The California Legislature was the first in the country to protect rare plants and animals through passage of the California Endangered Species Act (CESA) in 1970, Congress followed suit in 1973 by passing the federal Endangered Species Act (ESA).
The federal ESA aims to, “protect and recover imperiled species and the ecosystems upon which they depend.”
The state ESA states that, “all native species of fishes, amphibians, reptiles, birds, mammals, invertebrates, and plants, and their habitats, threatened with extinction and those experiencing a significant decline which, if not halted, would lead to a threatened or endangered designation, will be protected or preserved.”
Imperiled species are defined as follows: “Endangered” if it is in danger of extinction throughout all or a significant portion of its range and “threatened” if it is likely to become an endangered species within the foreseeable future.”
The Trump administration moved forward Thursday with plans to ease restrictions on oil and natural gas drilling and other activities across millions of acres in the American West that were put in place to protect an imperiled bird species. Land management documents released by the U.S. Interior Department show the administration intends to open more public lands to leasing and allow waivers for drilling to encroach into the habitat of greater sage grouse.
A trio of tiny salamanders could stand in the way of a massive $1.4 billion project to raise the height of Shasta Dam. An environmental organization has filed a lawsuit against the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, asking a judge to force the federal agency to make a determination on whether three salamander species living around Lake Shasta should be protected under the Endangered Species Act.
The gray wolf has been in danger in recent weeks of losing the federal protection that for decades has kept it from being hunted. But the congressional ardor to end the protection — and make it easier to trap or shoot the wolves — is fading fast.
California’s most senior Democrat and most powerful Republican in Washington are teaming up to extend a federal law designed to deliver more Northern California water south, despite the objections of some of the state’s environmentalists. While controversial, the language in their proposal could help settle the contentious negotiations currently underway in Sacramento on Delta water flows — the lifeblood of California agriculture as well as endangered salmon and smelt.
The Trump administration has listed fewer species as threatened or endangered in its first 22 months than any other president since Ronald Reagan over the same period, according to data reviewed by Bloomberg Environment.
The Supreme Court unanimously ruled on Tuesday that an appeals court must take a fresh look at whether the Fish and Wildlife Service had gone too far in its attempt to protect an endangered species, the dusky gopher frog. The species is in danger of extinction, and the only known remaining frogs live in the De Soto National Forest in Mississippi.
The Supreme Court in a unanimous decision on Tuesday limited the reach of the Endangered Species Act, ruling that the government can designate a protected “habitat” only in areas where a threatened animal now lives.
The Klamath Tribes on Thursday announced they have withdrawn a lawsuit regarding lake levels in Upper Klamath Lake against the Bureau of Reclamation. The lawsuit was awaiting a court date in Portland, after being moved from a federal court in San Francisco court in July by U.S. District Judge William Orrick.
Scientists have developed a new tool that could help conservation agencies make a tough decision: How to prioritize the growing number of endangered species. Faced with limited funding, conservation managers face the conundrum of how to allocate inadequate resources to recover as many species as possible. That’s why a team of scientists and researchers from Arizona State University, along with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, developed the data tool, called Recovery Explorer.
Federal authorities violated a federal law aimed at preserving endangered species by planning to shrink the territory of the only red wolves living in the wild, a federal judge ruled in blocking a move that environmentalists said would hasten the animal’s demise.
In the process of removing the San Clemente Dam in 2015, workers created a pristine route for the Carmel River, complete with step pools and nicely arranged boulders. Winter floods have since transformed the river route into anything but pristine, but the “messy” course has been good for the native steelhead.
Environmentalists are celebrating a temporary victory after more than 1 million acres of federal land was pulled from an upcoming oil and gas auction in greater sage grouse habitat in Nevada and elsewhere.
Alvin Thoma’s youngest son was born the year his employer, Pacific Gas & Electric Co., began the process of renewing the license for its Upper North Fork Feather River hydropower facility in northern California. His son is 19 years old now. The facility, however, is still undergoing relicensing. … And federal help isn’t coming quickly.
The parade of trailer trucks rolling through Jay Butler’s dusty ranch is a precursor to a new fracking boom on the vast federal lands of Wyoming and across the West. … Like the acreage offered for lease, the acreage actually leased by energy companies on federal lands hit its highest level last year since 2012, the height of the initial fracking boom in the United States.
An Indian Springs man has been sentenced to one year and one day in prison for breaking into a National Park Service site in Nye County and disturbing the only home for one of the world’s rarest types of fish. Trenton Sargent, 28, also was sentenced to three years of supervised release, according to an announcement Thursday by the park service and the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
A coalition of environmental groups has sued to stop the Trump administration from speeding construction of the first phase of southern border wall construction by waiving dozens of landmark environmental laws meant to protect air and water quality, public lands and wildlife.
