Fish and Wildlife Service

News & Analysis as of

No Short Cuts Allowed: The FWS Must Comply with NEPA Before Extending Programmatic Take Permits to 30 Years

Earlier this month, the Judge Lucy Koh set aside the Fish & Wildlife Service’s decision to extend its programmatic permit for bald and golden eagle takes from five to 30 years. The extension was sought by the wind industry...more

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Issues Proposed Rule Regarding Critical Habitat Determination for the Marbled Murrelet

On August 25, 2015, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) published a proposed rule relating to the existing critical habitat for the marbled murrelet (Brachyramphus marmoratus). The murrelet is listed as a threatened...more

New Regulations Could Expand CEQA Review of Impacts to Common Birds - California Department of Fish & Wildlife Proposes Draft...

The California Department of Fish & Wildlife (CDFW) published draft regulations interpreting California laws that protect birds of prey, and the nests and eggs of birds generally. These draft regulations, released on Aug. 14,...more

Court Rejects 30 Year Eagle Permit Rule on NEPA Grounds

On August 11, 2015, the US District Court for the Northern District of California remanded a US Fish & Wildlife Service’s (FWS) 2013 final rule that had extended the maximum duration of eagle take programmatic permits under...more

Windfarm Industry Suffers Setback as Court Rejects 30 Year Eagle Permit Rule

On August 11, 2015, a district court in Silicon Valley remanded a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) rule issued in 2013 that had extended the potential term of incidental take permits under the Bald and Golden Eagle...more

Avoiding NEPA – Even for “Worthy Goals” – Is Never Advisable

From the very first day of my legal career, clients have asked me some variation of this question: “Why can’t we just prepare a shorter Environmental Assessment (EA) or even issue a Categorical Exclusion (no analysis at all)...more

Court Invalidates 30-Year Permit Provisions of U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Eagle Permit Rule on NEPA Grounds

As we discussed in a post from May 2014, the American Bird Conservancy (“ABC”) in 2014 filed a lawsuit challenging the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s (“USFWS”) 2013 revisions to its eagle permit rule, alleging violations of...more

Court Strikes Down FWS Rule for 30-Year Eagle Incidental Take Permits

In 2013, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (“FWS”) issued a rule increasing the maximum duration from five to 30 years of programmatic permits under the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act to “take” bald or golden eagles...more

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to Survey Habitat Conservation Banks

On July 24, 2015, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) published a notice seeking authorization from the Office of Management and Budget to evaluate habitat conservation banks established under the Endangered Species...more

ESA Roundup – Legislation, Listings, and Litigation

Whether dealing with water or with endangered species directly, there have been a numbers of recent developments that are worth keeping on your radar.  July 16, 2015 – The House of Representative, in a largely partisan...more

U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service: Polar Bear Unlikely to Survive a Warming Climate

On July 6, 2015, the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (Service) published a Draft Polar Bear (Ursus maritimus) Conservation Management Plan (Polar Bear Plan). The Polar Bear Plan identifies the continuing loss of sea-ice habitat...more

Ninth Circuit Holds that the BLM’s Grant of a Right-of-Way for a Road Over Federal Land Does Not Trigger Consultation Under the...

On May 27, 2015, the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit upheld the US Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) grant of a right-of-way over federal land for a road (the Road Project) for a wind energy project...more

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

FWS To Authorize Incidental Takes Under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act?

Late last month, the Fish & Wildlife Service issued a Notice of Intent to prepare a programmatic environmental impact statement to evaluate various options for authorizing incidental takes under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act....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

Chairmen of U.S. Congressional Environmental Committees Criticize EPA’s Failure to Consult Regarding the Potential Impacts of...

On June 15, 2015, Senator James Inhofe (R-Okla.), Chairman of the U.S. Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, and Congressman Rob Bishop (R-Utah), Chairman of the U.S. House Committee on Natural Resources, sent a...more

Fish & Wildlife Service Issues Notice of Intent to Regulate Incidental Take of Migratory Birds

On May 26, 2015, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (“FWS”) published a notice of its intent to evaluate potential ways to regulate incidental takes of migratory birds under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act (“MBTA”). The Notice...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

Court of Appeal Decision Extends Lake and Streambed Alteration Program to Water Diversions

In a decision that will have ripple effects on water diversions throughout California, the Court of Appeal held that section 1602 of the Fish and Game Code requires notification to the Department of Fish and Wildlife...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

US Fish & Wildlife Service Proposes First-of-its-Kind Migratory Bird Incidental Take Authorizations

On May 26, 2015, the US Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) announced its intent to prepare a programmatic environmental impact statement (PEIS) to evaluate the potential impacts of permits authorizing the incidental take of...more

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