Jan 302015
 

Blackside dace

Opinion

A federal judge in Tennessee ruled Jan. 28 that the Zeb Mountain mining lawsuit against the Fish and Wildlife Service and Office of Surface Mining, Reclamation and Enforcement can move forward, even though mining at the site has ceased and the permit has expired (Defenders of Wildlife v. Jewell, 13-698-PLR-CCS, E.D. Tenn.).

U.S. District Judge Pamela Reeves dismissed four claims (see below) alleging broad violations of the ESA related to the effects of SMCRA implementation in Tennessee. But she allowed four claims related to the effects of the mining on the blackside dace and Cumberland darter to proceed.

The Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act does not pre-empt the Endangered Species Act, Reeves said.

"[T]he plaintiffs have not asserted a claim under any provision of SMCRA. The plaintiffs brought this lawsuit under the Endangered Species Act’s citizen-suit provision and the Administrative Procedure Act. The defendants have presented no controlling authority to support their assertion that SMCRA’s judicial review provisions are exclusive and preempt or implicitly repeal the Endangered Species Act and Administrative Procedure Act’s judicial review provisions."

The first two counts of the complaint "challenge the mining permit issued for Zeb Mountain and further seek to compel consultation on that permit," Reeves noted. "According to the defendants, these claims are moot. National Coal, LLC, the permittee at Zeb Mountain, ceased mining under the permit in October 2012. The permit has since expired, and a consent decree has been entered in a separate case requiring the mine operator at Zeb Mountain to cease mining and thereafter refrain from surface mining in Tennessee altogether. Sierra Club v. National Coal, LLC, Case Nos.: 3:11-CV-515, 3:11-CV-516, and 3:11-CV-527. Accordingly, no permittee has a right to extract coal at Zeb Mountain. Finally, the defendants note, 'the mine has been mostly reclaimed and water quality is expected to improve going forward.' (R. 82, Page ID 592)."

But the plaintiff enviromental groups argued (see brief below), "OSM retains discretionary authority over this mine until reclamation is complete and the final bond has been released, neither of which has yet occurred. Moreover, there is ample evidence that streams receiving mining wastewater from Zeb Mountain continue to be adversely affected by high conductivity levels. This condition is likely to continue even though strip mining at Zeb Mountain has ended for now17 and reclamation is purportedly underway."

After a brief analysis in the opinion's penultimate paragraph, Reeves said the first four claims could move ahead.

"The defendants contend that a judgment in favor of the plaintiffs, vacating the Zeb Mountain permit and ordering the OSM to consult with the Fish and Wildlife Service would serve little purpose given that the mining at issue has permanently ceased. Naturally, the plaintiffs disagree. They note that the OSM retains jurisdiction over the Zeb Mountain mine until reclamation is complete, revegetation has been established for five years, and the final bond has been released. 30 U.S.C. §§ 1258, 1259(b) & 1265(b)(20)(A); 53 Fed Reg. 44,356 (Nov. 2, 1988). Until the final bond release, the OSM retains the duty and power to inspect operations at Zeb Mountain, and the OSM may require reasonable revisions to the permit, including the reclamation plan, or issue an enforcement order at any time. 30 C.F.R. §§ 842.11(b)(1) & (c)(2), 774.10(b), 774.11(b), and 774.13. Accordingly, upon consultation with the Fish and Wildlife Service, the OSM could impose measures revising the reclamation plan to reduce post-mining, high-conductivity wastewater discharges. The relief sought could, therefore, make a difference in the legal interests of the parties. Counts I and II are not moot."

More from the opinion:

In dismissing Counts V through VIII:

"Counts V through VIII do not assert actual, site-specific activities that are diminishing or threatening to diminish the plaintiffs’ members’ enjoyment of a particular area. Instead, they are broad, facial, policy-based challenges to the defendants’ general reliance on the 1996 Biological Opinion and ITS, the Dace Guidelines, and the absence of Cumberland darter Guidelines throughout the state of Tennessee."

On the legal authorities of SMCRA and the ESA:

"[W]hile SMCRA may channel and control the OSM’s authority to grant a mining license and provide an avenue for administrative review of such a decision, the Endangered Species Act independently obligates agencies to complete site-specific and species-specific consultations with the Fish and Wildlife Service before issuing mining permits."

