US Fish and Wildlife Service

News & Analysis as of

Fifth Circuit Issues Contentious Dissent Over Designation of Louisiana Land

On June 13, 2016, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, in a 2-1 decision, held that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) had properly included approximately 1,500 acres in Louisiana as designated critical...more

Six 5th Circuit Judges Oppose USFS’s Critical Habitat Designation: Sounds Like Certiorari to Me

The 5th Circuit Court of Appeals just denied en banc review in a case involving the Fish & Wildlife Service’s designation of critical habitat for the dusky gopher frog. There are only 100 of these “shy” frogs left, and none...more

Fifth Circuit Rejects Petition For Banc Rehearing In ESA Case Markel Interests, LLC v. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

On February 13, a sharply divided U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit , by a vote of 8 to 6, rejected a petition seeking an en banc rehearing of the court’s initial decision in the case of Markel Interests, LLC, et...more

Endangered Species Act Case Roundup

Two noteworthy cases have recently been issued by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals and the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California. The two cases address: (1) the interplay between the Federal...more

Environmental Notes - February 2017

President Trump has wasted no time in acting on his environmental agenda. On January 24, his second working day in office, the President signed two Executive Orders giving the green light to construction of the Keystone and...more

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Finalizes ESA Compensatory Mitigation Policy

We reported in our April 2016 edition that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (“FWS”) and the National Marine Fisheries Service (“NMFS”) had recently updated certain Endangered Species Act (“ESA”) regulations and proposed...more

DOI Issues Solicitor’s Opinion That MBTA Prohibits Incidental Take

The U.S. Department of the Interior’s Office of the Solicitor issued Memorandum M-37041 on January 10, 2017, arguing that incidental take is prohibited under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act (MBTA). The solicitor’s opinion was...more

White House Chief of Staff Orders Freezing of Pending Regulations

On January 20, 2017, Reince Priebus, the White House Chief of Staff and Assistant to the President, issued a memorandum to the heads of all executive departments and agencies ordering them to freeze the processing of all...more

Early January Environmental Odds And Ends

“The old order changeth, yielding place to new.” January 2017 has been a very active month, with several important environmental and federal administrative court rulings being issued, and many significant rules being proposed...more

Texas Cactus and Three Other Species Proposed for Downlisting or Delisting by U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

On December 28, 2016, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) published a proposed rule to reclassify the Tobusch fishhook cactus (Sclerocactus brevihamatus ssp. tobuschii), downlisting the species from endangered to...more

US Fish and Wildlife Service Finalizes Eagle Rule Revision

On December 14, 2016, the US Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) finalized its proposed revisions to the Eagle Rule (Final Rule) and released its Record of Decision (ROD). The Final Rule allows companies and others to obtain...more

Revised Eagle “Incidental Take” Permit Regulations Strike a Better Balance

In December 2016, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) issued new regulations that provide an important mechanism for renewable energy, transmission line and other development projects to obtain eagle “incidental...more

U.S. Fish & Wildlife Finalizes First-Ever ESA Compensatory Mitigation Policy

On December 27, 2016, the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (FWS) issued its final Endangered Species Act (ESA) Compensatory Mitigation Policy (Policy) – the first policy to comprehensively address compensatory mitigation under...more

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Finalizes Eagle Permit Program Revisions, Announces Intent to Prioritize Bald and Golden Eagle...

On December 16, 2016, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) issued a long-awaited final rule (Rule) revising the regulations that govern the Service’s eagle take permit program (Eagle Permit Program) under the Bald and...more

Comment Period Open on City of San Diego Vernal Pool HCP

On December 23, 2016, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service published a notice of availability and request for public comment in the Federal Register with respect to the draft Environmental Impact Report/Statement (EIR/S) for...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

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Finalizes Revamp of Eagle Permit Rule: What You Need to Know

On December 16, 2016 the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) published a final rule (Final Rule) revising its 2009 regulations establishing requirements for issuance of permits for “non-purposeful take” of bald and...more

Black-Capped Vireo to be Removed From Endangered List, Un-Capping Development in Texas and Oklahoma

On December 15, 2016, the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (“USFWS” or “Service”) published a proposed rule (the “Proposed Rule”) to remove the black-capped vireo (“BCV”) from the list of endangered and threatened species under...more

Renewable Energy Update - December 2016 #3

Renewable Energy Focus - Feds release long-anticipated final rule for eagle take permits - North American Windpower - Dec 15 - The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (FWS) has released the final version...more

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Issues Final Revised Eagle Rule

Today the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) published notice in the Federal Register of a long-anticipated final rule revising its eagle permitting regulations (Revised Eagle Rule). Concurrent with the Revised Eagle...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

Fish and Wildlife Service Proposes De-Listing the Black Capped Vireo

On December 15, 2016, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) published a proposed rule to remove the black-capped vireo (Vireo atricapilla) from the list of Endangered and Threatened Species. The Service has concluded...more

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Announces Changes to Mitigation Policy

On November 21, 2016, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) published the final revisions to its Mitigation Policy. The Mitigation Policy, first published in 1981, guides the Service’s recommendations and requirements...more

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Issues Annual Candidate Notice

The Candidate Notice of Review is an annual appraisal by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) of plants and animals that are candidates for Endangered Species Act protection. A “candidate” species is a species for...more

USFWS Initiates Status Review for Lesser Prairie-Chicken

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (“Service”) recently published a positive 90-day finding on a petition to list the Lesser Prairie-Chicken (Tympanuchus pallidicinctus) and three distinct population segments as endangered...more

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