Gino DiCaro

Endangered species activity

By Gino DiCaro, VP, Communications

Capitol Update, Oct. 10, 2008 Share this on FacebookTweet thisEmail this to a friend

The Third District Court of Appeal recently upheld the decision of a lower court finding that the California Fish and Game Commission erred in not accepting a petition to list the California tiger salamander under the California Endangered Species Act (CESA).  The petitioner, the Center for Biological Diversity, believes that additional protection is required for this species.

Beyond the issue of whether or not the tiger salamander should be a candidate under CESA, the Court of Appeals decision is very troubling on a number of levels and has broad ramifications for the administration of CESA.  First, the decision undermines CESA by disregarding the level of information required to be part of the petition as outlined in the California Fish and Game Code.  It is widely acknowledged that the tiger salamander’s population fluctuations have been poorly monitored.  

It also undercuts the statutory elements for candidacy by acknowledging that several required findings were missing in the petition, but dismissing these facts as subordinate to the overall consequences. Finally, the normal course of action in the challenge of an executive branch action is to ask that the matter be furthered reviewed in accordance with the decision.

It remains to be seen whether or not Fish and Game challenges the decision.

On another front, the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) has proposed designating critical habitat for the southern populations of green sturgeon.  In California, the areas to be covered would include the near-shore coastal area from Monterey Bay to the Oregon border embodying such cities as San Francisco, San Pablo, Suisun and Humboldt Bays.  In addition, it would include the following inland waterways:  325 miles of freshwater river spawning habitat in the Sacramento, lower Feather, and lower Yuba Rivers and estuaries and bay habitat in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta.  

The NMFS has requested comments on the proposed designation be submitted by November 7.  

View proposed rules and request for comments

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