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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: U.S. Supreme Court denies review of Endangered Species Act decisions, and Court question in polar bear strikes core issues, but potential legislation on attorney's fees may be bigger news

02/23/2011

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Earlier this week, making 2011 look just slightly less controversial for Endangered Species Act practicioners. the U.S. Supreme Court denied two petitions requesting for review of how federal regulators and courts consider the economic impacts of "critical habitat" designations. See New York Times.  The decision leaves intact critical habitat designations for 8.6 million acres of the Mexican spotted owl habitat  in Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico and Utah, and  860,000 acres of critical habitat for four crustaceans and 11 plants in California and Oregon.

But yesterday, a U.S. District Judge in Washington, D.C. asked the tough questions that reveal the depth of disagreement over polar bears, ESA implementation, and the use of the law to regulate greenhouse gases.  Consider this excerpt from the Miami Herald article:

U.S. District Judge Emmet Sullivan... asked, what should be done when the primary threat to polar bears is the loss of their sea ice habitat?  "How do we fix that?" he asked Kassie Siegel of the Center for Biological Diversity, the lead lawyer for the environmental coalition that's seeking to change polar bears' status from merely threatened to endangered.

"Deep and rapid greenhouse gas reductions," Siegel said.  Her answer got at the heart of what environmental groups hope to do with their lawsuit: force the Obama administration to reconsider a rule that prohibits using the Endangered Species Act as a tool to regulate greenhouse gases.

PolarBearCubs.jpg
Image from FWS available from Penn State

Despite the litigation news, a much more obscure legislative issue may prove far more significant in 2011.  Earlier this month, the House of Representatives moved forward with efforts to reform the Equal Access to Justice Act, the statute frequently invoked by environmental organizations to require the federal government to pay legal fees and costs when the groups file successful citizen suits against the government.  See TucsonHerald.com.  The floor debate, as excerpted below, was remarkable.

Proposing the amendment, Rep. Cynthia Lummis(R-WY) said, in part as follows: this law has been hijacked by certain groups who use it to sue and recover judgments. For example, there are 14 environmental groups that have recovered $37 million by filing 1,200 lawsuits for which they’ve recovered judgments and even legal fees under settlements with the Federal Government, thereby fueling the fire of suing the Federal Government over sometimes procedural issues.

Arguing against the amendment, and for the continuation of federal funding for successful citizen suits, Rep. George Miller (D-CA) said as follows: The salmon don’t have a lawyer. But the harm to the fisheries, the harm to the small fishermen, to the small boat owners, the people who go out and brave their lives in the Pacific Ocean. When the Federal Government makes decisions about water flows and the Federal Government makes decisions about timber sales and when the Federal Government makes decisions about construction on the dam, they have a right to be heard.

Striking a more cautious note, but still supporting the amendment, Rep. Mike Simpson (R-ID) said as follows: You could actually lose the case for what you are trying to do. It is the problem that good intentions have gone awry. And I will tell you that there are groups all across this country who have seen this as a way to fund their organizations, and we need to put a halt to it. Because what we’re doing is asking the people of this country to fund people to sue them. I don’t know who else does that. But on the other hand, I agree with the gentleman that we want those people that don’t have the ability or the resources to have a say in how public lands are managed, to have a say in that. But it has gone awry, and we need to put an end to it, and we need to reform the process.

But Rep. Ed Markey (D-Mass) still noted his concerns: This amendment is overbroad, to use a euphemistic term, in order to describe what its impact will be upon those who are the least powerful, and most agreed in terms of the impact in which the Federal Government has upon their lives as individual citizens.  As Rep. Markey also noted, the EAJA refoms had the potential to prevent people who were wronged by the government from recovering, including victims of atomic radiation, elderly Social Security recipients, veterans, and whistleblowers. And Mr. Markey concluded as follows: I rise just to make this very simple point so you all know what you’re doing. The law that this amendment wants to prevent funding for was a Ronald Reagan law. This is a law Ronald Reagan signed and put on the books, just so you understand. And of course the reason he put it on the books was that he sided with the little guy against the Federal Government. This is a way to make the Federal Government accountable. And recovery of attorneys’ fees and legal expenses is needed to ensure that the people can keep their own government accountable when they, the smallest of the small, are having the Federal Government intrude itself into their lives and bringing tremendous harm to the health and well-being of the families in any particular community in our country.

The amendment passed 232 yes to 197 no.  See THOMAS.



ESA news: Montana House votes to nullify the ESA, Sacramento Delta, and owls vs. owls

02/21/2011

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The stakes get higher and higher.  This week, in Washington D.C., Judge Sullivan will hear oral arguments on the polar bear litigation. See Anchorage Daily News.  But all over the nation, even legislators are talking about delisting of species.  Howling at the controversies over wolf protections, the Montana House of Representatives voted to repeal the ESA. See BoiseWeekly and NECN and New West.  Arizona may not be far behind.  See YumaSun.  Maybe even Wisconsin?  The state Department of Natural Resources says wolves are causing more problems for Wisconsinites. See Chicago Tribune.  But in Texas, the Edwards Aquifer Authority, a governmental entity that exists, in part, to manage the challenges associated with the ESA, is seeking flexibility from the otherwise applicable framework of Texas state water law. See MySanAntonio.

While CaliforniaProgressReport calls for nuance in managing the region's challenges, the Pacific Legal Foundation prefers the blunt instrument. Last week, the Ninth Circuit heard oral argument on the constitutionality of the ESA, as applied to the decision to cut off water use in the delta to protect the smelt.  And other news from the Sacramento Delta includes this interesting perspective from Investor's Business Daily on the cost of green.  And "for what?" ask some, including the author of this San Francisco Chronicle article noting that "Delta fish may be too far gone to save."

The ESA has moral costs too, as John Platt reveals in this Scientific American article discussing whether we should shoot barred owls to save spotted owls.  But the owl needs help, because despite the ESA, populations are declining.  See Statesman Journal.  See also, The Smithsonian.