A Wyoming property rights attorney who’s long criticized what she calls federal overreach over public land management will take a position as one of the U.S. Department of Interior’s top litigators. The DOI confirmed in an email Monday that Karen Budd-Falen will join the agency as deputy solicitor for parks and wildlife.
The Hoopa Valley Tribe is suing federal agencies for allegedly failing to reduce the numbers of endangered Coho salmon killed by fisheries in the Pacific Ocean, the tribe announced Wednesday. “Hoopa is making every effort to recover Coho salmon with this lawsuit,” said Vivienna Orcutt, a Hoopa tribal council member.
Williamson Rock is a sheer granite wall that rises from chaparral in the San Gabriel Mountains National Monument. Crisscrossed with 300 routes, it has been a proving ground for Southern California rock climbers since the 1960s. But in a move that outraged many in the climbing community, the area was shut down in 2005 to protect an isolated colony of federally endangered Southern California mountain yellow-legged frogs from being trampled.
Another rare Colorado River fish has been pulled back from the brink of extinction, the second comeback this year for a species unique to the Southwestern U.S. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service plans to announce Thursday that it will recommend reclassifying the ancient and odd-looking razorback sucker from endangered to threatened, meaning it is still at risk of extinction, but the danger is no longer immediate.
A rare bird found only in Colorado and Utah will stay on the endangered species list, at least for now, a U.S. district judge said Friday. The judge upheld a 2014 decision by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to protect the Gunnison sage grouse as a threatened species and to designate more than 2,200 square miles (5,800 square kilometers) of land as critical habitat.
The Supreme Court will open its new term Monday with a hapless frog from Mississippi. The dusky gopher frog is at the center of a high-stakes case that could shape endangered species protections for years to come.
Galvanized by court rulings protecting grizzly bears and gray wolves, Congressional Republicans on Wednesday pushed sweeping changes to the Endangered Species Act despite strong objections from Democrats and wildlife advocates who called the effort a “wildlife extinction package.” Republicans began with a morning vote in the House Natural Resource Committee to strip protections from gray wolves across the contiguous U.S.
A ruling Monday determined the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service must reconsider the denial of Endangered Species Act protection for Pacific fishers. Environmental groups are calling the ruling by a judge in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California a win.
A top Trump administration official on Monday defended a plan to revamp the Endangered Species Act, saying the proposed changes would result in more effective, quicker decisions on species protection. Deputy Interior Secretary David Bernhardt dismissed criticism by environmental groups that the plan would “gut” crucial protections for threatened animals and plants.
Water means life for all the Grand Canyon’s inhabitants, including the many varieties of insects that are a foundation of the ecosystem’s food web. But hydropower operations upstream on the Colorado River at Glen Canyon Dam, in Northern Arizona near the Utah border, disrupt the natural pace of insect reproduction as the river rises and falls, sometimes dramatically. Eggs deposited at the river’s edge are often left high and dry and their loss directly affects available food for endangered fish such as the humpback chub.
An hour’s drive north of Sacramento sits a picture-perfect valley hugging the eastern foothills of Northern California’s Coast Range, with golden hills framing grasslands mostly used for cattle grazing.
Back in the late 1800s, pioneer John Sites built his ranch there and a small township, now gone, bore his name. Today, the community of a handful of families and ranchers still maintains a proud heritage.
The marbled murrelet is a small seabird whose diminutive size belies a fierce imperative to survive. It soars over the waters of the northern Pacific Ocean, but will fly as far as 50 miles inland to nest in the old growth forests of Washington, Oregon and California. Below, the western pond turtle, with its low and broad carapace, paddles in the placid waters of lakes, rivers and streams.
The California Fish and Game Commission voted unanimously to list the Humboldt marten as an endangered species under the California Endangered Species Act on Thursday during its monthly meeting which was held in Fortuna over the past two days. “This means it is now protected under the California Endangered Species Act and cannot be taken (killed) except under special conditions,” said Jordan Traverso, a spokesman for the California Department of Fish and Wildlife.
Farmers in the Central Valley are broiling about California’s plan to increase flows in the Sacramento and San Joaquin river systems to help struggling salmon runs avoid extinction. But in one corner of the fertile breadbasket, River Garden Farms is taking part in some extraordinary efforts to provide the embattled fish with refuge from predators and enough food to eat.
And while there is no direct benefit to one farm’s voluntary actions, the belief is what’s good for the fish is good for the farmers.
