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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.


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.


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.

« NOAA declines to list Texas pipefish | Main| U.S. District Court in Idaho upholds Endangered Species Act analysis of Forest Service's roadless rule »

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

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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, 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.

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.