FWS may list Sand verbena moth, but NOAA says listing of Alabama shad not warranted

02/21/2011

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76 Fed. Reg. 9309 (Thursday, February 17, 2011) / Proposed Rules
DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR / Fish and Wildlife Service / 50 CFR Part 17
Docket No. FWS–R1–ES–2010–0096; MO 92210–0–0008
Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; 90-Day Finding on a Petition To List the Sand Verbena Moth as Endangered or Threatened
AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.
ACTION: Notice of petition finding and initiation of status review.

SUMMARY: We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, announce a 90-day finding on a petition to list the sand verbena moth, Copablepharon fuscum, as endangered or threatened under the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended. Based on our review, we find the petition presents substantial information indicating that listing the sand verbena moth may be warranted. Therefore, with the publication of this notice, we are initiating a review of the status of the species to determine if listing the sand verbena moth as endangered or threatened is warranted. To ensure that this status review is comprehensive, we are requesting scientific and commercial data and other information regarding this species. Based on the status review, we will issue a 12-month finding on the petition, which will address  whether the petitioned action is warranted, as provided in section 4(b)(3)(B) of the Act.

***

76 Fed. Reg. 9320 (Thursday, February 17, 2011) / Notices
DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
Docket No. 100603239–0275–02 / RIN 0648–XW85
Endangered and Threatened Wildlife; 90-Day Finding on a Petition To List Alabama Shad as Threatened or Endangered Under the Endangered Species Act (ESA)
AGENCY: National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Department of Commerce.
ACTION: Notice of 90-day petition finding.

SUMMARY: We (NMFS) announce a 90-day finding on a petition to list Alabama shad (Alosa alabamae) as threatened or endangered and designate critical habitat under the ESA. We find that the petition does not present substantial scientific or commercial information indicating that the petitioned actions may be warranted.

U.S. District Court in Idaho upholds Endangered Species Act analysis of Forest Service's roadless rule

02/14/2011

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JAYNE v. REY, Under Secretary for National Resources and Environment, U.S. Department of Agriculture, 2011 WL 337941 (D.Idaho), Case No. 4:CV 09-015-BLW (B. LYNN WINMILL, Chief Judge).

BACKGROUND: In the 1970s, the Forest Service began to develop an inventory of roadless areas within National Forests. The Forest Service designated roadless areas of more than 5,000 acres as “inventoried roadless areas” (IRAs). Today, there are over 58.5 million acres contained in IRAs throughout the National Forest system. The lack of development within the IRAs makes them “bastions for public drinking water, plant and animal diversity, natural appearing landscapes, and other unique characteristics.” FEIS at 386.  
Concerned about encroaching development, the Forest Service promulgated in 2001 the Roadless Area Conservation Rule (“2001 Roadless Rule”) to “prohibit road construction, reconstruction, and timber harvest in inventoried roadless areas because they have the greatest likelihood of altering and fragmenting landscapes, resulting in immediate, long-term loss of roadless area values and characteristics.” 66 Fed.Reg. 3244 (Jan. 12, 2001).
    The 2001 Roadless Rule was nation-wide in scope and did not contain variations tailored for each State. As a result, “some states and communities felt disenfranchised by the process.” 73 Fed.Reg. at 61457 (October 16, 2008). In 2005, the Forest Service opted for a new approach, inviting States to submit petitions to adjust the management requirements for the IRAs within their borders. In conjunction with this new approach, the Department of Agriculture (USDA) created the Roadless Area Conservation National Advisory Committee (RACNAC)…
    In 2005, Idaho's Governor began a collaborative process to draft a state petition governing the 9.3 million acres of IRAs within the State. The State submitted the petition to the RACNAC in 2006, and then-Governor James Risch and his staff met with RACNAC in Washington D.C. to discuss the petition and clarify their intent… The resulting Idaho Rule-known as the Idaho Roadless Rule-creates different categories of lands within Idaho's 9.3 million acres of IRAs based on the specific attributes of those lands, and then applies different management “themes” to each category: Wild Land Recreation (WLR); Primitive areas; or Special Areas of Historic or Tribal Significance theme (“SAHTS”); Backcountry/Restoration (BCR); and General Forest, Rangeland, Grassland (GFRG).

Endangered Species Act Analysis
    Before putting the Idaho Roadless Rule in place, the Forest Service consulted with the Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) under Section 7 of the Endangered Species Act (ESA) after finding that the new Rule “is likely to adversely affect eight listed species.” See FWS Biological Opinion at 12. As a result of the consultation, the FWS issued a Biological Opinion finding that the new Rule is not likely to jeopardize the continued existence of any listed species. Id.
    The Idaho Roadless Rule authorizes roads and logging in IRAs that contain habitat for the grizzly bear and the caribou, two species listed under the ESA. In conjunction with its Section 7 consultation with the Forest Service, the FWS discussed the effect of the Rule on both species in a Biological Opinion…
    The FWS's Biological Opinion showed that the caribou and grizzly bear populations are small and fragile, and the adverse effects of more permissive rules for IRAs in the GFRG and BCR areas could be “serious” for the grizzly bear and “significant” for the caribou. Id. at 145, 106. In both cases, the FWS discounted the potential for adverse effects in large part due to the Forest Service's commitment of future protection. Plaintiffs argue that the FWS cannot rely on such commitments…
    While the FWS properly considered the letters, the question remains whether it properly relied on the letters to find that harmful road building was not reasonably certain to occur. Here, there is no evidence casting doubt on the IPNF Forest Supervisor's commitments. Indeed, the FWS cited specific actions taken by the IPNF consistent with its commitment to preserve the habitat for the grizzly and caribou…

Conclusion
    The Court finds the FWS did not violate the ESA in preparing the Biological Opinion. The Court also finds that the Forest Service did not violate NEPA in relying on the Biological Opinion or in preparing the FEIS and ROD approving the Idaho Roadless Rule. For these reasons, the Court will grant the defendants' motions for summary judgment and deny plaintiffs' motion for summary judgment. The Court will issue a separate Judgment as required by Rule 58(a).