The California Fish and Game Commission is set to decide at its meeting in Fortuna Thursday whether to list two local species as endangered species: the weasel-like Humboldt marten and the high-altitude flower, the Lassics lupine. Commission staff are recommending both species be listed.
Twenty-three million dollars will be swept from the “Basin Fund” which supports Grand Canyon research and ensures Glen Canyon Dam operates in compliance with federal laws like the Endangered Species Act. Hydropower revenues have funded this work for more than two decades.
President Trump’s tweets have become federal wildfire policy. … Some experts and advocates said the directive to temporarily bypass the Endangered Species Act is political theater. It’s unlikely to help douse the historic fires in California, and it probably won’t threaten vulnerable species, either. But it could lend weight to Trump’s version of events.
The Trump Administration appears to be bringing President Trump’s recent tweets about California’s wildfires and environmental laws to life. U.S. Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross has directed fisheries officials to “facilitate” access to water in order to aid in firefighting efforts in California.
Judge William H. Orrick has denied the motion for preliminary injunction to protect endangered Lost River and shortnose sucker, and granted a motion to transfer the case to an Oregon court, according to the opinion Orrick released Wednesday. … The case involves the Klamath Tribes lawsuit filed against the Bureau of Reclamation, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and National Marine Fisheries Service.
The Fish and Wildlife Service today [July 27] killed an Obama administration environmental mitigation policy that aimed to improve or, at a minimum, maintain the status of affected natural resources when considering permits and projects. The much-anticipated rollback of the “net conservation gain” goal also includes restoring an overall mitigation policy from the Reagan administration.
Protecting winter-run chinook salmon that pass under the Golden Gate Bridge from November through May could be a key in the survival of killer whales that appear off Point Reyes, according to a new report. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Fisheries has developed a priority list of West Coast chinook salmon stocks that are important to the recovery of federally endangered “southern resident” killer whales.
The Trump administration is seeking to alter key provisions of the Endangered Species Act, a 45-year-old federal law that has shaped growth in Sonoma County during repeated battles between builders attempting to develop land and environmentalists seeking to protect rare plants and animals.
When the Endangered Species Act passed in the Senate 45 years ago this month, not one member voted against it. As University of California at Berkeley law professor Holly Doremus has chronicled, the bill’s 1973 passage “went almost unnoticed by the national press” and was seen as a unanimous win for conservation.
The Endangered Species Act, which for 45 years has safeguarded fragile wildlife while blocking ranching, logging and oil drilling on protected habitats, is coming under attack from lawmakers, the White House and industry on a scale not seen in decades, driven partly by fears that the Republicans will lose ground in November’s midterm elections.
The Department of the Interior announced Thursday controversial plans to roll back core provisions of the Endangered Species Act, a move aimed at reducing the burdens of such safeguards on landowners, industry and governments.
The Pentagon is objecting to a Republican proposal in a defense policy bill that would bar the Fish and Wildlife Service from using the Endangered Species Act to protect two chicken-like birds in the western half of the U.S.
The Klamath Tribes of Oregon are alleging in a lawsuit filed last week that federal agencies are failing to protect endangered sucker fish in Upper Klamath Lake. The lawsuit has many similarities to a lawsuit filed by local tribes and environmental groups in 2016 alleging the same but for threatened Klamath River Coho salmon, which ended with a judge ruling in their favor.
We traveled deep into California’s water hub and traverse the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, a 720,000-acre network of islands and canals that supports the state’s water system and is California’s most crucial water and ecological resource. The tour made its way to San Francisco Bay, and included a ferry ride.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service acted illegally in 2015 when it denied Endangered Species Act protection for a distinct population of bi-state sage grouse in California and Nevada, a federal judge ruled Tuesday. U.S. District Chief Magistrate Judge Joseph Spero in San Francisco said in an 85-page opinion that the agency ignored its own best scientific evidence when it reversed course three years ago on its 2013 proposal to declare the bird threatened.
Senior Democratic lawmakers are launching a peremptory strike against a potential Fish and Wildlife Service change in how threatened species are protected. The revisions to what insiders know as the “blanket 4(d) rule” are still in draft form and might never formally surface. The very idea, though, spooks some on Capitol Hill, and that, in turn, opens another front in the perpetual Endangered Species Act dust-up (E&E News PM, April 4).
Interior officials said the six draft resource management plan amendments — including one that covers both Nevada and a portion of northeastern California — would give states more flexibility to administer conservation efforts to protect the threatened bird without hindering economic development.
