Tag Archives: Endangered Species Act

Sea lions moving into smaller streams – “They’re working on wild fish,”

In the past month or two, a few California (one Steller) sea lions have moved into the lower stretches of the Sandy River and as many as half-dozen (some say more) are devouring winter steelhead in the Clackamas River, as far up as Eagle Creek. Washington officials report sea lions prowling the lower Cowlitz, Lewis and Washougal rivers. And these aren’t just any winter steelhead tickling their palates. By this time of year, the earlier-arriving hatchery-origin steelhead run is largely finished, Todd Alsbury, department district fish biologist, told a group of sportfishing leaders in Clackamas. “They’re working on wild fish,” Alsbury said. “It could make Ballard Locks pale in comparison.” Remember Ballard Locks in Seattle? Apparently few, if any, real lessons were learned from the decimation of Lake Washington’s meager (2,000-3,000 fish) wild steelhead runs by Herschel and a handful of sea lions in the 1990s. Click here to read the article 14:12

Feds Facing Order to Redirect Klamath River Water for Salmon

Two Native American tribes sued the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation last year, claiming its bungled management of Klamath River waterways allowed a deadly parasite to infect 91 percent of endangered juvenile Coho and Chinook salmon.  The Yurok and Hoopa Valley Tribes say they depend on the salmon for subsistence, income and for traditional ceremonies that define their people. Lawyers for the federal government and an industry group of farmers and ranchers argue that diverting water to help salmon will harm businesses that support local jobs and communities and threaten another set of endangered fish, the shortnose sucker and Lost River sucker. In separate complaints against the federal government, the tribes say infection rates caused by the deadly parasite C. shasta, should have required the bureau to review its Klamath Irrigation Project’s impact on threatened salmon two years ago, but the bureau failed to take action in violation of the Endangered Species Act.During a hearing Friday, U.S. District Judge William Orrick III agreed the bureau should have reviewed the project when infection rates climbed to 81 percent in 2014 and 91 percent in 2015, well beyond the maximum 49 percent estimated in a 2013 biological opinion issued by co-defendant National Marine Fisheries Service. Read the story here 16:47

These California and Oregon farmers lost water in 2001. Now they want to be paid.

Northern California and Oregon farmers who lost irrigation water in 2001 for the sake of fish are plunging into a climactic courtroom battle for tens of millions of dollars in compensation. Years in the making, the trial set to start Monday in the U.S. Court of Federal Claims near the White House involves a lot of money, but that’s not all. For other Westerners, too, it can have broader implications, clarifying what the government may owe for water steered away from crops toward environmental protection. “It’s a civil rights case, at bottom,” farmers’ attorney Nancie Marzulla said in an interview. “It involves the protection of private property. We all expect the government to respect private property rights.” The same court ruled in 2001, for instance, that the federal government had taken water without paying compensation to California’s Tulare Lake Basin Water Storage District and others that had been deprived of water for the sake of the delta smelt and the winter-run chinook salmon. The judge later concluded the water districts were owed $13.9 million plus interest, and the case is still cited. Read the rest of the story here 15:10

Environmental group dislikes new rule for listing, delisting or reclassification under the Endangered Species Act

angry enviroThe U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Fisheries finalized a rule Monday that changes the process by which species are petitioned for listing, delisting or reclassification under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). Under the rule, first proposed in May 2015, petitioners will be required to notify each state wildlife agency where a species is located at least 30 days before submitting a petition to the federal government. The delay will gives states an opportunity to provide agencies with pertinent information on the species. The new rule also restricts the number of species that can be petitioned for at one time. Under the rule, only one species is allowed per petition. The Center for Biological Diversity was quick to slam the rule, calling it an “impediment” to using the Endangered Species Act. “These new restrictions on citizen petitions are nothing more than a gift to industries and right-wing states that are hostile to endangered species,” Brett Hartl, the group’s director of endangered species policy, said in a statement. Read the story here 10:34