IdahoWilderness.jpg
Western Tradition Partnership, a grassroots lobbying organization, launched a campaign against the designation of "Roadless Wilderness" on 24 million acres focused in Montana, Idaho, Wyoming, and smaller parts of Washington and Oregon. Many of the areas in green on this map fell within the area at issue in the litigation described above.  Map from sovereignstateproject.org

In controversial announcements, FWS publishes draft environmental assessment on Idaho plan for legal take of wolves, and declines to list Pacific Walrus

02/14/2011

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76 Fed. Reg. 7875 (Friday, February 11, 2011) / Notices
DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR Fish and Wildlife Service
Docket No. FWS–R1–ES–2011–0009; 10120–1113–0000–C3
Nonessential Experimental Populations of Gray Wolves in the Northern Rocky Mountains; Lethal Take of Wolves in the Lolo Elk Management Zone of Idaho; Draft Environmental Assessment
AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.
ACTION: Notice of availability; request for comments.

SUMMARY: We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), announce the availability of a draft environmental assessment (EA) of the Idaho Department of Fish and Game’s (IDFG) proposal to lethally take wolves in the Lolo Elk Management Zone of northcentral Idaho in response to impacts on elk populations. IDFG’s proposal was submitted under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) and our special regulations under the ESA for the central Idaho and Yellowstone area nonessential experimental populations of gray wolves in the Northern Rocky Mountains. The draft EA describes the environmental effects of two alternatives: (1) The preferred alternative, which would approve the IDFG proposal to reduce the wolf population in the Lolo Elk Management Zone to a minimum of 20 to 30 wolves, in 3 to 5 packs, for a period of 5 years, in response to impacts on elk populations; and (2) a no-action alternative, which would deny the proposal to reduce the wolf population in the Lolo Elk Management Zone. Under the no-action alternative, wolves in the Lolo Elk Management Zone would continue to be managed as a nonessential experimental population and could be removed by the Service or its designated agents when livestock, stock animals, or dogs are killed by wolves. DATES: To ensure consideration, we must receive your written comments on the draft EA no later than March 14, 2011.

KEITHINKING: The tension between East coast environmentalists and west coast ranchers continues to build, and the hunting community is divided.  See the Missoulian.  Each time that New York based NRDC and other environmental advocates successfully use litigation to achieve their demands, Congressional voices get louder in Western states to reform the statute and give control back to the states.  In recent days, a wolf was shot for chasing livestock, see Salt Lake Tribune, a Montana lawmaker proposed ESA nullifation in his state, see KRTV.com, Utah lawmakers (and Ammoland editorial writers) want the wolves delisted. See KCPW.  Republican budget proposals would defund ESA activities related to wolf management, see Seattle Times.  Angry and inspired, NRDC bloggers call for the public to oppose the budget, and to demand scientific integrity.

***

76 Fed. Reg. 7634 (Thursday, February 10, 2011) / Proposed Rules
DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR Fish and Wildlife Service
50 CFR Part 17 / Docket No. FWS–R7–ES–2009–0051; MO 92210–0–0008–B2
Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; 12-Month Finding on a Petition to List the Pacific Walrus 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 Pacific walrus (Odobenus rosmarus divergens) as endangered or threatened and to designate critical habitat under the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended. After review of all the available scientific and commercial information, we find that listing the Pacific walrus as endangered or threatened is warranted. Currently, however, listing the Pacific walrus 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 Pacific walrus to our candidate species list. We will develop a proposed rule to list the Pacific walrus as our priorities allow. We will make any determination on critical habitat during development of the proposed listing rule. Consistent with section 4(b)(3)(C)(iii) of the Endangered Species Act, we will review the status of the Pacific walrus through our annual Candidate Notice of Review. DATES: The finding announced in this document was made on February 10, 2011.

Pacific_walrus_Bering_Sea_USFWS_400.jpg
Pack ice serves as a substrate for resting and giving birth, and walruses require pack ice that will support their weight and allow ready access to the water in which they forage. While walruses can break (with their heads) ice up to 20 cm thick, they require ice thicknesses of 60 cm or more to support their weight. Ice that rises too high out of the water, such as multi-year floes, prevents walruses from coming out of the water. Image and caption info from FWS Alaska Office.

EXCERPT:  In summary, we identify loss of sea ice in the summer and fall and associated impacts (Factor A) and subsistence harvest (Factor B) as the primary threats to the Pacific walrus in the foreseeable future. These conclusions are supported by the Bayesian Network models prepared by USGS and the Service. Our Factor D analysis determined that existing regulatory mechanisms are currently inadequate to address these threats. These threats are of sufficient imminence, intensity, and magnitude to cause substantial losses of abundance and an anticipated population decline of Pacific walrus that will continue into the foreseeable future. Therefore, on the basis of the best scientific and commercial information available, we find that the petitioned action to list the Pacific walrus is warranted.

KEITHINKING: The decision not to list the walrus angered many environmental advocates. See Time and New York Times green blog.

FWS revises critical habitat for arroyo toad, but not vernal pool species

02/14/2011

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76 Fed. Reg. 7246 (Wednesday, February 9, 2011) / Rules and Regulations
DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR Fish and Wildlife Service
50 CFR Part 17 / Docket No. FWS–R8–ES–2009–0069; MO 92210–0–0009–B4 / RIN 1018–AV89
Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Revised Critical Habitat for the Arroyo Toad
AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.
ACTION: Final rule.

SUMMARY: We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), are designating final revised critical habitat for the arroyo toad (Anaxyrus californicus, Bufo californicus). We are designating approximately 98,366 acres (ac) (39,807 hectares (ha)) of habitat in Santa Barbara, Ventura, Los Angeles, San Bernardino, Riverside, Orange, and San Diego Counties, California, as critical habitat for the arroyo toad. This final revised designation constitutes an increase of approximately 86,671 ac (35,074 ha) from the 2005 designation of critical habitat for the arroyo toad. A taxonomic name change has occurred and been accepted for the arroyo toad. Throughout the remainder of this document we will use the currently recognized name for the listed entity, Anaxyrus californicus, for references to the arroyo toad. DATES: This rule becomes effective on March 11, 2011.

