PLF holds wildlife agency accountable


Author: Reed Hopper

In 2005, Pacific Legal Foundation sued the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for failing to conduct mandatory 5-year status reviews for approximately 100 California species listed as "threatened" or "endangered" under the Endangered Species Act. The purpose of these reviews is to determine if a species’ status has changed. As a result of the suit, the Service agreed to conduct the 5-year reviews on a mutually agreed schedule. In 2008, the agency completed reviews for 58 listed species and recommended the following status changes.

Tidewater goby (Eucyclogobius)(a fish)—Down list from "endangered" to "threatened."

Eureka Valley dunegrass (Swallenia)(a plant)—Delist.

Eureka Valley evening primrose (Oenothera avita)(a plant)—Delist.

San Clemente Island broom (Lotus dendroideus)(a plant)—Down list from "endangered" to "threatened."

San Clamente Island bushmallow (Malacothamnus)(a plant)—Down list from "endangered" to "threatened."

San Clemente Island paintbrush (Castilleja grisea)(a plant)—Down list from "endangered" to "threatened."

Nevertheless, the Service has taken no action to act on these recommendations. Today, PLF filed a formal petition with the Service to make these changes. The Service is required to issue a determination within 90 days as to whether a petition is warranted, then it has 12 months to issue a final decision. If the agency fails to act within these time frames, we will be back in court.