NOAA: Successful conservation efforts pay off for humpback whales

na_img_hump_introEndangered humpback whales in nine of 14 newly identified distinct population segments have recovered enough that they don’t warrant listing under the Endangered Species Act, NOAA Fisheries said today. International conservation efforts to protect and conserve whales over the past 40 years proved successful for most populations. Four of the distinct population segments are still protected as endangered, and one is now listed as threatened. “Today’s news is a true ecological success story,” said Eileen Sobeck, assistant NOAA administrator for fisheries. “Whales, including the humpback, serve an important role in our marine environment. Separately managing humpback whale populations that are largely independent of each other allows us to tailor conservation approaches for each population.” Read the rest here Read the press release here with links 09:15

Another Crackpot ENGO, Another ESA Lawsuit against the NMFS

chiahead11Defenders of fish with funny names — including the blackchin guitar fish, the violin fish and porbeagle shark — sued the federal government Wednesday, demanding the fish be listed as threatened or endangered. WildEarth Guardians says the Secretary of Commerce, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the National Marine Fisheries Service missed their 12-month deadline to rule under the Endangered Species Act. All five species — including the Caribbean electric ray and Hector’s dolphin — are “at significant risk of extinction,” the Montana-based conservation group says. Listing could protect the species from recreational and commercial fishing and development. The Endangered Species Act requires the defendant agencies to issue findings within 90-day and 12-month timeframes in most cases. But the National Marine Fisheries Service has “regularly ignored these statutory procedures and have consistently missed statutory listing deadlines,” WildEarth Guardians says. Read the rest here 14:10

NMFS Shoots Down Defenders of Wildlife petition to list Smooth Hammerhead Shark under Endangered Species Act

smooth hammerheadWe, NMFS, announce a 12-month finding on a petition to list the smooth hammerhead shark (Sphyrna zygaena) as threatened or endangered under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). We have completed a comprehensive status review of the smooth hammerhead shark in response to this petition. Based on the best scientific and commercial information available, including the status review report (Miller 2016), we have determined that the species does not warrant listing at this time. We conclude that the smooth hammerhead shark is not currently in danger of extinction throughout all or a significant portion of its range and is not likely to become so within the foreseeable future. Read the rest here 11:28

Video shows man attacking Hawaiian monk seal, culture expert mentions commercial fishermen?

One of Kauai’s most popular Hawaiian monk seals was attacked on Tuesday night at Salt Pond Beach Park, and a video recording of the scuffle is circulating on social media. The footage shows an unidentified man enter the water at Salt Pond at sunset and attack RK30, a full-grown female monk seal, in what appears to be an attempt to chase the her from her resting place on the beach. Kumu Sabra Kauka, who teaches Hawaiian culture through education around the island, said she was disturbed when she saw the video. “That kind of behavior is uncalled for and is inexcusable,” she said. “Being high or drunk is no excuse. She said sometimes this kind of aggression toward the Hawaiian Monk Seals stems from the commercial fishing community and the mindset that the seals are stealing the fish from their nets. Read the article here Watch the video here 13:03

Green Sea turtles put under new protections by Obama administration

The National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) announced Tuesday they are updating the status of green sea turtles. Green sea turtles will be divided into 11 distinct populations, the agencies said. Turtles in three of those regions will be listed as endangered species, while those in the other eight regions will be listed as threatened species . The agencies first began protecting sea turtles in 1978, but are now revising their status. As part of the changes, two distinct populations that had been considered endangered — the Florida and Mexican Pacific Coast breeding populations — will now be listed as threatened. Read the rest here, Read the Final Rule here  15:07

Environmentalists Wield Powerful Endangered Species Act to Kill Jobs

Think fish when you read this. From the article: The Center for Biological Diversity (CBD) is a radical environmental legal action group that’s known for frequently suing to block commercial, industrial, and personal activities in an effort to “save the environment,” regardless of who gets hurt. One of the group’s leaders and co-founders, Kieran Suckling, was a well-known activist in the 1980s and has been linked to vandalism and sabotage group Earth First! From its inception, CBD has sought ways to permanently stop natural resource use, and with the help of environmental attorneys, CBD has successfully weaponized the Endangered Species Act (ESA) against ranchers, loggers, miners, (fishermen) and human activity in general. Read the rest here 13:51

Work under way on Endangered Species Act hatchery plans

The National Marine Fisheries Service says it has completed work on plans for 26 Columbia River hatcheries and is actively working on Endangered Species Act review of 32 more, including 16 on lower Columbia tributaries in Washington. The numbers from the federal fishery agency were provided in response to a 60-day notice of intent to sue announced Jan. 13 by the Wild Fish Conservancy, which claims the government is funding Columbia River hatcheries prior to meeting mandated review of plans under the Endangered Species Act. Read the rest here 11:09