ArroyoToad.jpg
The arroyo southwestern toad (arroyo toad) is endemic to primarily the coastal plain and mountains of central and southern California and northwestern Baja California. These toads breed in stream channels and use stream terraces and surrounding uplands for  foraging and wintering. Direct habitat loss due to urbanization, agriculture, and dam construction is the main cause for the decline ofarroyo toads. Other threats include water management activities and diversions; road construction, maintenance, and use; livestock grazing; mining; recreational activities; loss of habitat due to exotic plants; and predation by introduced species.Photo available at Hubpages, displaying the Habitat of the RARE Arroyo Toad In California: A Photo Study by  GarnetBird.  Links to Recovery Plan and other federal agency actions available from FWS

***

76 Fed. Reg. 7528 (Thursday, February 10, 2011) / Proposed Rules
DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR Fish and Wildlife Service
50 CFR Part 17 / Docket No. FWS–R8–ES–2010–0093; MO 92210–0–0009
Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; 90-Day Finding on a Petition To Revise Critical Habitat for Vernal Pool Fairy Shrimp and Vernal Pool Tadpole Shrimp
AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.
ACTION: Notice of 90-day petition finding to revise critical habitat.
SUMMARY: We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), announce a 90-day finding on a petition to revise critical habitat for vernal pool fairy shrimp (Branchinecta lynchi) and vernal  pool tadpole shrimp (Lepidurus packardi) under the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended (Act). Following a review of the petition, we find that the petition does not present substantial scientific information indicating that revision of the critical habitat for vernal pool fairy shrimp and vernal pool tadpole shrimp may be warranted. Therefore, with the publication of this notice, we have determined that a 12-month finding on this petition is not warranted and will not be conducted. DATES: The finding announced in thi document was made on February 10, 2011.

VernalPoolCWIS.gif
Many vernal pool plants are related to species with agricultural or medicinal properties. Vernal pools are therefore considered an important reservoir of genetic material that could provide natural pharmaceutical compounds and commercially important genetic materials in the future. One pool species, meadowfoam (Limnanthes spp.) is currently being investigated as a source of oil to replace animal- based oils in industrial applications.  Vernal pool photo from California wetlands information system, caption and other information available at vernalpools.org

EXCERPT: The petition states that the 2,800 ac (1,133 ha) addressed in the petition contain the PCEs and support numerous wetland features that are essential for reproduction, germination ic hatching, maturation, feeding, shelter, and dispersal of vernal pool crustaceans. The information in the petition is consistent with information in our files. We agree that this area contains the physical and biological features essential to the conservation of the species. However, the 2,800-ac (1,133-ha) parcel was originally designated as critical habitat in the August 6, 2003, final rule (68 FR 46684), but was later excluded from the critical habitat designation in the August 11, 2005, final rule (70 FR 46924), when the Secretary decided to exercise his discretion under section 4(b)(2) of the Act to exclude this parcel due to economic impacts. The petition does not contain any information suggesting that the exclusion due to economic impacts was done in error, or that the economic analysis was flawed.

NOAA declines to list Texas pipefish

02/14/2011

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76 Fed. Reg. 7820 (Friday, February 11, 2011) / Notices
DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
Docket No. 110131074–1069–02 / RIN 0648–XZ69
Endangered and Threatened Wildlife; 90-Day Finding on a Petition to List the Texas Pipefish as Threatened or Endangered Under the Endangered Species Act
AGENCY: National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Department of Commerce.
ACTION: Notice of 90-day petition finding.
SUMMARY: We (NMFS) announce a 90-day finding on a petition to list the Texas pipefish (Syngnathus affinis) as threatened or endangered under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). We find that the petition does not present substantial scientific or commercial information indicating that the petitioned action may be warranted.  ADDRESSES: Copies of the petition and related materials are available...  online at NMFS SERO Web site: http://sero.nmfs.noaa.gov/pr/ListingPetitions.htm

EXCERPT: After reviewing the information contained in the petition, we find that the best available information supports the conclusion that the Texas pipefish is not a ‘‘species’’ eligible for listing under the ESA. Over the past 30 years no specimens identified as S. affinis have been collected and the best scientific information presented in the petition indicates that the Texas pipefish and the Gulf pipefish are not separate species. Rather, the existing nominal museum specimens appear only to be misidentified phenotypes of the Gulf  pipefish, based on the plasticity and high degree of overlap in identifying characteristics. After reviewing the information contained in the petition and in our files, we have concluded that the petition fails to present substantial scientific or commercial information indicating that the petitioned action may be warranted.

FWS reclassifies wood bison as threatened, not endangered, species

02/08/2011

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DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR Fish and Wildlife Service
50 CFR Part 17 / Docket No. FWS–R9–IA–2008–0123; MO 92210–1113FWDB B6 / RIN 1018–AI83
Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Reclassifying the Wood Bison (Bison bison athabascae) Under the Endangered Species Act as Threatened Throughout Its Range
AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.
ACTION: Proposed rule and notice of 12-month petition finding.
SUMMARY: We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), propose to reclassify the wood bison (Bison bison athabascae) from endangered to threatened under the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended (Act). This proposed action is amended based on a review of the best available scientific and commercial data, which indicate that the endangered designation no longer correctly reflects the status of the wood bison. This proposal also constitutes our 12-month finding on the petition to reclassify this subspecies. We are seeking data and comments from the public on this proposed rule.

EXCERPT RE: HISTORY: During the early 1800s, wood bison numbers were estimated at 168,000, but by the late 1800s, the subspecies was nearly eliminated with only a few hundred remaining. In the words of Soper, wood ‘‘bison appear to have been practically exterminated,’’ and based on the fate of plains bison, in which 40 to 60 million animals were reduced to just over 1,000 animals in less than 100 years overharvest may have been the cause for the decline. The fact that populations began to rebound once protection was in place and enforced supports this idea. In 1922, Wood Buffalo National Park (WBNP) was set aside for the protection of the last remnant population of wood bison. Since that time several additional herds have been established.

