US Fish and Wildlife Service

News & Analysis as of

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

Activist Groups Employ New FOIA Strategy in Seeking Confidential Information Relating to Business’ Imports/Exports of Animals and...

Animal activist group plaintiffs have filed Freedom of Information Act requests seeking an enormous amount of data from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service relating to the import and export of wildlife specimens, and have sued...more

Fish and Wildlife Service, Park Service Overhaul Decades-Old Regulations on Oil and Gas Operations in Wildlife Refuges and...

The US Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) yesterday announced its final rule governing oil and gas development in wildlife refuges, updating the regulations for the first time in over 50 years. The final rule will be...more

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Adds Ten Species to the List of Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Updates the Listings of Five...

On November 2, 2016, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) issued a final rule adding ten species to the List of Endangered and Threatened Wildlife, and updating the listings of five other species. Of the ten new...more

It’s Foreseeable That More Species Will Be Listed Under the ESA Due to Climate Change

The drumbeat of cases, either approving agency action under the ESA – or reversing agency refusal to act – due to habitat alteration resulting from climate change continues to grow. In February, the 9th Circuit reversed a...more

Wolverine Status Review Reinitiated

The distinct population segment of the North American wolverine (Gulo gulf luscus) has had a long and difficult history with the Endangered Species Act (ESA). However, things appeared to be changing in 2013, when, after...more

FWS Goes Back to Square One On Listing the Wolverine. It’s Not Going to Be Any Easier This Time Around.

As we noted in this space in April, Judge Dana Christensen vacated the Fish and Wildlife Service’s decision to withdraw its proposed listing of a distinct population segment of the North American wolverine as threatened under...more

Environmental Case Law Update

“Summer’s lease hath all too short a date.” Many important environmental and administrative law decisions were reported by the federal and state courts over the past six months. The courts are dealing with very...more

U.S. Supreme Court Denies U.S. Forest Service’s Petition for Review in Canadian Lynx Case

On October 11, 2016, the U.S. Supreme Court denied the U.S. Forest Service’s (“Forest Service”) petition for writ of certiorari to review the U.S. Court of Appeal for the Ninth Circuit’s decision in Cottonwood Environmental...more

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