Willapa Bay plan cuts Chinook production by one-third

The production of hatchery Chinook in Willapa Bay will decrease by more than one-third as a result of a policy adopted recently by the Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission. The policy, adopted in June, also is likely to decrease the number of fish commercial fishermen can catch if the commission’s action survives a legal challenge. Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife officials have said that they needed to adopt the new policy to avoid having the Chinook listed under the federal Endangered Species Act. Read the rest here 10:14

WPFMC question proposed rule on green sea turtles, address allocation of US tuna catches

The council’s Scientific and Statistical Committee and Protected Species Advisory Committee noted a lack of transparency in the criteria used to make the status determinations, questionable interpretation of existing research and gaps in information considered. The Scientific and Statistical Committee, for example, said the proposal to continue to list the Hawai’i green turtle as threatened is contrary to analysis that showed zero chance of decline in the population in the foreseeable future. Read the rest here 20:15

Here we go again. Animal Welfare Groups Seek Protection for Thorny Skate

The Animal Welfare Institute (AWI) and Defenders of Wildlife have asked the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) to list the Northwest Atlantic population of the thorny skate as threatened or endangered under the Endangered Species Act. “This species is in serious trouble in the Northwest Atlantic, and if we don’t move to protect it now, we may never see it in this range again,” said senior staff attorney Jane Davenport at Defenders of Wildlife. Shut up. Read the rest here  20:48

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, NOAA Propose Actions to Build on Successes of Endangered Species Act

nmfs_logoBuilding on the success of the Obama Administration in implementing the Endangered Species Act (ESA) in new and innovative ways, today the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and National Marine Fisheries Service (the Services) announced an additional suite of actions the Administration will take to improve the effectiveness of the Act and demonstrate its flexibility.  The actions will engage the states, promote the use of the best available science and transparency in the scientific process,,, Theres plenty more NOAA Rah Rah to read here 14:39

NMFS proposes reclassifying the humpback whale into 14 distinct population segments

humpback whale rangeNOAA Fisheries  NMFS proposed today to reclassify the humpback whale into 14 distinct population segments under the Endangered Species Act, providing a more tailored conservation approach for U.S. fisheries managers. Protection and restoration efforts over the past 40 years have led to an increase in numbers and growth rates for humpback whales in many areas. The humpback whale is currently listed as endangered throughout its range. The proposed rule finds that ten of those 14 populations (see below) do not warrant ESA listing. Read it here 14:41

NEFSC Conducting Protected Species Program Review April 13-16 in Woods Hole, MA

NOAA ScientistScience programs at NOAA’s Northeast Fisheries Science Center that support protected species conservation and management in the Northeast will be peer reviewed at the Center’s facility in Woods Hole, MA April 13-16, 2015. The species involved include whales, small cetaceans, seals, and sea turtles, as well as fish populations that fall under provisions of the federal Endangered Species Act. Click here for more information on the meeting, including logistics and meeting materials. Read the notice here 13:46

NMFS Accepts Two Petitions to List Porbeagle Sharks under the Endangered Species Act

nmfs_logoToday, we announce that we have made a positive 90-day finding on two petitions (Wild Earth Guardians, and Humane Society US) submitted to us to consider listing porbeagle sharks (Lamna nasus) under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). This action is being taken in response to a recent court order concerning the negative 90-day finding we published in 2010, and in response to new information we have on porbeagle sharks. Read the rest here 10:06

Rising tide of America’s sustainable seafood by Ray Hilborn

This year marks 40 years since the passage of landmark Congressional legislation that fundamentally overhauled how the $90 billion U.S. commercial fisheries industry is managed. It established a unique public-private partnership in which the industry, working with scientists and both federal and local authorities, would regulate fishing according to agreed-upon scientific standards for environmental sustainability, even as the industry stretched to meet skyrocketing demand for seafood. Read the rest here 17:19

