus minimus), the smaller cousin of the...more

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