US Fish and Wildlife Service

News & Analysis as of

Pierce Atwood Environmental Regulatory Compliance Calendar (RCC)

NEW REGULATORY DEVELOPMENTS - Federal - Draft National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) General Permit for Stormwater Discharges - All 10 EPA regions are seeking public comment on the draft 2017...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

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Ordered to Reconsider Delisting of N. American Wolverine

The courts continue to be busy issuing significant Endangered Species Act (ESA) rulings. In the latest one, issued in early wolverineApril, the U.S. District Court for Montana, Missoula Division, in Defenders of Wildlife v....more

Climate Change and the ESA: Protecting the Wolverine in the Face of Uncertainty

Under the Endangered Species Act, a species is “threatened” when it is “likely to become an endangered species within the foreseeable future.” As scientists continue to predict that climate change will alter habitat over the...more

The Wolverine Takes on Climate Change: Montana District Court Remands Withdrawal of Proposed Listing Rule

On April 4, 2016, the U.S. District Court for the District of Montana vacated the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s (Service) August 13, 2014 withdrawal of its proposed rule to list the distinct population segment of the North...more

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Issues 12-Month Findings on Four Species

On April 5, 2016, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) issued 12-month findings on petitions to list the island marble butterfly (Euchloe ausonides insulanus), the San Bernardino flying squirrel (Glaucomys sabrinus...more

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Designates Critical Habitat for 125 Hawaiian Species

On March 30, 2016, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (“Service”) issued a final rule designating critical habitat for 125 species listed as endangered or threatened under the Endangered Species Act (“ESA”) on the Hawaiian...more

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Updates Native American Tribe Policy

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced an updated Native American policy on January 27, 2016, which provides a framework for government-to-government relationships to further the federal government’s trust...more

Widely Divergent Views of Section 7 Consultation Described in PNAS Articles

In December 2015, Defenders of Wildlife employees published an article in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, in which they compiled and conducted basic statistical analyses of data regarding section 7...more

Ninth Circuit Reinstates Polar Bear Habitat Designation, ESA Implications for the West

In a decision that could result in significant new restrictions on development activities in the Arctic as well as set important Endangered Species Act (ESA) precedent in the Western United States, the U.S. Court of Appeals...more

FWS Proposes Revisions to Development Mitigation Policy

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) published draft revisions on March 8, 2016 to its 1981 Mitigation Policy for mitigating the impacts of development projects to natural resources. See Proposed Revisions to the U.S....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

California Environmental Law & Policy Update - March 2016

Environmental and Policy Focus - Community and environmental groups sue South Coast Air District over rules adoption - Los Angeles Times - Mar 9 - Community groups and environmentalists filed suit this week...more

Two Bears and A Lizard: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Issues Two Rules and Draft Recovery Plan

On March 11, 2016, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) released a final delisting rule, a proposed delisting rule, and a notice of a draft recovery plan. Each of these is discussed in the order in which they appear...more

Dunes Sagebrush Lizard Decision Upholds Importance of Conservation Agreements

On March 1, the oil and gas industry won a significant victory when the Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit upheld the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service’s (“FWS”) decision that conservation agreements supported by the industry...more

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Proposes Revisions to Mitigation Policy

On March 8, 2016, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) announced proposed revisions to its Mitigation Policy that has guided Service recommendations on mitigating the adverse impacts of development on fish, wildlife,...more

Federal Court Refuses To Reinstate Lesser Prairie Chicken Listing: What Now, And What’s Next?

Last fall a federal court in the Western District of Texas upheld a challenge to the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service’s (Service) decision to list the lesser prairie chicken (LEPC) as a threatened species under the federal...more

New Conservation Restrictions for the Northern Long-Eared Bat Will Have Limited Impact on Development in Massachusetts

A new Endangered Species Act rule protecting the northern long-eared bat will likely have only limited impact on development and land use activities in Massachusetts due to fairly specific restrictions imposed by the final...more

Ninth Circuit Upholds Polar Bear Critical Habitat Designation

On February 29, 2016, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit upheld the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s (Service) designation of critical habitat in Alaska for the polar bear (Ursus maritimus). Alaska Oil and Gas...more

The Ninth Circuit Approves the FWS Polar Bear Critical Habitat Designation

On Monday, the 9th Circuit reversed a district court decision that rejected the critical habitat designated by the Fish and Wildlife Service for protection of the polar bear, which was listed as threatened in 2008. The case...more

NMFS Designates Critical Habitat for Two Salmonid Populations in Pacific Northwest

The National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) issued a final rule on February 24, 2016 designating critical habitat under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) for two threatened species—lower Columbia River coho salmon...more

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Formally Reinstates 5-Year Limit for Eagle Take Permits

On February 17, 2016, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (“USFWS”) issued a final rule formally reinstating a five-year limit for eagle take permits. The final rule responds to an August 2015 ruling by the U.S. District Court...more

Center for Biological Diversity Files 60-Day Notice of Intent to Sue the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service on Final 4(d) Rule for...

As we discussed in a previous post, on January 14, 2016, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) published a final 4(d) rule under the Endangered Species Act for the northern long-eared bat. As we noted, although the...more

Feds Finalize Prohibitions Against Threatened Bat Species – Disputes Continue

The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (FWS) issued a final rule under Section 4(d) of the Endangered Species Act (ESA), taking effect February 16, 2016 and imposing measures intended to protect the northern long-eared bat (NLE...more

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