Fish and Wildlife Service

News & Analysis as of

National Defense Authorization Act Would Restrict Federal Greater Sage-Grouse Protections

On April 27, 2015, the Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, released the text of the National Defense Authorization Act (Act), including language that would ban the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) from...more

Citing Conservation Plan and $45 Million in Funding, FWS Concludes Listing for Bi-State Population of Greater Sage Grouse is...

While the larger controversy is far from over, for the California and Nevada populations of the greater sage grouse (Centrocercus urophasianus), the controversy does appear to be put to rest. In 2013, the U.S. Fish and...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

Federal Court Strikes Down Habitat Conservation Plan and Biological Opinion for Logging Project in Northern California

On April 3, 2015, a federal district court in California put the brakes on a proposed logging project, invalidating a habitat conservation plan and incidental take permit issued by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) and...more

Northern Long-Eared Bat Listed as Threatened

On April 2, 2015, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) issued a final rule listing the northern long-eared bat (Myotis septentrionalis) as threatened under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). The Service determined...more

Endangered Species Rule Roundup: April 6-7, 2015

After a relatively quiet start to the year, the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) and U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (FWS) have issued findings and rules regarding the proposed listings of four separate species under the...more

When Uncertainty Surrounds California Solar Project, Court Defers to Agency Not Tortoise

Project opponents have been invoking the Endangered Species Act (ESA) with increasing regularity in an attempt to block the construction of large-scale renewable energy projects. ...more

USFWS Publishes Northern Long-Eared Bat Listing Decision, Opts for Interim 4(d) Rule

In a long-anticipated move, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (“Service”)has published a final listing decision and interim rule on the northern long-eared bat. The Service listed the northern long-eared bat as threatened...more

Agencies Must Aim for Recovery of the Species When Designating Critical Habitat

In a decision issued earlier this week, a U.S. District Court rejected the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s (Service) interpretation of the Endangered Species Act (ESA), finding that its interpretation of the critical habitat...more

Ohio Wind Developer and FWS Successfully Defend Incidental Take Permit for Endangered Indiana Bat

A proposed Ohio wind farm cleared another legal hurdle last week when Judge Leon of the United States District Court for the District of Columbia upheld the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's (“FWS”) issuance of an incidental...more

Court Upholds Endangered Species Act Incidental Take Permit for Windfarm

On March 17, 2015, Judge Leon of the United States District Court for the District of Columbia issued a memorandum opinion upholding the United States Fish and Wildlife Service's (USFWS) issuance of an incidental take permit...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

CEQA Update: Three New Court of Appeal Decisions Issued; Key Supreme Court Rulings Expected (and the Sacramento Kings are on a...

2015 is shaping up to be another active year for CEQA judicial review. After taking an extended holiday break, the Courts of Appeal have recently published three decisions, two of which reinforce existing case law on how to...more

The Early Bird Catches the Worm: A Lesson in Submitting Drilling Applications Early to Avoid Expiration of Federal Oil and Gas...

As many of you know, permitting delays are not only frustrating but can have real consequences for project applicants with contractual deadlines. In the case of a federal oil and gas lease, operators should be mindful of the...more

California Environmental Law & Policy Update - February 2015 #3

Environmental and Policy Focus: California lawmakers introduce sweeping new measures to increase renewable energy, cut fossil fuel use - San Jose Mercury News - Feb 10: Last Tuesday, California lawmakers unveiled a...more

Report by House Natural Resources Committee Highlights Shortcomings in Use of Peer Review Science by U.S. Fish and Wildlife...

On December 15, 2014, the House Natural Resources Committee majority staff published a report titled “Under the Microscope: An examination of the questionable science and lack of independent peer review in Endangered Species...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 Court Remands Renewable Energy Project for Additional Explanation; Delay Ensues

Last week, a federal district court in Nevada ruled that the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) failed to adequately explain a decision to authorize a proposed wind energy project. The...more

California Environmental Law & Policy Update - February 2015

Environmental and Policy Focus: High-speed rail project runs afoul of kit fox conservation requirements - Fresno Bee - Feb 2: The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has declared the California High-Speed Rail...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

California Environmental Law & Policy Update - January 2015 #3

Environmental and Policy Focus - Rail case heading to state Supreme Court: Willits News - Jan 27: The Supreme Court of California has accepted review of a lower court decision holding that federal law implemented by...more

ANWR News: The Fine Print of President Obama’s Executive Action to Create Over 12 Million Acres of Wilderness

The United States Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) is administratively implementing President Obama’s recommendation that certain lands in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) in Alaska be designated as wilderness. FWS...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

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