EXCERPT RE: PROGRESS TOWARDS RECOVERY: since 1978, the number of free-ranging, disease-free herds has increased from 1 to 7, and the number of wood bison has increased from approximately 400 to over 4,000. The first recovery goal of establishing 4 freeranging, disease-free herds with 400 or more animals has been met, and planning is underway to create one or more herds in Alaska. Although the number of herds needed to meet recovery goal 2 was not specified, progress has been made on the second goal with the establishment of diseasefree herds in Russia; Manitoba, Canada; and Alaska. The Hook Lake Bison Recovery Project was a well-planned, science-based attempt to conserve the genetic diversity of a diseased herd and would have contributed greatly to recovery goal 3. Although ultimately the project was unsuccessful, a great deal of knowledge was gained (Wilson et al. 2003, pp. 62–67). The wood bison recovery team is very aware of the need to maintain genetic diversity in the herds and establishes new herds with the goal of maintaining genetic diversity through multiple introductions (i.e., the Aishihik herd and Hook Lake herd). The establishment of six additional herds on the landscape since 1978 contributes to recovery goal 4. In addition, the captive population at Elk Island National Park has provided disease-free stock for those six additional herds and two captive herds. It is clear that there is active management of the herds, and multiple avenues of research are being funded and pursued regarding the biology and management of wood bison. Progress towards the recovery goals outlined in the national recovery plan, published by the National Wood Bison Recovery Team, is moving forward steadily.

woodbison.jpg

EXCERPT RE: FIVE FACTOR ANALYSIS: The wood bison status review found that threats to wood bison are still present in factors A, C, D, and E. Habitat loss has occurred from agricultural development, and we expect losses will continue in concert with human growth and expansion of agriculture, including commercial bison production. The presence of bovine brucellosis and bovine tuberculosis constrains herd growth as managers attempt to maintain physical separation between diseased and disease-free wood bison and cattle herds, the diseased herds are occupying habitat that could be restored with disease-free herds, and disease in the largest potential donor population (WBNP herd) prevents those animals from being used in reintroduction projects. Plains bison are commercially produced in historical wood bison habitat. These operations remove potential habitat from wood bison recovery efforts and the escape of plains bison poses a threat to wood bison because of hybridization and the loss of genetic integrity. Finally, we found that regulatory mechanisms are inadequate to prevent disease transmission within Canada, and to prevent hybridization.  Image above by FWS available online at IHEA Guide to Wildlife Identification.

FWS announces revised critical habitat for Thread-Leaved Brodiaea, NOAA extends comment period on bearded and ringed seals

02/08/2011

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76 Fed. Reg. 6848 (Tuesday, February 8, 2011) / Rules and Regulations
DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR / Fish and Wildlife Service
50 CFR Part 17 / Docket No. FWS–R8–ES–2009–0073; MO 92210–0–0009 / RIN 1018–AW54
Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Final Revised Critical Habitat for Brodiaea filifolia (Thread-Leaved Brodiaea)
AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.
ACTION: Final rule.

SUMMARY: We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, are designating revised critical habitat for Brodiaea filifolia (thread-leaved brodiaea) under the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended (Act). Approximately 2,947 acres (ac) (1,193 hectares (ha)) in 10 units are being designated as revised critical habitat for B. filifolia in Los Angeles, San Bernardino, Riverside, Orange, and San Diego Counties, California.
DATES: This rule becomes effective on March 10, 2011.

brodiaeafilifolia.jpg
The conservation of Brodiaea filifolia is dependent on several factors including, but not limited to, maintenance of areas of sufficient size and configuration to sustain natural ecosystem components, functions, and processes (such as full sun exposure, natural fire and hydrologic regimes, adequate biotic balance to prevent excessive herbivory); protection of existing substrate continuity and structure, connectivity among groups of plants of this species within geographic proximity to facilitate gene flow among the sites through pollinator activity and seed dispersal; and sufficient adjacent suitable habitat for vegetative reproduction and population expansion. Of primary concern to the conservation of Brodiaea filifolia are solitary bees (such as sweat bees (Hoplitus sp. and Osmia sp.)) because these are the pollinators that have the most specific habitat requirements (such as nesting requirements) and are impacted by fragmentation and reduced diversity of natural habitats at a small scale. Photo from U.S. Forest Service.

***

76 Fed. Reg. 6755 (Tuesday, February 8, 2011) / Proposed Rules
DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
50 CFR Part 223 / RIN 0648–XZ58
Endangered and Threatened Species; Extension of Public Comment Period on Proposed Threatened Status for Distinct Population Segments of the Bearded Seal
AGENCY: National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Commerce.
ACTION: Proposed rule; extension of public comment period.

SUMMARY: We, NMFS, are extending the date by which public comments are due concerning the proposed rule to list the Beringia and Okhotsk Distinct Population Segments (DPSs) of the bearded seal Erignathus barbatus) as threatened under the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended (ESA). On December 10, 2010, we published a proposed rule in the Federal Register to list these DPSs as threatened. As part of that proposal, we announced a public comment period to end on February 8, 2011. Today we extend the public comment period to March 25, 2011.

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76 Fed. Reg. 6754 (Tuesday, February 8, 2011) / Proposed Rules
DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
50 CFR Part 223 / RIN 0648–XZ59
Endangered and Threatened Species; Extension of Public Comment Period on Proposed Threatened Status for Subspecies of the Ringed Seal
AGENCY: National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Commerce.
ACTION: Proposed rule; extension of public comment period.
SUMMARY: We, NMFS, are extending the date by which public comments are due concerning the proposed rule to list the Arctic (Phoca hispida hispida), Okhotsk (Phoca hispida ochotensis), Baltic (Phoca hispida botnica), and Ladoga (Phoca hispida ladogensis) subspecies of the ringed seal as threatened under the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended (ESA). On December 10, 2010, we published a proposed rule to list these subspecies as threatened. As part of that proposal, we announced a public comment period to end on February 8, 2011. Today we extend the public comment period to March 25, 2011.