Oil lobby sues feds over threatened Alaska ringed seals

The lawsuit also targets the National Marine Fisheries Service’s plan to label a 350,000-square-mile expanse of Alaska waters as critical habitat for the seals. Arctic ringed seals were designated by NOAA in late 2012 as a threatened species under the Endangered Species Act — a status one step short of being endangered. Read the rest here 08:45

House committee blasts Endangered Species Act peer review process

A United States House of Representatives committee issued a scathing report Monday on the United States Department of Fish and Wildlife’s Endangered Species Act listing process, alleging numerous issues with peer review and transparency protocols. “Under the microscope: An examination of the questionable science and lack of independent peer review in Endangered Species Act listing decisions”. Read the rest here 18:01

NMFS Caves to the Enviro Quackeroos on Right Whale federally designated “critical habitat” under the Endangered Species Act

earthjustice $upereco-manIn 2009, a coalition of environmental and animal protection groups formally petitioned the National Marine Fisheries Service to significantly expand habitat protections to include all of the whales’ nursery and breeding and feeding grounds.,, protected area more than tenfold, from roughly 4,000 square miles to more than 50,000 square miles.,vulnerable to threats that include commercial fishing gear, ship strikes.  Read the rest here 12:20

Feds Flex Muscle: Oregon charter captain sentenced for harvesting protected salmon

clip_image002_001A Warrenton, Oregon, charter boat captain pleaded guilty and was sentenced last month for harvesting federally protected wild coho salmon on charter trips with sport fishing clients. The year-long investigation by federal and state officers also led to state fish and wildlife charges against the captain of the Hawk II. Read the rest here  09:43

Oregon charter captain sentenced for harvesting protected salmon

A Warrenton, Ore., charter boat captain pleaded guilty and was sentenced earlier this month for harvesting federally protected wild coho salmon on charter trips with sport fishing clients. Read the rest here 14:31

Water Politics: Pelosi’s home city exempted from water restrictions imposed on rural farmers

The Endangered Species Act has wreaked havoc for decades on rural communities, but a newly filed lawsuit could force San Francisco urbanites like House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi to share their pain. A federal complaint filed this week contends that the Hetch Hetchy Project, which supplies water to San Francisco and the Bay Area, has unfairly enjoyed an exemption from the “severe cutbacks” required in rural California in order to save endangered fish species. Read more here 07:13

North Carolina Commercial fishing groups file complaint regarding Endangered Species Act

Litigation was filed today alleging that several agencies and their representatives have failed to abide by the Endangered Species Act, (ESA),  in the. Plaintiffs are the North Carolina Fisheries Association, Inc,; and the Carteret County Fisherman’s Association, Inc., both non profit trade associations of commercial fishermen, seafood dealers and processors. <Read the Press Release here> 16:43

How Endangered Species Act litigation means big money for environmental groups

Easy ButtonFor most people, an hourly wage of $125 would be an awfully good deal, especially in this economy. But President Obama and environmental groups are warning that it is not nearly enough for one group: lawyers engaged in Endangered Species Act litigation. They would prefer that these attorneys continue to get the $300 to $450 an hour they are typically paid now. <Read more here> 12:28

Feds say no to fish-kill preventive water releases from Trinity Lake used to cool the Klamath and Trinity rivers

Federal officials today told local tribes and North Coast officials that extra water releases from Trinity Lake used to cool the Klamath and Trinity rivers for fish may only occur in an emergency — when enough fish begin to sicken. Public Affairs Officer Mat Maucieri of the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation said that due to the ongoing statewide drought,,,Read more here 07:41

Who Let the Fish Out: Fish Hatcheries in the Pacific Northwest – vigilante fisherman? or some eco crazed fanatic?!!

Early in the morning of May 13th, 2014, an unknown fish vigilante stole into the Tokul Creek Fish Hatchery in the suburbs of Seattle and cut the padlocks on the juvenile steelhead trout pens, opening the passage between the hatchery and the river.  Read more here 10:20

House passes bill to amend Endangered Species Act

The House passed legislation Tuesday that would modify the Endangered Species Act. Republicans said that making the data publicly available would result in a more transparent process. (We want transparency!) But Democrats said the changes would only slow down the process of designating whether species are endangered. (We don’t want transparency!) “These bills will instead increase the amount of red tape,” said Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-Ore.). (Think National Ocean Policy) Read more here 09:50