National Marine Fisheries Service

News & Analysis as of

Fish Two, Water Withdrawals Zero: The 9th Circuit Affirms Another Biological Opinion

On Monday, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals dealt another blow to traditional operation of the massive water projects that supply California’s Central Valley. The Court reversed those parts of a District Court opinion that...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

NMFS Publishes Corrected Proposed Critical Habitat Designation for Arctic Ringed Seal

On December 9, 2014, the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) and Secretary of Commerce published a revised proposed rule designating critical habitat for the Arctic Ringed Seal. The previous proposed rule was published...more

National Marine Fisheries Service Issues Biological Opinion for Army Corps of Engineers’ Nationwide Permit Program

On November 24, 2014, the National Marine Fisheries Service (Service) issued a new Biological Opinion (BiOp) for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ (Corps) Nationwide Permit Program under the Clean Water Act. The BiOp...more

NMFS Proposes Critical Habitat for the Threatened Arctic Ringed Seal

On December 3, 2014, the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) published its proposed rule designating critical habitat for the threatened Arctic Ringed Seal (Phoca hispida hispida). (79 Fed. Reg. 71,714)....more

NMFS Finds Listing Not Warranted for Queen Conch

On November 5, 2014, the National Marine Fisheries Service issued a 12-month finding for the queen conch (Strombus gigas), concluding that the species prized for its meat and shell does not warrant listing because it is “not...more

California Federal District Court Grants Partial Dismissal to Suit Alleging Violations of the Endangered Species Act

Earlier this month, a federal district court in California partially granted motions to dismiss a second amended complaint filed by the Center for Biological Diversity and the Pesticide Action Network alleging that the...more

Court Allows ESA Claims Involving Oversight of Pesticides to Move Forward

In Center for Biological Diversity v. Environmental Protection Agency, No. 11-cv-00293-JCS, plaintiffs alleged that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) violated section 7 of the Endangered Species Act by failing to...more

Critical Habitat and the Endangered Species Act: Proposed Revisions to Fundamental Regulatory Concepts

On May 12, 2014, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (“FWS”) and the National Marine Fisheries Service (collectively, the “Services”) issued notices of proposed rules and a proposed policy related to the designation of...more

EPA Guidance on Pesticide Drift Will Affect Product Registrations

How to address and manage potential risks posed by pesticide “drift” -- the unintentional movement of some level of pesticide outside of the intended area of application -- has long been a challenging, complex regulatory...more

Proposed Critical Habitat Rules Change Reach of the Endangered Species Act

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the National Marine Fisheries Service have proposed two important new rules implementing the critical habitat provisions of the Endangered Species Act (ESA). 79 Fed.Reg. 27060 (May 12,...more

NMFS Releases Final Recovery Plan for Central Valley Salmonids

The National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) has released its final recovery plan for Central Valley spring-run Chinook salmon, Sacramento River winter-run Chinook salmon, and Central Valley steelhead. Sacramento River...more

Final Endangered Species Act Policy Revises Definition of “Significant Portion of Its Range”

On July 1, 2014, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the National Marine Fisheries Service jointly published a final policy providing their interpretation of the phrase ‘‘significant portion of its range,’’ which is part...more

USFWS and NMFS Issue Joint Policy Interpreting ESA Listing Criteria

On Friday, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) and National Marine Fisheries Service issued their final interpretation of the phrase "significant portion of its range" for the purposes of applying the Endangered...more

ESA Law Update: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and NMFS Extend Comment Period on Critical Habitat Regulations

On June 20, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the National Marine Fisheries Service (“Services”), the two federal agencies responsible for administering the Endangered Species Act (“ESA”), have announced that they will...more

Proposed Endangered Species Act Regulations Would Revise Rules And Protections Related To "Critical Habitat" - Proposal Would...

HIGHLIGHTS - - The proposed regulations would considerably change the regulatory definitions related to "critical habitat" and "adverse modification," increasing agency discretion to designate and protect areas that...more

Endangered Species Act's New Mission: Not Just Survival

On May 12, 2014, federal regulators announced proposals to issue new rules concerning critical habitat under the Endangered Species Act, with the intent of clarifying three key areas of uncertainty. As proposed, the U.S. Fish...more

Finding Win-Win Outcomes For Conservation And Utilization

The Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act, or MSA, governs marine fisheries management in federal waters of the United States. The statute's purpose is to conserve and manage fisheries resources to rebuild...more

Wildlife Agencies Propose New Endangered Species Regulations and Policy on Critical Habitat

On May 12, 2014, Federal wildlife agencies proposed two new rules concerning critical habitat under the Endangered Species Act and a draft policy regarding exclusions from critical habitat designations. The proposals, issued...more

California District Court Finds Biological Assessments Inconsistent And Enjoins Caltrans' Project

In Souza v. California Department of Transportation, No. 13-cv-04407 (N.D. Cal. May 2, 2014), plaintiffs sought to enjoin a project proposed by the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) to modify U.S. Route 199...more

New Article Takes Stock Of Federal Agency Proposal To Use Surrogates To Establish Take Limits

In an article forthcoming in the Journal of Environmental Studies and Sciences, Dr. Dennis Murphy and I examine a proposal by the Fish and Wildlife Service and National Marine Fisheries Service to amend the existing...more

Alaska Urges National Marine Fisheries Service To Delist Subpopulation Of Humpback Whales

On February 26, the Alaska Department of Fish and Game petitioned the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) to remove the Central North Pacific subpopulation of humpback whales from the federal list of endangered or...more

BOEM Releases Final Programmatic Environmental Impact Survey For Offshore Atlantic Geological and Geophysical Activity

On February 27th, the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, in cooperation with NOAA’s National Marine Fisheries Service (NOAA Fisheries), and pursuant to the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), released its final...more

National Marine Fisheries Service To Conduct Status Review For Four Cetaceans

Today, the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) announced a 90-day finding on a petition to list the Hector’s dolphin (Cephalorhynchus hectori), the Baltic Sea subpopulation of harbor porpoise (Phocoena phocoena), the...more

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