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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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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.

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More rough waters ahead: NOAA may list chinook salmon and announces critical habitat for Cook Inlet beluga whale

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76 Fed. Reg. 20302 (Tuesday, April 12, 2011) / Proposed Rules
DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE  National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
50 CFR Parts 223 and 224
Listing Endangered and Threatened Species; 90-Day Finding on a Petition To List Chinook Salmon
AGENCY: National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Commerce.
ACTION: Notice of 90-day petition finding; request for information.
SUMMARY: We, NMFS, announce a 90- day finding for a petition to list the Chinook salmon (Oncorhynchus tshawytscha) in the Upper Klamath and Trinity Rivers Basin as threatened or endangered and designate critical habitat under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). We find that the petition presents substantial scientific information indicating the petitioned actions may be warranted. We will conduct a status review of the Chinook salmon in the Upper Klamath and Trinity Rivers Basin to determine if the petitioned actions are warranted. To ensure that the review is comprehensive, we solicit information pertaining to this species and its habitat from all interested parties. DATES: Information related to this petition finding must be received by June 13, 2011.

Photo of huge chinook salmon after spawning on Battle Creek in fall 2008 by the California DFG, available online from  According to the Center for Biological Diversity and other petitioners seeking to list the species, spring-run and fall-run Chinook salmon populations in the Upper Klamath and Trinity Rivers Basin are experiencing significant decline, and additionally are increasingly dominated by hatchery fall-run Chinook salmon.  According to the petition, a history of dams, mining, water diversions, habitat degradation, disease, and fisheries, among other factors, have played a key role in the decline of the populations.

KEITHINKING: This one may be a big deal.  Management of western watersheds is already complex enough; we may soon add yet another factor.  See  Make it controversial, too, because some chinook populations are increasing, others are decreasing, and hatcheries are having significant effects on the genetic composition of the populations.  See and The Oakland Tribune.  And, just for good measure, add some irony... another species is at least a partial cause of the salmon decline, because sea lions are eating thousands of fish immediately downstream of the Bonneville Dam. See High Country News.


76 Fed. Reg. 20180 (Monday, April 11, 2011) / Rules and Regulations
DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE / National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
50 CFR Part 226
Endangered and Threatened Species: Designation of Critical Habitat for Cook Inlet Beluga Whale
AGENCY: National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Commerce.
ACTION: Final rule.
SUMMARY: We, the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), designate critical habitat for the Cook Inlet beluga whale (Delphinapterus leucas) distinct population segment (DPS) under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). Two areas are designated, comprising 7,800 square kilometers (3,013 square miles) of marine habitat. In developing this final rule we considered public and peer review comments, as well as economic impacts and impacts to national security. We have decided in the final rule to exclude the Port of Anchorage (POA) in consideration of national security interest. Additionally, consistent with the proposed rule, portions of military lands were determined to be ineligible for designation as critical habitat. We solicited comments from the public on all aspects of the proposed rule, and conducted four public hearings on the action. Along with the proposed rule, we published a draft economic impacts analysis, entitled ‘‘Draft RIR/4(b)(2) Preparatory Assessment/IFRA for the Critical Habitat Designation of Cook Inlet Beluga Whale.’’ This economic analysis has been completed to support the final designation. See ‘‘Final RIR/ 4(b)(2) Preparatory Assessment/FRFA for the Critical Habitat Designation of Cook Inlet Beluga Whale’’ for a discussion of these topics.
DATES: This rule will become effective on May 11, 2011.

KEITHINKING: This one will be controversial, too.  Alaska Governor Sean Parnell responded to the NOAA decision saying that “Today’s announcement is another example of the federal government unnecessarily locking up Alaska land from development." See  But, as usual, opinions are divided. See The Homer News and The Kenai Peninsula.