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ESAblawg is an educational effort by Keith W. Rizzardi. Correspondence with this site does not create a lawyer-client relationship. Photos or links may be copyrighted (but used with permission, or as fair use). ESA blawg is published with a Creative Commons License.

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florida gators... never threatened!

If you ain't a Gator, you should be! Alligators (and endangered crocs) are important indicator species atop their food chains, with sensitivity to pollution and pesticides akin to humans. See ESA blawg. Gator blood could be our pharmaceutical future, too. See ESA musing.

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Follow the truth.

"This institution will be based on the illimitable freedom of the human mind. For here we are not afraid to follow truth wherever it may lead, nor to tolerate any error so long as reason is left free to combat it." -- Thomas Jefferson to William Roscoe, December 27, 1820.

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Thanks, Kevin.

KEVIN S. PETTITT helped found this blawg. A D.C.-based IT consultant specializing in Lotus Notes & Domino, he also maintains Lotus Guru blog.

« ESA news from the Bay-Delta: Judge Wanger rejects current biological opinion, while vocal constituents reject the Bay Delta Conservation Plan alternative | Main| FWS proposes endangered listing for dune sagebrush lizard »

FWS says listing warranted but precluded for Sonoran population of the desert tortoise, North American wolverine, and two milkvetch species

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As FWS recently explained in three decisions that species listing was warranted but precluded, budgets are getting tight.  Listing petitions (like everything else) feel the effects.

EXCERPT: In FY 2010, $10,471,000 is the amount of money that Congress appropriated for the Listing Program (that is, the portion of the Listing Program funding not related to critical habitat designations for species that are already listed). Therefore, a proposed listing is precluded if pending proposals with higher priority will require expenditure of at least $10,471,000, and expeditious progress is the amount of work that can be achieved with $10,471,000. Since court orders requiring critical habitat work will not require use of all of the funds within the critical habitat subcap, we used $1,114,417 of our critical habitat subcap funds in order to work on as many of our required petition findings and listing determinations as possible. This brings the total amount of funds we had for listing actions in FY 2010 to $11,585,417. The $11,585,417 was used to fund work in the following categories: Compliance with court orders and court-approved settlement agreements requiring that petition findings or listing determinations be completed by a specific date; section 4 (of the Act) listing actions with absolute statutory deadlines; essential litigation-related, administrative, and listing program management functions; and high priority listing actions for some of our candidate species. For FY 2011, on September 29, 2010, Congress passed a continuing resolution which provides funding at the FY 2010 enacted level.

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75 Fed. Reg. 78094 (Tuesday, December 14, 2010) / Proposed Rules
DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR Fish and Wildlife Service
50 CFR Part 17 / Docket No. FWS–R2–ES–2009–0032; MO 92210–0–008
Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; 12-Month Finding on a Petition To List the Sonoran Population of the Desert Tortoise as Endangered or Threatened
AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.
ACTION: Notice of 12-month petition finding.

SUMMARY: We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, announce a 12-month finding on a petition to list the Sonoran population of the desert tortoise (Gopherus agassizii) as endangered or threatened and to designate critical habitat under the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended (Act). After review of all available scientific and commercial information, we find that listing the Sonoran population of the desert tortoise is warranted. Currently, however, listing the Sonoran population of the desert tortoise is precluded by higher priority actions to amend the Lists of Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants. Upon publication of this 12-month petition finding, we will add the Sonoran population of the desert tortoise to our candidate species list. We will develop a proposed rule to list the Sonoran population of the desert tortoise as our priorities allow. We will make any determination on critical habitat during development of the proposed listing rule. In any interim period we will address the status of the candidate taxon through our annual Candidate Notice of Review (CNOR). DATES: The finding announced in this document was made on December 14, 2010.

SonoranDesertTortoise2.jpg
KEITHINKING: Listing of the desert tortoise presents significant concerns for land use development projects in Arizona.  See, Arizona Game and Fish guidelines for handling the species when discovered in development projects.  Photo from AzGFD.

LINKS: See FWS, Tucson Citizen, the Western Watersheds Project, a natural history of the species webpage.

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75 Fed. Reg. 78030 (Tuesday, December 14, 2010) / Proposed Rules
DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR Fish and Wildlife Service
50 CFR Part 17 / Docket No. FWS–R6–ES–2008–0029; MO 92210–0–0008–B2
Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; 12-Month Finding on a Petition To List the North American Wolverine as Endangered or Threatened
AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.
ACTION: Notice of 12-month petition finding.

SUMMARY: We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), announce a 12-month finding on a petition to list the North American wolverine (Gulo gulo luscus) as an endangered or threatened species under the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended (Act). After review of all available scientific and commercial information, we find that the North American wolverine occurring in the contiguous United States is a distinct population segment (DPS) and that addition of this DPS to the Lists of Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants is warranted. Currently, however, listing the contiguous U.S. DPS of the North American wolverine is precluded by higher priority actions to amend the Lists of Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants. Upon publication of this 12-month petition finding, we will add the contiguous U.S. DPS of the wolverine to our candidate species list. We consider the current range of the species to include portions of the States of Washington, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, Colorado, Utah, Oregon, and California. However, due to the dispersal abilities of individual wolverines, we expect that wolverines are likely to travel outside the currently occupied area. We will develop a proposed rule to list this DPS as our priorities allow (see section on Preclusion and Expeditious  Progress). We will make any determination on critical habitat during development of the proposed listing rule. In the interim, we will address the status of this DPS through our annual Candidate Notice of Review. DATES: This finding was made on December 14, 2010.

LINKS: See Outdoor News Daily and Minneapolis Star Tribune, Denver Post and a noteworthy commentary opposing species reintroduction in Colorado from the Huffington Post.

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75 Fed. Reg. 78514 (Wednesday, December 15, 2010) / Proposed Rules
DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR Fish and Wildlife Service
50 CFR Part 17 / FWS–R6–ES–2010–0080; MO 92210–0–0008–B2
Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; 12-Month Finding on a Petition To List Astragalus microcymbus and Astragalus schmolliae as Endangered or Threatened
AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.
ACTION: Notice of 12-month petition finding.

SUMMARY: We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service/USFWS), announce a 12-month finding on a petition to list Astragalus microcymbus (skiff milkvetch) and Astragalus schmolliae (Schmoll’s milkvetch) as endangered or threatened, and to designate critical habitat under the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended (Act). After a review of all the available scientific and commercial information, we find that listing A. microcymbus and A. schmolliae is warranted. However, currently listing of A. microcymbus and A.  schmolliae is  precluded by higher priority actions to amend the Lists of Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants. Upon publication of this 12-month petition finding, we will add A. microcymbus and A. schmolliae to our list of candidate species. We will make any determinations on critical habitat during development of the proposed listing rule. In any interim period, the status of the candidate taxon will be addressed through our annual Candidate Notice of Review. DATES: The finding announced in this document was made on December 15, 2010.

KEITHINKING: Federal action for Astragalus microcymbus and Astragalus schmolliae (then A. schmollae) began as a result of a 1975 Smithsonian Institution report suggesting these species be deemed endangered.  In 1993, the Biodiversity Legal Foundation petitioned to list the species, and in 2007, Forest Guardians (now WildEarth Guardians) made a similar request as part of a petition to list 475 plant species.  See ESA blawg critique of bulk petitions.