From the amended complaint, filed July 31, 2013:

"Defendants have unlawfully ignored mounting evidence that high conductivity wastewater from surface coal mines harms two rare ESA-protected fish species, the threatened blackside dace and the endangered Cumberland darter. Two Tennessee coal mines permitted by Defendant U.S. Office of Surface Mining, Reclamation, and Enforcement discharge or will discharge wastewater to creeks occupied by one or both of these species. Defendants have failed to fulfill their obligations under Section 7 of the ESA, 16 U.S.C. § 1536(a)(2), and its implementing regulations, 50 C.F.R. §§ 402.12 –.16, to consult on the effects of issuing permits for surface coal mines to ensure that the discharge of wastewater pursuant to these permits neither jeopardizes the continued existence of these listed species nor destroys or adversely modifies critical habitat."

Claims (from amended complaint)

Count 1

OSM has failed to initiate and complete consultation with the Service regarding the effects of its permitting the Zeb Mountain mine on blackside dace, Cumberland darter, and the Cumberland darter’s designated critical habitat. See 16 U.S.C. § 1536(a)(2); 50 C.F.R. § 402.14.

OSM’s continued reliance on the 1996 Biological Opinion and ITS, which contains no site-specific analysis of the Zeb Mountain mine, no species-specific analysis of the impacts of surface coal mining on blackside dace or Cumberland darter and its designated critical habitat, and no incidental take statement specific to the Zeb Mountain mine’s impacts on the blackside dace or Cumberland darter, is arbitrary and capricious, an abuse of discretion, and not in accordance with law.

OSM has failed to insure that the SMCRA permit for the Zeb Mountain mine is not likely to jeopardize blackside dace and Cumberland darter or result in destruction or adverse modification of the Cumberland darter’s critical habitat. See 16 U.S.C. § 1536(a)(2).

Therefore, Defendants Jewell, Pizarchik, and OSM are in violation of section 7(a)(2) of the ESA, 16 U.S.C. § 1536(a)(2), its implementing regulations, 50 C.F.R. Part 402, and the APA, 5 U.S.C. § 706, in connection with SMCRA 3154 permit for the Zeb Mountain surface coal mine. This Court has jurisdiction to adjudicate these claims and grant Plaintiffs’ requested relief to remedy the harms Plaintiffs have suffered and will continue to suffer from Defendants’ legal violations.

Count 2

OSM has unlawfully failed to reinitiate and complete consultation under the 1996 Biological Opinion and/or under any alleged informal consultation with respect to the SMCRA permit for the Zeb Mountain mine to address population declines and extirpations exceeding the “amount or extent” of the authorized take for blackside dace and Cumberland darter; new information indicating adverse effects for these species caused by conductivity above 240 μS/cm; the listing of the Cumberland darter in 2011; and designation of critical habitat for the Cumberland darter in 2012, in violation of 50 C.F.R. § 402.16.

FWS has unlawfully failed to request that OSM reinitiate and complete consultation under the 1996 Biological Opinion and/or under any alleged informal consultation for the SMCRA permit for the Zeb Mountain mine to address population declines and extirpations exceeding the “amount or extent” of the authorized take for blackside dace and Cumberland darter; new information indicating adverse effects for these species caused by conductivity above 240 μS/cm; the listing of the Cumberland darter in 2011; and designation of critical habitat for the Cumberland darter in 2012, in violation of 50 C.F.R. § 402.16.

Therefore, Defendants are in violation of section 7(a)(2) of the ESA, 16 U.S.C. § 1536(a)(2), its implementing regulations, 50 C.F.R. § 402.16, and the APA, 5 U.S.C. § 706, in connection with the SMCRA permit for the Zeb Mountain surface coal mine. This Court has jurisdiction to adjudicate these claims and grant Plaintiffs’ requested relief to remedy the harms Plaintiffs have suffered and will continue to suffer from Defendants’ legal violations.

