Fish and Wildlife Service

News & Analysis as of

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

Legislative Water Update

Conversations Among Federal Lawmakers May Lead to New Water Legislation - A number of conversations are occurring in the U.S. House of Representatives, and between the House and the U.S. Senate (particularly Rep. David...more

Supreme Court Denies Review of Ninth Circuit Delta Smelt Decision

On Monday, January 12, 2015, the U.S. Supreme Court denied two petitions seeking review of a Ninth Circuit decision upholding limits on water diversions from the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta to protect the endangered Delta...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

Louisiana Denies Drilling-Related Permit in Scenic Waterway

Louisiana has denied a permit to an energy company seeking to use water from a state-designated scenic river for its drilling operations. The decision represents the first time in Louisiana’s history that a permit to draw...more

First District Publishes Decision Rejecting CEQA Challenges To Cal Fire’s Approval of Gualala Area Nonindustrial Timber Management...

In a decision filed December 2, and later ordered published on December 30, 2014, the First District Court of Appeal affirmed the Mendocino County Superior Court’s judgment denying a petition for writ of mandate challenging a...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

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

Upcoming Listing Decision on Northern Long-Eared Bat May Have Far-Reaching Impacts on Industry

On Tuesday, November 18, 2014, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (“Service”) announced the reopening of the comment period on the Service’s proposed rule to list the northern long-eared bat (“NLEB”). 79 Fed. Reg. 68657. ...more

Endangered Species Act Roundup – Three For the Price of One

Although there were some notable downperiods when it came to Endangered Species Act news over the past twelve months, the past few weeks have been anything but slow. Below are a few of the more recent newsworthy items that...more

Penalties for Spoliation of “Tangible Objects”

Sometimes three red groupers are a “tangible object”, but mostly they are just, well, uh, fish. In the summer of 2007, boat owner and Captain, John Yates was leading a fishing trip on his boat, the “Miss Katie”....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

Yellow-Billed Cuckoo Critical Habitat: U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service Sets December 18, 2014 Public Hearing in Sacramento

As we reported in November, the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (Service) has been planning to hold a public hearing on the proposal to designate 546,335 acres of critical habitat for the western population of yellow-billed...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

Ninth Circuit Lifts the Veil: Explains How to Comply With Endangered Species Act 60-Day Notice Requirement

The federal Endangered Species Act (ESA) imposes certain procedural hurdles on any would-be plaintiff commencing a citizen suit to compel compliance with the ESA. One of the more substantive requirements is the 60-day notice...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

High Stakes Out on the Range: Gunnison Sage-Grouse Listed as an Endangered Species

In the first salvo of a larger environmental-industry showdown impacting Western shale development, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced Wednesday (Nov. 12, 2014) that the Gunnison Sage Grouse would be granted...more

Arizona District Court Finds Sonoran Desert Bald Eagles Are Not a Distinct Population Segment

On November 4, 2014, the U.S. District Court for the District of Arizona issued an opinion in Ctr. for Biological Diversity v. Jewell,2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 157436(D. Ariz.Nov. 4, 2014) finding that the Fish and Wildlife...more

Utah Court Bucks the Trend: Holds Congress Lacks Power to Regulate Intrastate Species on Private Land

Contrary to every federal court of appeal decision that has addressed the issue, a federal court in Utah has held that the broad authority of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) to regulate "take" of threatened...more

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Re-Opens Comment Period for Cuckoo Critical Habitat

As we reported in October, after significant pressure from Congress, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) announced its intent to re-open the public comment period on its proposal to designate 546,335 acres of...more

Utah Federal Judge: ESA Rule Is Unconstitutional

In a ruling that, if upheld and followed, would significantly limit the reach of federal environmental regulation, a Utah federal judge determined that regulation of a purely intrastate species listed as threatened under the...more

Do Takes of the Utah Prairie Dog Affect Interstate Commerce? Only When McDonalds Starts Serving Prairie Burgers

Earlier this week, in a suit brought by the beautifully named People for the Ethical Treatment of Property Owners, Judge Dee Benson ruled that the United States Fish and Wildlife Service could not regulate takes of the Utah...more

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