FEMA settlement may enhance sea turtle protections, but may also complicate flood insurance

02/07/2011

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In an important settlement agreement, the Federal Emergency Management Agency agreed to consult with NOAA Fisheries on the impacts of flood insurance upon nesting sea turtles. See Fort Myers News Press; Insurance News.  According to theMiami Herald, "Environmentalists hope a legal agreement will limit federal flood policies for new coastal development and force owners to rebuild heavily damaged beachside homes at their own risk."

National Wildlife Federation v. Fugate, Case No. 1:10-cv-22300-KMM (S.D. Fla. Jan. 20, 2011).

WHEREAS, Plaintiffs National Wildlife Federation and Florida Wildlife Federation commenced this lawsuit on July 13, 2010, alleging that the Federal Emergency Management Agency (“FEMA” or “Federal Defendants”) violated Section 7 of the Endangered Species Act (“ESA”) by not consulting with the U.S Fish and Wildlife Service (“FWS”) or the National Marine Fisheries Service (“NMFS”) on the impacts of the National Flood Insurance Program (“NFIP”) in Florida on the following five sea turtle species listed as threatened and endangered under the ESA in Florida: (1) loggerhead sea turtle, (2) green sea turtle, (3) hawksbill sea turtle, (4) leatherback sea turtle, and (5) Kemp’s ridley sea turtle. Specifically, Plaintiffs have alleged that FEMA has failed to consult with the FWS and NMFS under Section 7(a)(2) of the ESA to ensure that the NFIP does not jeopardize the continued existence of the above named species, and that FEMA has also failed to use its authority to carry out programs to conserve these listed species as required by Section 7(a)(1) of the ESA; ...

Within eleven (11) months of the completion of an entry of an Order on this Settlement Agreement FEMA will prepare and submit a biological assessment (“BA”) to the FWS and the NMFS on the effects of NFIP on threatened and endangered sea turtles in coastal areas of Florida, and FEMA shall provide the Directors of the FWS and NMFS a written request to initiate formal consultation with FWS and NMFS, pursuant to 16 U.S.C. § 1536(a)(2); 50 C.F.R. § 402.14(c), on the impacts to the five ESA-listed species identified in Plaintiffs’ complaint of (i) FEMA’s implementation of 42 U.S.C. § 4102(c); (ii) the mapping of the floodplains and revisions thereof 42 U.S.C. § 4101(a)(1), (a)(2), and (iii) the implementation of the Community Rating System, 42 U.S.C. § 4022(b)(1). FEMA will not withdraw its biological assessment or withdraw from consultation.

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Coastal development, like this project in Walton County, Florida, has significant effects upon sea turtle nesting habitat.

Civ pro wins again: Sixth Circuit decides ESA dispute based on associational standing.

02/07/2011

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HEARTWOOD, INC. v. AGPAOA, Regional Forester; United States Forest Service, No. 09-5761, 628 F.3d 261 (6th Cir., Dec. 13, 2010)

BACKGROUND: Not-for-profit corporations active in forest and species protection brought action against Regional Forester and United States Forest Service, seeking declaratory and injunctive relief from defendants' approval of recovery project and their revised plan for management of national forest. The United States District Court for the Eastern District of Kentucky, Karl S. Forester, Senior District Judge, 611 F.Supp.2d 675, granted defendants' motion for judgment on the administrative record, and corporations appealed.

EXCERPT: environmental plaintiffs seeking to establish standing must identify particular segments of a river, sections and sub-sections of a forest, or passes in a mountain range that they use and will continue to use, and that agency action will detrimentally affect. Id. And Heartwood cannot complain that the Forest Service did not adequately specify which areas would be affected by the Project. The Forest Service provided Heartwood with a series of maps differentiating areas of, for example, commercial logging and non-commercial logging. Were the Project less specific, we could not require Heartwood to detail what it did not know, but that is not this case. Heartwood's standing affidavits are too general in their identification of “site-specific activities that diminish or threaten to diminish their members' enjoyment of the designated” forest sub-sections, so Heartwood does not have standing to maintain this action.

Two agency victories: D.C. judge upholds FWS rule on piping plover critical habitat; Oregon judge denies preliminary injunction of NMFS review of Oregon Coast coho impacts

02/07/2011

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The CAPE HATTERAS ACCESS PRESERVATION ALLIANCE v. U.S. DEPARTMENT OF the INTERIOR, 731 F.Supp.2d 15, Civil Action No. 09-0236 (RCL), (D.D.C. Aug. 17, 2010.)

SUMMARY: This case concerns environmental regulations designating critical habitat for the piping plover, a small shorebird. On October 21, 2008, defendants, the Department of the Interior and its Fish and Wildlife Service (collectively “the Service”) published a final rule designating critical habitat for the wintering piping plover in North Carolina pursuant to the Endangered Species Act (ESA). The Service revised its critical habitat designation for the units after this Court vacated the Service's original designation in 2001. See Cape Hatteras Access Pres. Alliance v. U.S. Dep't of the Interior, 344 F.Supp.2d 108 (D.D.C.2004) (CHAPA I ). The revised designation includes approximately 2,053 acres in Dare and Hyde Counties, North Carolina and consists of four habitat units... Plaintiffs challenge the revised critical habitat designations under the ESA and the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). Plaintiffs allege that the Service's revised designation fails to satisfy the Court's remand order in CHAPA I. Specifically, plaintiffs argue that the revised critical habitat designation (1) fails to address the statutory requirement that Primary Constituent Elements (PCE's) must be those that may require special management considerations; (2) improperly relied on a district court decision holding that if a habitat is already under some sort of management for its conservation, that particular habitat meets the definition of critical habitat; (3) fails to adequately consider other relevant information, including a 2007 off-road vehicle plan; and (4) fails to adequately consider the economic impacts of the designation. Finally, plaintiffs argue that the Service's Environmental Assessment (EA) and Finding of No Significant Impact pursuant to NEPA are inadequate... Upon consideration of the parties' cross motions for summary judgment, the oppositions and replies thereto, the administrative record, and for the reasons set for in this Memorandum Opinion, plaintiffs' motion for summary judgment will be denied.