The Trump administration wants to ease restrictions on oil and gas leasing and other activities across a huge swath of the American West that were put in place to protect an imperiled bird. The move involves conservation plans for greater sage grouse approved in 2015 under former President Barack Obama.
A pair of lawsuits filed Monday target the Trump administration’s sale of oil and gas leases on huge swaths of Western public lands that contain crucial habitat for an imperiled bird. … Many of the parcels in dispute are home to greater sage grouse, a chicken-sized, ground-dwelling bird that ranges across portions of 11 Western states.
A decision by California’s largest water supplier on April 10 ended months of uncertainty over its role in the funding of California Water Fix, the state’s plan to build new water conveyance infrastructure in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta. … Financing is not the only issue that needs to be addressed. There is still a long list of regulatory and legal hurdles the project needs to clear.
A controversial plan to log miles of Gualala River floodplain, including nearly century-old redwood trees just outside Gualala Point Regional Park, is back on track, setting the stage for a showdown in court or perhaps among the trees themselves.
Interior Department official Susan Combs’ history with the black-capped vireo is about to thicken. As a Texas state official, Combs once cited the bird as an example of how negotiated agreements rather than “additional regulations” can best protect vulnerable species.
Animal rights advocates announced a lawsuit against the federal government on Wednesday in a bid to make a Montana mustang population the first group of wild horses to be protected under the Endangered Species Act. A prior attempt to secure protections for wild horses across the western U.S. as imperiled wildlife failed.
Susan Combs, a former Texas state official who compared proposed endangered species listings to “incoming Scud missiles” and continued to fight the Endangered Species Act after she left government, now has a role in overseeing federal wildlife policy.
Under the rules of the Endangered Species Act, once a species is discovered to be at risk of extinction, government agencies are required by law to take steps to save it. For years, critics have challenged that mandate, arguing that it undercuts the ability to weigh a species’ value or to consider the economic impact of its preservation — for instance, the cost of prohibiting logging in a valuable tract of forest.
After reviewing the Karuk Tribe’s November petition to recognize the spring-run salmon as a separate species from its fall-run counterparts and to list them as an endangered species, the National Marine Fisheries Service this week found the tribe’s request “may be warranted.” The federal agency will now begin a 12-month review before making a final decision on the tribe’s requests.
They are enduring symbols of the vast Mojave Desert, but Joshua trees don’t grow everywhere. Even here in the Grapevine Mesa Joshua Tree Forest, a National Natural Landmark since 1967, you can see where the trees thin out and stop as the land rises sharply to the east.
Does California need to revamp the way in which water is dedicated to the environment to better protect fish and the ecosystem at large? In the hypersensitive world of California water, where differences over who gets what can result in epic legislative and legal battles, the idea sparks a combination of fear, uncertainty and promise.
Saying that the way California manages water for the environment “isn’t working for anyone,” the Public Policy Institute of California (PPIC) shook things up late last year by proposing a redesigned regulatory system featuring what they described as water ecosystem plans and water budgets with allocations set aside for the environment.
In an unexpected announcement with potentially dramatic consequences for the California desert, the Trump administration said Thursday it will reconsider an Obama-era conservation plan that blocks energy development across millions of acres stretching from the Mexican border to the Owens Valley and encourages solar and wind farms in more limited areas.
Federal officials have agreed to cede authority over projects that would destroy vernal pools to San Diego officials. In exchange, the city has agreed to protect many vernal pools and abide by a clear set of rules endorsed by federal officials.
Since the Endangered Species Act became law in 1973, the U.S. government has played a critical role in protecting endangered and threatened species. But while the law is overwhelmingly popular with the American public, critics in Congress are proposing to significantly reduce federal authority to manage endangered species and delegate much of this role to state governments.
The Interior Department is working on possible Endangered Species Act changes, in a move that alarms environmentalists but could gratify Westerners and others unhappy with the current law. While the details and timing remain under wraps, Interior officials made public their general intentions as part of the Trump administration’s Unified Agenda issued Thursday.
The House Resources Committee has approved five different bills its members say will modernize the Endangered Species Act, passed in 1973. Critics accurately say the bills would gut the law, which hasn’t had a major rewrite since the 1980s. The law is a powerful statement in defense of creation that requires the federal government to protect all species, a message that goes all the way back to Noah’s Ark.
The congressman who said he “would love to invalidate” the Endangered Species Act is closing in on his goal. Rep. Rob Bishop (R-Utah) recently shepherded five bills out of the Natural Resources Committee he chairs that would dismantle the law piece by piece.
