Description: Challenge to determination that listing of coastal marten as endangered or threatened was not warranted.
Center for Biological Diversity v. U.S Fish & Wildlife Service
Filing Date Type File Action Taken Summary 03/28/2017 Order Download Summary judgment granted in large part to plaintiffs. California Federal Court Directed Fish and Wildlife Service to Reconsider Whether Coastal Marten Should Be Listed Under Endangered Species Act. The federal district court for the Northern District of California remanded a 12-month finding that the coastal marten was not warranted for listing under the Endangered Species Act. The coastal marten is a small mammal in the weasel family of which three populations remain, one in California and two in Oregon. The court said that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) had failed to recognize that the evidence showed that the California coastal marten population was small and declining. The court also found that best available evidence did not support the FWS’s conclusion that the three populations of the coastal marten were not functionally isolated. The court said that the FWS needed to redo its analysis of whether the coastal marten was endangered or threatened throughout a significant portion of its range because its “erroneous” conclusion about the California population’s size might have influenced this analysis. The court noted that the plaintiffs had argued that “stressors,” including habitat loss caused by climate change, were concentrated in the California portion of the marten’s range. 10/17/2016 Motion for Summary Judgment Download Motion and cross-motion for summary judgment and memorandum of law filed by defendant-intervenors. 10/16/2016 Motion for Summary Judgment Download Cross motion for summary judgment and opposition to plaintiffs' motion for summary judgment filed by federal defendants. Fish and Wildlife Service Said It Reasonably Determined That Climate Change Did Not Threaten Pacific Marten’s Existence. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service defended its decision not to list the coastal marten as endangered or threatened. The coastal marten is a small mammal in the weasel family that lives in coastal northern California and coastal southern and central Oregon. In a cross motion for summary judgment, FWS said it had reasonably determined that historic threats to the coastal marten’s habitat had been abated and that current stressors, including climate change, were not expected to have significant impacts. The FWS said that climate change’s potential impacts on the coastal marten’s habitat “ranged from negative to neutral to potentially beneficial” and that it had determined that “there was not reliable information to conclude that climate change would cause the coastal marten to be in danger of extinction now or in the foreseeable future.” 12/17/2015 Complaint Download Complaint filed. Environmental Groups Contested Decision Not to List Coastal Marten as Endangered or Threatened. The Center for Biological Diversity and the Environmental Protection Information Center filed a lawsuit in the federal district court for the Northern District of California challenging the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service’s (FWS’s) determination that listing the coastal marten as endangered or threatened under the Endangered Species Act was not warranted. The plaintiffs contended that the “not warranted” finding was “inexplicable,” arbitrary, capricious, and contrary to the best scientific and commercial data available. They cited a report prepared by FWS biologists that allegedly documented substantial threats to coastal martens in Oregon and northern California, including climate change.