PloverWithChickFWSRotindo.jpg
The North Carolina coast is home to the piping plover, a small North American shorebird that “blends in well with beaches and sand flats, part of its primary habitat.” 66 Fed. Reg. 36,038-36,143 (July 10, 2001). It nests and roosts directly on sandy beaches and spends much of its time foraging for small marine crustaceans and other prey in the wet and moist areas of beaches such as “mud flats, sand flats, algal flats, and washover passes (areas where banks in the sand dunes result in an inlet).” Id. at 36,038. Piping plovers are a migratory species; the members of all three of its breeding populations winter in coastal areas of the United States from North Carolina to Texas, as well as along the coasts of Mexico and on Caribbean islands.  Photo and additional information about Atlantic populations of plovers from FWS.

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OLENEC v. NATIONAL MARINE FISHERIES SERVICE, 2011 WL 310236, Civil No. 10-6427-HO. (D. Ore. Jan. 28, 2011).

BACKGROUND: Plaintiffs challenge various agency decisions that resulted in Oregon Resources Corporation (ORC) obtaining a permit to operate chromite mines in southern Coos County. 1 Plaintiffs allege that ORC's surface mines will impact 7.7 acres of wetlands and 0.6 acres of tributary streams... Plaintiffs are particularly concerned about the presence of hexavalent chromium (Cr6) in the ground water at the mine sites, and the risk that possible Cr6 and sedimentation generated during the mining process will injure fish and wildlife, pollute the watershed and threaten their health and well-being... Plaintiffs are concerned about the possible danger posed to the Oregon Coast Coho Salmon (OC Coho), a threatened species...

EXCERPT: The defendants contend that: (1) there is extensive, sound information upon which NMFS based its finding that neither the geological conditions at the sites nor the removal of chromite sands favor the formation of increased concentrations of Cr6; (2) the cumulative impacts of potential, future ORC mining was both too uncertain and too indefinite to evaluate; (3) the potential harms of sedimentation were addressed through the permit's requirements for project modifications, on-going wa-ter quality-monitoring and mitigation measures; and (4) the balance of the hardships do not favor plaintiffs' untimely challenge of an agency decision made in February and March of 2010, upon which ORC has, relied in entering into multi-million dollar contracts including construction of a processing plant in Coos Bay Oregon... The substantial evidence in the administrative record supports NMFS's determination that the Cr6 levels were not harmful to the OC Coho and that site conditions were likely to prevent harmful Cr6 levels from developing. The agencies' actions are thus entitled to deference as they are reasonable, consistent with the scientific evidence and therefore neither arbitrary nor capricious.

FWS announces non-essential experimental whooping crane population in Louisiana,

02/07/2011

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76 Fed.Reg. 6066 / Vol. 76, No. 23 / Thursday, February 3, 2011 / Rules and Regulations
DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR Fish and Wildlife Service
50 CFR Part 17 / Docket No. FWS–R4–ES–2010–0057; 92220–1113–0000–C3 / RIN 1018–AX23
Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Establishment of a Nonessential Experimental Population of Endangered Whooping Cranes in Southwestern Louisiana
AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.
ACTION: Final rule.
SUMMARY: We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), will reintroduce whooping cranes (Grus americana) into historic habitat in southwestern Louisiana with the intent to establish a nonmigratory flock. We are designating this reintroduced population as a nonessential experimental population (NEP) under section 10(j) of the Endangered Species Act of 1973 (ESA), as amended. The geographic boundary of the NEP includes the entire State of Louisiana. The objectives of the reintroduction are: to advance recovery of the endangered whooping crane; to implement a primary recovery action; to further assess the suitability  of Louisiana as whooping crane habitat; and to evaluate the merit of releasing captive-reared whooping cranes, conditioned for wild release, as a technique for establishing a self-sustaining, nonmigratory population. The only natural wild population of whooping cranes remains vulnerable to extirpation through a natural catastrophe or contaminant spill, due primarily to its limited wintering distribution along the Texas gulf coast. If successful, this action will result in the establishment of an additional self-sustaining population, and contribute toward the recovery of the species. No conflicts are envisioned between the whooping crane’s reintroduction and any existing or anticipated Federal, State, Tribal, local government, or private actions such as agriculture-aquaculture-livestock practices, oil/gas exploration and extraction, pesticide application, water management, construction, recreation, trapping, or hunting. DATES: This rule is effective February 3, 2011.

WhoopingCraneICF.jpg
The whooping crane once occurred from the Arctic Sea to the high plateau of central Mexico, and from Utah east to New Jersey, South Carolina, and Florida. By 1941, the migratory population contained only 16 individuals. The whooping crane population decline between these two estimates was a consequence of hunting and specimen collection, human disturbance, and conversion of the primary nesting habitat to hay, pastureland, and grain production. Photo from International Crane Foundation, Baraboo, Wisconsin. www.savingcranes.org

WHAT IS AN NON-ESSENTIAL EXPERIMENTAL POPULATION? EXCERPT: NEPs provide additional flexibility because Federal agencies are not required to consult with us under section 7(a)(2). Section 7(a)(4) requires Federal agencies to confer (rather than consult) with the Service on actions that are likely to jeopardize the continued existence of a species proposed to be listed. The results of a conference are in the form of conservation recommendations that are optional as the agencies carry out, fund, or authorize activities. However, since an NEP is not essential to the continued existence of the species, it is very unlikely that we would ever determine jeopardy for a project impacting a species within an NEP. Regulations for NEPs may be developed to be more compatible with routine human activities in the reintroduction area.

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Keith Who?

Keith W. Rizzardi, a Florida lawyer, is board certified in State & Federal Administrative Practice. A law professor at St. Thomas University near Miami and Special Counsel at Jones Foster Johnston & Stubbs in West Palm Beach, he previously represented the U.S. Department of Justice and the South Florida Water Management District. A two-time Chair of The Florida Bar Government Lawyer Section, he currently serves as Chair of the Marine Fisheries Advisory Committee

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The experience & skills discussed in links below were not reviewed or approved by The Florida Bar. The facts and circumstances of every case are different; each one must be independently evaluated by a lawyer and handled on its own merits. Cases and testimonials may not be representative of all clients’ experience with a lawyer. By clicking the links below, you acknowledge the disclaimer above.

