National Marine Fisheries Service

News & Analysis as of

NMFS Publishes Cook Inlet Beluga Whale Recovery Plan

On January 5, 2017, the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) published notice of the availability of the final Recovery Plan for the Cook Inlet Beluga Whale (Delphinapterus leucas). The Endangered Species Act (ESA)...more

2016 Year-End ESA Round-Up

The last few weeks of 2016 involved several activities relating to the Endangered Species Act (ESA), including the following: On December 27, 2016, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) issued the final ESA...more

Up the Creek Without a Paddle: District Court Holds that Biological Opinion Must Consider Climate Change Impacts

In a narrow win for plaintiff Wild Fish Conservancy (“Plaintiff”), the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Washington held that the biological opinion (“BiOp”) for the Leavenworth National Fish Hatchery...more

Projecting the Future: Court Upholds Listing for Bearded Seals - Ninth Circuit Decision Based on Projections of Climate Change...

In Alaska Oil & Gas Ass'n v. Pritzker, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit recently upheld a rule listing two species of seals as "threatened" under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) based on climate change...more

National Marine Fisheries Service Concludes Iliamna Lake Harbor Seals Are Not Distinct Population, Denies Endangered Species Act...

The National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) recently completed its review of the status of eastern North Pacific harbor seals (Phoca vitulina richardii) in Iliamna Lake, Alaska, a large freshwater lake in Alaska connected to...more

EPA Issues Final 2016 NPDES Pesticide General Permit

On November 1, 2016, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) published its Final National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) Pesticide General Permit for Point Source Discharges from the Application of...more

California Environmental Law & Policy Update - October 2016 #4

Environmental and Policy Focus - Species may be listed as threatened based on climate change projections, court says - Los Angeles Times - Oct 24 - Federal authorities may list a species as “threatened”...more

Use of long-term climate projections for bearded seal listing not necessarily a bellwether for Endangered Species Act decisions

The Ninth Circuit this week upheld a National Marine Fisheries Service decision to list the Pacific bearded seal as threatened under the Endangered Species Act based primarily on threats from climate change, reversing a...more

Ninth Circuit Upholds Listing Decision Based on End of Century Climate Change Predictions

On October 24, 2016, the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit upheld the National Marine Fisheries Service (Service) determination listing the Beringia Distinct Population Segment (DPS) of the Bearded Seal...more

9th Cir. Upholds ESA Listing of Pacific Bearded Seals on the Basis of Climate Projections

On October 24, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit reversed the district court and upheld the determination of the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS). The NMFS concluded that two distinct population species...more

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and National Marine Fisheries Service Revise Endangered Species Act Petition Process

On September 27, 2016, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and National Marine Fisheries Service (Agencies) published a final rule that revises the regulations governing the Endangered Species Act’s (ESA) petition process. ...more

National Marine Fisheries Service and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Propose Listing One Hawaiian Species and Four Marine Species

On September 19, 2016, the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) published proposed rules to list two species of dolphin and two species of guitarfish under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). NMFS proposes to list the...more

ESA Roundup – Listing Decisions and Recovery Actions

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) and National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) have issued listing decisions on a number of species under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) in recent days, and USFWS has announced...more

District Court Dismisses Challenge to Biological Opinions In Light of Circuit Court’s Exclusive Jurisdiction

Primarily relying on precedent from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth and D.C. Circuits, the U.S. District Court for the District of Maine recently dismissed an Endangered Species Act (ESA) lawsuit challenging two...more

Hydraulic Fracturing: State Regulatory Roundup Vol. 48

Fracking Insider Readers: We are pleased to bring you Volume 48 of our State Regulatory Roundup, including updates in California, Colorado, and Kansas. As we explained in earlier volumes, we designed the Roundup to provide...more

Ninth Circuit Finds Navy’s Low Frequency Active Sonar Program Violates Marine Mammal Protection Act

In NRDC v. Pritzker, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit confirmed that the Marine Mammal Protection Act’s (MMPA) incidental take authorizations will be construed narrowly and conservatively, giving the benefit of...more

ESA Round-Up – Summer 2016

In the past few weeks, the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) published several Endangered Species Act (ESA) listing decisions, including the following...more

California Environmental Law & Policy Update - July 2016 #4

Environmental and Policy Focus - Metropolitan Water District completes $175-million purchase of Delta islands - Los Angeles Times - Jul 18 - Metropolitan Water District (MWD) this Monday completed the...more

California Environmental Law & Policy Update - July 2016

Environmental and Policy Focus - Judge invalidates long-fought Delta management plan Sacramento Bee - Jun 24 - In a decision that could delay or complicate Governor Jerry Brown’s plan to build two huge...more

Federal Wildlife Agencies Release Draft Revisions to Habitat Conservation Planning Handbook

On June 28, 2016, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) and National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) released draft revisions to their joint Habitat Conservation Planning Handbook (Handbook).  The proposed revisions are...more

Feds Spawn New Rules and Policies for Protected Species Habitat and Mitigation

Federal agencies charged under the Endangered Species Act (“ESA”) with species protection have recently hatched revisions to regulations and policies that change substantially the determination and protection of habitat for...more

Changing the ESA Listing Petition Process? Not as Much as You Might Think.

On April 21, 2016, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and National Marine Fisheries Service (collectively, “Service”) announced revisions to their proposed modifications to the Endangered Species Act (“ESA”) petition...more

Is Their Fate Sealed? Alaska District Court Vacates Regulation Listing Arctic Ringed Seal Populations as Threatened and...

On March 15, 2016, in Alaska Oil & Gas Association v. National Marine Fisheries Service, case number 4:14-cv-00029-RRB, the U.S. District Court for the District of Alaska vacated a final regulation promulgated by the National...more

New ESA Regulations Expand Impact of "Critical Habitat" Designations

Two new rules and one new policy from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the National Marine Fisheries Service (the Services) relating to the process of designating and protecting "critical habitat" under the Endangered...more

Critical Habitat for Right Whales Expanded

Action Item: The National Marine Fisheries Services (“NMFS”) promulgated a final rule identifying critical habitats for the endangered Northern Atlantic Right Whale. Stakeholders involved in spill response, ocean and offshore...more

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