A prehistoric fish that looks like it dropped straight out of the dinosaur age has found its way back to the San Joaquin River watershed. Biologists have confirmed the presence of a green sturgeon — a threatened species under the federal Endangered Species Act — in the Stanislaus River near Knights Ferry.
In Southern California, the mountain yellow-legged frog, of which there were about 400 living in remote, drying streams in the San Gabriel, San Bernardino and San Jacinto mountains, could face a hard winter after fires destroyed their habitat.
When Bay Area steelhead were listed as threatened under the federal Endangered Species Act in 1997, [Jeff] Miller suddenly had a lot of help realizing his dream of restoring migratory fish in the Bay Area. … Since then, local, state and federal agencies and organizations have collaborated on restoring steelhead in Alameda Creek.
The Interior Department said Thursday it is withdrawing protections for 10 million acres of federal lands used by the threatened sage grouse to open it up for energy development. … The proposal would affect less than one-tenth of 1 percent of sage grouse-occupied range across 11 states from California to the Dakotas, officials said.
The Interior Department intends this week to publish a formal notice of intent to amend 98 sage grouse habitat management plans across 10 states, according to multiple agency and state officials who have been briefed on the effort. Those plans, completed in 2015, were adopted after a decade of negotiations among conservationists, sportsmen and extraction industries as well as federal, state, local and tribal authorities.
Tommy Williams rips through an Alka Seltzer packet, dropping the antacids into a bucket of water teeming with juvenile steelhead trout. He has several minutes to work before the anesthetizing effect wears off and the fish wake up.
Western monarch butterflies, which crowd trees along the California coast every winter and flush them with color, have declined so dramatically since the 1980s that the species will likely go extinct in the next few decades if nothing is done, scientists said Thursday in a population study of the treasured creatures.
A plan to enhance steelhead trout rearing and holding habitat in the Carmel River Lagoon by placing tons of organic materials in the waterway is on schedule to come to fruition on Sept. 20 after nine years of preparation.
Endangered California frogs are getting an immunity boost from scientists who are scooping them up from remote Sierra Nevada ponds and sending them to big city zoos for inoculation, giving them a fighting chance to beat extinction, officials said Wednesday.
Shy of 3 inches with skin in muddy shades of red, green or brown, the foothill yellow-legged frog is unremarkable at first glance. Flipping it over, however, reveals the signature gold shading of its legs and lower abdomen that leads some to exclaim its beauty.
A study published Wednesday by researchers at UC Davis may have major conservation implications for salmon in California and the Pacific Northwest. The study provides new evidence that “springers” and other salmon that migrate upstream from the ocean to spawn early in the year are genetically different than later migrating populations.
One little bird is raising big hopes for the re-wilding of a special species. A fuzzy gray condor chick — the first-ever “second generation” wild-born condor in a long and hard recovery plan for the endangered birds — has been discovered in a redwood tree in Big Sur.
The Interior Department has unveiled a plan to protect the threatened sage grouse that gives Western states greater flexibility to allow mining, logging and other economic development where it now is prohibited.
The California Farm Bureau and two ranchers’ associations sued the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service on Monday, challenging a year-old decision to designate more than 1.8 million acres of rural California as “critical habitat” for three species of frogs and toads that are protected by the Endangered Species Act.
On its face, S.O. [Secretarial Order] 3353 sounds innocuous enough: It establishes a team within the U.S. Department of the Interior to review the state-federal conservation strategy that led the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) to determine that the greater sage-grouse did not need the protection of the Endangered Species Act of 1973 (ESA).
The Endangered Species Act will come in for a spanking and a possible face-lift Wednesday as the House Natural Resources Committee holds a hearing on five ESA-related bills. Authored by four Republicans and one rural Democrat, the individual measures pick away at several pieces of the 1973 law that’s outlasted many previous congressional forays.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the National Marine Fisheries Service concluded that the construction of new diversion points on the Sacramento River and two massive water tunnels would not jeopardize the existence of endangered species in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, which is the hub of California’s waterworks.
For the first time in more than four decades, the Yellowstone grizzly bear is set to lose its federal protections under the Endangered Species Act. Citing a rebound in the bear’s population, the U.S. Department of Interior announced its intention Thursday to end these protections and return oversight of the animal’s status to the state level.
The Trump administration on Monday threw out a new rule intended to limit the number of endangered whales and sea turtles caught in fishing nets off the West Coast, saying existing protections were already working.
The Trump administration announced Monday that it has canceled proposed limits on the number of endangered whales, dolphins and sea turtles that can be killed or injured by sword-fishing nets on the West Coast.