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16 U.S.C. §1531 et. seq.

"The Congress finds and declares that -

(1) various species of fish, wildlife, and plants in the United States have been rendered extinct as a consequence of economic growth and development untempered by adequate concern and conservation;

(2) other species of fish, wildlife, and plants have been so depleted in numbers that they are in danger of or threatened with extinction;

(3) these species of fish, wildlife, and plants are of aesthetic, ecological, educational, historical, recreational, and scientific value to the Nation and its people."

16 U.S.C. §1531(a)

The purpose of the Endangered Species Act is "to provide a means whereby the ecosystems upon which endangered species and threatened species depend may be conserved."

16 U.S.C. §1531(b)

Reasons for the ESA

1. ECOLOGICAL: Species have a role in the web of life. Who knows which missing link causes the collapse?

2. ECONOMICAL: Species have actual, inherent, and potential value -- some as food, others as tourist attractions. As Congress said, these species have "aesthetic, ecological, educational, historical, recreational, and scientific value to the Nation." 16 U.S.C. §1531(a).

3. MEDICAL: Although perhaps a subset of economics, medical reasons for the ESA deserve special note, because today's listed species could be tomorrow's cure for cancer.

4. MORAL: With each extinction, we take something from others. We must prevent "the tragedy of the commons."

5. THEOLOGICAL: Even the Bible instructed Noah to save God's creatures, male and female, two by two.

Reasons for ESA Reform

1. ECOSYSTEM (MIS)MANAGEMENT. The ESA encourages selective review of individual species needs, even though nature pits species needs against one another. Furthermore, the ESA's single-species focus detracts from efforts to achieve environmental restoration and ecosystem management.

2. SCIENTIFIC UNCERTAINTY: While the ESA requires consideration of the "best available science," sometimes the best is not enough, forcing decisions under great uncertainty. The ESA, however, is generally proscriptive, regulatory, and absolute; as a result, it insufficiently allows for adaptive management.

3. LITIGATION: ESA implementation is at the mercy of the attorneys. Cases involving one listed species can serve as a proxy for hidden agendas, especially land use disputes, and regardless of actual species needs, litigation and judicial orders set agency priorities. In the end, realistic solutions disappear amidst court-filings, fundraising, and rhetoric.

4. PRIVATE LANDS: Up to 80% of ESA-listed species habitat is on privately owned lands. While the ESA can place reasonable restrictions on private property rights, there are limits. But the best alternatives have limits too, such as Federal land acquisition and the highly controversial "God Squad" exemptions.

5. FUNDING: Protecting species is expensive, but resources appropriated by Congress are limited. An overburdened handful of federal agency biologists cannot keep pace with the ESA's procedural burdens, nor court-ordered deadlines (see #3 above). Provisions requiring agencies to pay attorney's fees to victorious litigators -- who challenge the hastily written documents prepared by overworked bureaucrats -- simply exacerbate the problem.

"Every species is part of an ecosystem, an expert specialist of its kind, tested relentlessly as it spreads its influence through the food web. To remove it is to entrain changes in other species, raising the populations of some, reducing or even extinguishing others, risking a downward spiral of the larger assemblage." An insect with no apparent commercial value may be the favorite meal of a spider whose venom will soon emerge as a powerful and profitable anesthetic agent. That spider may in turn be the dietary staple of a brightly colored bird that people, who are notoriously biased against creepy crawlers and in favor of winsome winged wonders, will travel to see as tourists. Faced with the prospect that the loss of any one species could trigger the decline of an entire ecosystem, destroying a trove of natural and commercial treasures, it was rational for Congress to choose to protect them all. -- Alabama-Tombigbee Rivers Coalition v. Kempthorne, 477 F.3d 1250, 1274-75 (11th Cir.2007), cert. denied, 128 S.Ct. 8775 (2008), quoting Edward O. Wilson, The Diversity of Life 308 (1992).

"This case presents a critical conflict between dual legislative purposes, providing water service for agricultural, domestic, and industrial use, versus enhancing environmental protection for fish species whose habitat is maintained in rivers, estuaries, canals, and other waterways that comprise the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta… This case involves both harm to threatened species and to humans and their environment. Congress has not nor does TVA v. Hill elevate species protection over the health and safety of humans... No party has suggested that humans and their environment are less deserving of protection than the species. Until Defendant Agencies have complied with the law, some injunctive relief pending NEPA compliance may be appropriate, so long as it will not further jeopardize the species or their habitat." -- The Consolidated Delta Smelt Cases, 2010 WL 2195960 (E.D.Cal., May 27, 2010)(Judge Wanger)(addressing the need for further consideration of the human consequences of ESA compliance).

Notable quotables

"A nation, as a society, forms a moral person, and every member of it is personally responsible for his society." – Thomas Jefferson (1792)

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"The destruction of the wild pigeon and the Carolina parakeet has meant a loss as sad as if the Catskills or Palisades were taken away. When I hear of the destruction of a species, I feel as if all the works of some great writer had perished."

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"Conservation means development as much as it does protection. I recognize the right and duty of this generation to develop and use the natural resources of our land; but I do not recognize the right to waste them, or to rob, by wasteful means, the generations that come after us." – Theodore Roosevelt (Aug. 31, 1910)

Noah's orders

GENESIS, Chapter 6: [v 20] "Of the birds according to their kinds, and of the animals according to their kinds, of every creeping thing of the ground according to its kind, two of every sort shall come in to you, to keep them alive. [v 21] Also take with you every sort of food that is eaten, and store it up; and it shall serve as food for you and for them."

GENESIS, Chapter 9: [v12] "And God said, This is the token of the covenant which I make between me and you and every living creature that is with you, for perpetual generations"

"The power of God is present at all places, even in the tiniest leaf … God is currently and personally present in the wilderness, in the garden, and in the field." – MARTIN LUTHER