Count 3

OSM’s continued reliance on the 1996 Biological Opinion and ITS, which contains no site-specific analysis of the Davis Creek mine, no species-specific analysis of the impacts of surface coal mining on blackside dace, and no incidental take statement specific to the Davis Creek’s mine’s impacts on the blackside dace, is arbitrary and capricious, an abuse of discretion, and not in accordance with law.

OSM has failed to insure that the SMCRA permit for Davis Creek Mine Area 5 is not likely to jeopardize blackside dace. See 16 U.S.C. § 1536(a)(2).

Count 4

OSM has unlawfully failed to reinitiate and complete consultation under the 1996 Biological Opinion and/or under any alleged informal consultation with respect to the SMCRA permit for the Davis Creek Mine Area 5 to address blackside dace population declines and extirpations exceeding the “amount or extent” of the authorized take and/or new information indicating adverse effects on blackside dace caused by conductivity above 240 μS/cm, in violation of 50 C.F.R. § 402.16.

FWS has unlawfully failed to request that OSM reinitiate and complete consultation under the 1996 Biological Opinion and/or under any alleged informal consultation with respect to the SMCRA permit for the Davis Creek Mine Area 5 to address blackside dace population declines and extirpations exceeding the “amount or extent” of the authorized take and/or new information indicating adverse effects on blackside dace caused by conductivity above 240 μS/cm, in violation of 50 C.F.R. § 402.16.

Therefore, Defendants are in violation of section 7(a)(2) of the ESA, 16 U.S.C. § 1536(a)(2), its implementing regulations, 50 C.F.R. § 402.16, and the APA, 5 U.S.C. § 706, in connection with the SMCRA permit for the Davis Creek Mine Area 5.

Opinion | Complaint (amended 7/31/2013) | Federal defendants' brief in support of motion to dismiss | Plaintiffs' brief opposing MTD

Jan 292015
 

An Arizona congressman was joined by more than 100 House members in introducing a bill that would prevent EPA and the Army Corps of Engineers from "developing, finalizing, adopting, implementing, applying, administering, or enforcing" the proposed rule defining "waters of the United States" under the Clean Water Act.

Rep. Paul Gosar (R-Ariz.)

Rep. Paul Gosar (R-Ariz.)

Echoing a theme that has been sounded repeatedly by farmers and other water users opposed to the EPA/Corps rulemaking, Rep. Paul Gosar (R-Ariz.) said the agencies are trying "to obtain control over practically all standing water throughout the U.S. by unilaterally expanding the Clean Water Act."

Said Gosar: “The Waters of the United States Regulatory Overreach Protection Act rejects this overreach and requires relevant federal agencies to go back to the drawing board and consult with states and other local officials to formulate a proposal that will then be submitted to Congress for approval. Only Congress has the authority to change or redefine the scope of the CWA, not bureaucrats in Washington. This fact has been confirmed several times by the Supreme Court. Americans can't afford more economic hurdles and thievery of precious water supplies from an unaccountable federal government operating in hyper mode.”

Gosar said the bill has 114 co-sponsors, which is a few more than are listed at Congress.gov, probably because of a time lag.

The congressman touted the bill as bipartisan. Congress.gov listed two Democrats among the co-sponsors: Rep. Brad Ashford of Nebraska and Rep. Collin Peterson of Minnesota. Ashford is newly elected, while Peterson has served in Congress since 1990 and supported a similar effort in the previous Congress.

Text of the bill follows:

Jan 282015
 

EPA has sent the following notice to the Federal Register for publication:

ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY

[EPA-R10-OW-2014-0505; FRL-9922-23-Region-10]

Notice of Status Update on the Proposed Determination for the Pebble Deposit Area, Southwest Alaska

AGENCY: Environmental Protection Agency.

ACTION: Notice of status update.

SUMMARY: On July 21, 2014, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) published in the Federal Register a Notice of Proposed Determination, under Section 404(c) of the Clean Water Act, to restrict the use of certain waters in the South Fork Koktuli River, North Fork Koktuli River, and Upper Talarik Creek watersheds in Southwest Alaska as disposal sites for dredged or fill material associated with mining the Pebble deposit, a copper-, gold-, and molybdenum-bearing ore body. On September 19, 2014, EPA published in the Federal Register a notice extending the time period to either withdraw the Proposed Determination or to prepare the Recommended Determination until no later than February 4, 2015. As part of ongoing litigation brought by the Pebble Limited Partnership, on November 25, 2014, a Federal District Court Judge issued a preliminary injunction that requires EPA to stop all work connected to the 404(c) proceeding, including reviewing and considering public comments. EPA is complying with the court’s order and as such is not taking any steps to withdraw the Proposed Determination or to prepare a Recommended Determination while the preliminary injunction is in place.