The population of black abalone, which live in the inter-tidal waters off California and Mexico, has been decimated by more than 80 percent in the past three decades as a result of Withering Syndrome and habitat destruction. … Meanwhile, the Fuscus sea cucumber is protected under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species.
The Obama administration’s plan to save the greater sage grouse was widely heralded as a landmark moment in collaborative conservation when, nearly two years ago, former Interior Secretary Sally Jewell announced the effort to protect the rare Western bird.
A Western snowy plover chick that hatched on an Oregon beach this spring is the first of its species to emerge successfully in that area in more than 50 years and provides hope that a management plan for the federally threatened species is working, wildlife officials said Wednesday.
California’s ambitious plan to tunnel under the West’s largest estuary has always had two primary goals: to restore imperiled native fish and to improve water deliveries to farms and cities. An early analysis by federal wildlife agencies, however, indicates the project might make life worse for fish.
California Democrats are moving a bill through the Legislature that would require the state to have environmental laws that are equal to or tougher than regulations in the federal endangered species, clean air, and clean water acts. Those laws were signed by then-President Richard Nixon in the 1970s, ushering in a new era of environmental protections.
On Tuesday, a federal judge overturned a decision by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in April 2014 that denied the Humboldt marten a listing as an endangered species. A lawsuit filed by both the Environmental Protection Information Center and the Center for Biological Diversity spurred the decision.
Worried about having to relinquish too much reservoir water and saddle Bay Area customers with restrictions on their taps, San Francisco officials plan to unveil a counterproposal Friday that they say restores river habitat and helps fish while maintaining water for cities and farms. … The plan already has sparked an unusual alliance between San Francisco and the Central Valley agricultural communities along the Tuolumne.
The “raven no-fly zones” will be part of the largest effort ever to relocate tortoises — an initiative the Marine Corps is attempting in exchange for congressional approval to expand the Air Ground Combat Center at Twentynine Palms by about 165 square miles in prime tortoise habitat.
Fearing a federal rollback of longstanding protections for air quality, clean water, endangered species and workers’ rights, California Democrats are pursuing legislation that would cement those environmental and labor regulations in state law.
Last May, Donald Trump stood in an arena full of farmers from California’s desiccated Central Valley and said words many yearned to hear: “If I win, believe me, we’re going to start opening up the water.”
A federal appeals court Thursday revived a sweeping lawsuit accusing the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency of endangering scores of protected species by approving toxic pesticides without required consultation with wildlife officials.
The federal government asked an appeals court Wednesday to overturn an order that bars the release of endangered wolves in New Mexico without the state’s permission, a skirmish in a broader battle over states’ rights and the Endangered Species Act.
The House on Thursday overwhelmingly approved the biggest federal reset of California water use in a generation, setting the stage for easier dam-building, more recycling and potentially happier Central Valley farmers.
Two federal agencies are the target of a second lawsuit alleging they violated the Endangered Species Act by allowing up to 90 percent of juvenile Klamath River coho salmon to become infected by an intestinal parasite in 2014 and 2015.
A controversial California water bill that’s sparked years of fighting has been added to a fast-moving measure, boosting the chance the water measures will pass Congress but sharply dividing the state’s U.S. senators.
House Republican leaders and California’s senior senator announced Monday a new attempt to pass legislation that would increase water deliveries to San Joaquin Valley agribusiness and Southern California.
Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., and House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Bakersfield, teamed up Monday to slip a legislative rider into a giant end-of-year water infrastructure bill that would override endangered species protections for native California fish for the purpose of sending water to San Joaquin Valley farmers.
As vital as the Colorado River is to the United States and Mexico, so is the ongoing process by which the two countries develop unique agreements to better manage the river and balance future competing needs.
The prospect is challenging. The river is over allocated as urban areas and farmers seek to stretch every drop of their respective supplies. Since a historic treaty between the two countries was signed in 1944, the United States and Mexico have periodically added a series of arrangements to the treaty called minutes that aim to strengthen the binational ties while addressing important water supply, water quality and environmental concerns.
In the 1950s, California wildlife authorities used to fly over remote lakes and creeks in Yosemite National Park and deliver precious cargo: hatchery-raised trout. The policy was great for fishing enthusiasts.
In a ruling that has ramifications for land-use and water policy across the United States and California, a federal appeals court ruled Monday that scientists can draw on long-range climate projections to determine whether a species should be listed as threatened.
Several environmental groups returned to their natural habitat in the courthouse on Wednesday in hopes of securing Endangered Species Act protections for the Pacific fisher, a mink-like creature found partly in California’s southern Sierra Nevada mountains.
