Description: Lawsuit to compel the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to propose a rule to revise the Florida manatee’s critical habitat.
Center for Biological Diversity v. U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service
Filing Date Type File Action Taken Summary 06/01/2022 Settlement Agreement Download Parties entered into a stipulated settlement agreement. Fish and Wildlife Service to Propose Revision to Manatee Critical Habitat by September 2024. Three conservation groups and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) reached an agreement under which the FWS will submit a proposal for revision of critical habitat for the Florida manatee for publication in the Federal Register by September 12, 2024. The conservation groups filed their lawsuit to compel revision of critical habitat in February 2022, alleging that the manatee faces “dire and imminent threats” that are compounded by climate change. 02/01/2022 Complaint Download Complaint filed. Lawsuit Sought to Compel Revision of Critical Habitat for Florida Manatees. Three conservation groups filed a lawsuit asking the federal district court for the District of Columbia to order the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to propose a rule to revise the Florida manatee’s critical habitat. The plaintiffs claimed that the FWS’s ongoing failure to respond to their 2008 petition requesting revision of critical habitat (to respond to changes in the meaning of critical habitat over the previous three decades) constituted action unlawfully withheld or unreasonably delayed in violation of the Administrative Procedure Act and that a 2010 finding that revision of critical habitat was warranted but precluded violated the Endangered Species Act. The plaintiffs alleged that Florida manatees and their habitat continued to face “dire and imminent threats, including the loss of warm-water refuges and poor water quality that causes persistent harmful algal blooms and a profound loss of seagrass, a crucial food source, leading to mass starvation.” The plaintiffs alleged these threats were compounded by boat strikes and climate disruption. The complaint’s allegations also included that climate change is expected to cause an increase in the number and severity of cold-water events that that lead to death for manatees.