Dated: January 21, 2015.

Dennis J. McLerran,
Regional Administrator,
EPA Region 10.

[FR Doc. 2015-01701 Filed 01/28/2015 at 8:45 am; Publication Date: 01/29/2015]

Jan 282015
 

Here's some coverage of and reaction to the offshore leasing proposal announced by the Interior Department Tuesday, Jan. 27:

Interior’s Proposed Offshore Leasing Plan Will Place New Restrictions on Exploration of Alaska’s Waters  (Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, 1/27)

Few industry cheers for proposal from industry  (Marine Log, 1/27)

Draft Offshore Leasing Program Adds Atlantic Opportunities, Misses Others (Natl. Ocean Industries Assn., 1/27/15)

Center for Biological Diversity blasts proposal (1/27)

Southern Environmental Law Center Calls for Protection of Southeast Coasts from Offshore Drilling (1/27)

Advance story from NY Times (Coral Davenport, 1/26)

 

 

CBD blasts offshore leasing proposal

 Posted by on January 27, 2015
Jan 272015
 

The Center for Biological Diversity issued a press release shortly after the Interior Department announced its offshore drilling proposal for 2017-2022. Here's the release, pasted below:



Obama Plan Will Open Arctic and Atlantic Oceans to Dangers of Drilling

Obama Sacrifices Climate for Industry Profit

For Immediate Release, January 27, 2015

Contact: Miyoko Sakashita, (415) 632-5308, (510) 845-6703 (cell), miyoko@biologicaldiversity.org

WASHINGTON — The Obama administration announced plans today to open up the Atlantic Ocean to drilling and offer more lease sales in the sensitive Arctic waters off Alaska. Both announcements move these areas that have largely been off-limits to offshore drilling closer to becoming industrial oil operations. Ramping up offshore drilling raises the risk of disastrous spills, puts wildlife in harm’s way, and deepens U.S. dependence on the fossil fuels driving the global climate crisis.

The new five-year plan schedules 14 lease sales in eight planning areas between 2017 and 2022: 10 sales in the Gulf of Mexico, three off the coast of Alaska, and one in the Atlantic Ocean. President Obama is using executive action to put some of the most sensitive areas in the Arctic’s Beaufort and Chukchi seas off limits, which is a step in the right direction. However, all leasing should be halted in the Arctic where an oil spill in remote areas would be impossible to clean up, and the Atlantic, where development has so far been off-limits. The plan encourages further reliance on oil and threatens species already in danger because of climate change.

“The Deepwater Horizon disaster and Shell’s embarrassing 2012 Arctic drilling fiasco should have been wakeup calls to the Obama administration,” said Miyoko Sakashita, oceans program director at the Center for Biological Diversity. “Instead the president appears to be sleepwalking his way right into the next big offshore-oil nightmare.”

The Obama plan represents a long-term commitment to offshore oil drilling at a time when experts are sounding the alarm on further fossil fuel development. Leading climate scientists say atmospheric CO2 concentrations should be reduced to 350 parts per million to avoid catastrophic, irreversible impacts. And in order to reach this goal the vast majority of fossil fuels must stay in the ground.

Arctic Ocean oil and gas pose a major climate threat. Producing and burning projected technically recoverable oil and gas reserves in the Arctic Ocean has the potential to release 15.8 billion tons of CO2 into the atmosphere. This is equivalent to the emissions from all forms of transportation in the United States over a nine-year period, or burning 90 years’ worth of oil flowing through the Keystone XL pipeline at maximum capacity.

“The window of opportunity to avert dangerous climate change is rapidly shrinking and President Obama’s new offshore oil drilling plan will help slam it shut,” said Sakashita. “He’s is blowing his chance to put us on a path to a livable planet.”