It’s going to be a stressful time for about 1,500 desert tortoises, a species listed as threatened with extinction. They will be scooped up from their long-established home ranges in the Mojave Desert northwest of Landers and flown by helicopter miles away from live ammunition military training exercises.
A native California frog once on the brink of extinction is making an encouraging comeback in Yosemite National Park, raising hopes for amphibians like it worldwide that are dying off at an alarming rate, researchers said Monday.
Salmon are struggling to survive all along the West Coast, where runs that historically numbered in the millions of fish have dwindled into the thousands or even dozens. Environmental laws that have been put in place to see that these fish remain healthy and plentiful are not working in many places.
Critics of a permanent plan to curtail summertime flows in the Russian River blasted Sonoma County supervisors Tuesday, with many saying the long-anticipated shift in water management would devastate lower river communities and economies dependent on recreation and tourism.
Federal officials on Tuesday rejected greater protections for four species including the rabbit-like American pika, which researchers warn is disappearing from areas of the Western U.S. as climate change alters its mountain habitat.
Diving into the Devils Hole, National Park Service biologists have to focus on finding one of the rarest fish in the world, not every detail of the cave’s surroundings. … Devils Hole is a 500-foot deep cavern in Death Valley National Park known for its hot, oxygen-poor water that provides the only home for Devils Hole pupfish.
Federal land managers issued guidelines Thursday for restricting energy development, livestock grazing and other activities on public land in the West to protect the greater sage grouse, part of a broad effort to save the bird without resorting to listing it as an endangered species.
Less than 50 miles northeast of Chico, California, begins the 93-mile Butte Creek – a tributary of the Sacramento River. It is named after Butte County, which was in turn named for the nearby volcanic plateaus, or “buttes,” and travels through a massive canyon on its way southwest to the Sacramento Valley.
As a watershed, it drains about 800 square miles, both for agricultural and residential use. The upper watershed is dominated by forests, while the lower watershed is primarily agricultural.
Offering a ray of hope in the struggle to save a tiny fish enmeshed in California’s water disputes, state officials say they have found a way to move around river water to produce more food for hungry or starving Delta smelt.
The U.S. government agreed Tuesday to decide over the next several years if federal protections are needed to help a small, fanged predator of the Northern Rockies, massive alligator snapping turtles in the South and seven other troubled species that in some cases have awaited action for years.
Federal wildlife authorities on Tuesday said that a review of genetic tests has led them to conclude that the coastal California gnatcatcher is a valid subspecies and therefore worthy of protections that have barred development on tens of thousands of acres of prime Southern California real estate for two decades.
The Fish and Wildlife Service has stuck to its guns and is designating 1.8 million acres of mostly public California land as habitat critical for the preservation of the Yosemite toad and two frog species peculiar to the Sierra Nevada mountains.
Two types of yellow-legged frogs, and a kind of toad found in Yosemite National Park, won extra protection Thursday when federal authorities declared nearly 3,000 square miles in California’s Sierra Nevada mountains as critical habitat for the endangered animals.
Scientists from two federal agencies are about to overhaul the rules governing the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, potentially increasing protections for endangered fish populations and limiting the amount of water pumped to Southern California and the San Joaquin Valley.
A group of commercial fishermen won a potentially significant court ruling in the seemingly endless battle over California’s water supply and the volumes of water pumped south through the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta.
Two federal agencies could face a third legal challenge over alleged Endangered Species Act violations on the Klamath River after a group of environmental and fishing organizations filed a notice of intent to sue this week.
The Los Angeles County Flood Control District needs permission from a state environmental agency to destroy an endangered bird and its habitat in order to remove 2.4 million cubic yards of sediment from behind Devil’s Gate Dam.
Yosemite National Park, Sequoia National Park and Lake Tahoe National Forest will see the return of two rare species. The San Francisco Zoo is helping reintroduce the California red-legged frog and Western pond turtle, both native species.
A type of frog made famous by Mark Twain will soon be hopping and swimming through California’s Yosemite National Park after a decades-long absence, officials said Wednesday. … This is the latest effort to restore native animals to Yosemite.
Unless the Santa Ana sucker is returned to a healthy population, water agencies planning for the needs of more than 600,000 people between Yucaipa and Rialto will not be able to rapidly move ahead with needed water recapture projects and wastewater recycling plants like the proposed $128 million Sterling Natural Resource Center in Highland, which officials say will create 1,400 jobs.
U.S. Senate candidate Kamala Harris said Tuesday that she would not support efforts to weaken the federal law governing endangered species, breaking with fellow Democrat and rival Loretta Sanchez, who has said she would be open to amendments to help address the state’s protracted drought.
Democratic U.S. Rep. Loretta Sanchez, campaigning for U.S. Senate, said Tuesday that she would consider amending the federal law governing endangered species to help improve the water supply across the parched state of California.
Wild fish, including the endangered Delta smelt and Sacramento winter-run salmon, have been hurt by a series of 20 state water board decisions over three years to relax Delta water flow and quality standards, according to the lawsuit by the National Resources Defense Council, the Bay Institute and Defenders of Wildlife.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service dropped its consideration to give the West Coast fisher — a small, weasel-like mammal predator whose population has nearly disappeared across the West Coast for decades — federal protections under the Endangered Species Act.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s decision to scrap a proposal to list a population of sage grouse found along the Nevada-California border as threatened was arbitrary and made despite findings that some populations of the bird may be wiped out, according to a lawsuit by environmental groups.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service followed the law when it designated more than 187,000 square miles – an area larger than California – as critical habitat for threatened polar bears in Alaska marine waters and its northern coast, an appeals court ruled Monday.
Environmental groups sued Thursday to force the Obama administration to impose more restrictions on oil and gas drilling, grazing and other activities blamed for the decline of greater sage grouse across the American West.
A years-long battle over habitat protections for the Santa Ana sucker fish came to an end Monday when the U.S. Supreme Court declined to review a case brought by a dozen Inland water agencies. The water districts have been fighting the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s designation of 9,331 acres along the Santa Ana River in Riverside and San Bernardino counties, and a few waterways in Los Angeles County, as critical habitat for the fish.
Two environmental groups sued the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service on Wednesday for not listing the Humboldt marten as a federally endangered species in April, according to an Environmental Protection Information Center (EPIC) news release.
Situated on nearly 12,000 acres along the Santa Clara River, the planned community would house 58,000 people and offer stores, golf courses, schools and recreational centers. … But the plans hit a major roadblock Monday when the California Supreme Court rejected the environmental report …
The last hurdle in relicensing the Oroville Dam facilities may be only a few more months away, according to the National Marine Fisheries Service. The agency has been working on a biological opinion to determine how the dam and facilities downstream could impact endangered and threatened fish and other issues.
Our major environmental laws are a generation or more out of date — written for conditions of the past, not the present. … The Clean Water Act, passed in 1972, has not been updated since 1987. The Endangered Species Act, passed in 1973, was last amended in 1982.
What’s holding up the relicensing of Oroville Dam facilities? Fish. Specifically, an opinion on how three threatened species might be affected, according to local Department of Water Resources officials.
Eight California species, including two in the San Bernardino Mountains, have taken a step closer to being protected as either threatened or endangered species, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has announced.
Quick quiz: What do Joshua trees and polar bears have in common? The answer: They’re both threatened by climate change. And at least one environmental group thinks both should receive federal protection as rising temperatures make their habitats increasingly uninhabitable.
The Obama administration announced on Tuesday that the greater sage grouse, a flamboyant bird that roams across 11 Western states, does not warrant a listing as an endangered species, an action that could have damaged oil and natural gas interests and the economies of many local communities.
In the latest round in a 15-year legal battle to keep the California spotted owl safe from U.S. Forest Service logging policies, federal wildlife authorities have agreed to reconsider an earlier decision to deny the timid raptor protection under the Endangered Species Act.
After more than a century of urbanization, drilling for oil and gas, mining, farming, ranching, drought, disease and wildfire, the greater sage grouse has declined so dramatically — from millions of birds decades ago to as few as 200,000 now — that the federal government will soon decide whether to protect it under the Endangered Species Act.
Federal wildlife officials on Thursday, Sept. 17, announced they have rejected a petition from the Riverside County Farm Bureau that demanded the Stephens’ kangaroo rat no longer be listed as an endangered species.
Interior Secretary Sally Jewell says she’s hopeful that her agency will decide the sage grouse does not warrant listing as an endangered species, a decision with major implications for Idaho and other Western states.
Two endangered species have returned to a nearly lifeless former salt pond in the southern San Francisco Bay, the first proof that the ambitious 30-year South Bay Salt Pond Restoration Project is helping nature heal.
A recent study by Pew Charitable Trusts found that greater sage grouse numbers decreased by 56 percent from 2007 to 2013. Because of that decline, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has been tasked with determining whether the greater sage grouse needs protections under the Endangered Species Act by the end of the month, a deadline that’s led to hand-wringing across the West.
Fish concerns will force Tulloch Lake to drop sooner than water agencies had announced in a milestone spring accord, while construction work meant to ensure that 7,000 people won’t run out of water for drinking and fire protection has not yet begun.