Jan 272015
 

A passel of planned and completed actions are posted in the Public Inspection section of the Federal Register. They are included at the end of this post, and on our FR Today web page.

The Forest Service issued its travel management rule on "over-snow vehicles," proclaiming that assessment of the impact on endangered species such as the Canada lynx is beyond the rule's scope. The Fish and Wildlife Service said it shouldn't have included Vermejo Park Ranch as a translocation site for the Mexican wolf, in a notice it published Jan. 15. FERC announced plans to prepare Environmental Assessments and EIS's for various projects. NOAA's Science Advisory Board said it would meet in February in Silver Spring, though it neglected to post any such information on its own site, which has April 16-17 as the next meeting  (Mistakes happen; we informed them of the oversight, so perhaps by the time you click on that link, it'll be corrected.). Oh, and NMFS gave the thumbs-up to a Resource Management Plan prepared by the Lower Elwha Klallam Tribe and the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife designed to address the health of Puiget Sound chinook and steelhead.

OTHER NEWS

Environmental groups have petitioned FWS to downlist the gray wolf to threatened. The petition does not include the Mexican wolf, which would remain endangered. Some in Congress are working on legislation to delist wolves.

The Interior Department announced its draft strategy for offshore oil and gas leasing from 2017-22. Here's a paragraph from the press release:

Gulf of Mexico:

The draft proposal includes ten sales in the Gulf of Mexico, one of the most productive basins in the world and where oil and gas infrastructure is well established. The draft proposal includes a new approach to lease sales in the Gulf of Mexico by proposing two annual lease sales in the Western, Central, and the portion of the Eastern Gulf of Mexico that is not subject to Congressional moratoria. This shifts from the traditional approach of one sale in the Western and a separate sale in the Central Gulf each year.

At the same time, President Obama, "using his authorities under the OCS Lands Act – designated portions of the Beaufort and Chukchi Seas as off limits from consideration for future oil and gas leasing in order to protect areas of critical importance to subsistence use by Alaska Natives, as well as for their unique and sensitive environmental resources. In December, President Obama used this same authority to place the waters of Bristol Bay off limits to oil and gas development, protecting an area known for its world-class fisheries and stunning beauty."

FWS corrects FR notice that appeared Jan. 15. Vermejo Park Ranch should not have been included as a translocation site for Mexican wolf.

DOI, USDA: The secretaries propose to revise the regulations governing the rural determination process for the Federal Subsistence Program in Alaska. Under current regulations, the Federal Subsistence Board defines which community or area of Alaska is rural using guidelines and characteristics defined by the Secretaries. This new process will enable the Board to be more flexible in making decisions and take into account the regional differences found throughout the state.

FERC to prepare EIS on impacts of the Calcasieu Pass Project involving construction and operation of LNG
export facilities by Venture Global Calcasieu Pass, LLC (Venture Global) in Cameron Parish, Louisiana

FERC extends comment period on project described below

  • FERC to prepare EIS on PennEast Pipeline Project, involving construction and operation of facilities by PennEast Pipeline Company, LLC, a partnership of six member companies including AGL Resources, New Jersey Resources Pipeline Company, South Jersey Industries, Public Service Electric and Gas Company Power LLC, Spectra Energy Partners, and UGI Energy Services (1/13/15)

FERC to prepare EA on impacts of the Silo Pipeline Project involving construction and operation of facilities by Kaiser-Frontier Midstream, LLC (Kaiser-Frontier) in Laramie County, Wyoming, and Weld County, Colorado.

FERC releases EA/FONSI on applications for new licenses for the West Branch Project (FERC Project No. 2618) and the Forest City Project (FERC Project No. 2660). The West Branch Project is located on the West Branch of the St. Croix River in Penobscot, Washington, and Hancock Counties, Maine. The Forest City Project is located on the East Branch of the St. Croix River in Washington and Aroostook Counties, Maine.

Forest Service publishes final Travel Management Rule on Over-Snow Vehicles, says "The impact of OSV use on specific species, including threatened and endangered species, in specific locations is beyond the scope of this final rule."

BIA extends public scoping period for the Aiya Solar Project on the Moapa River Indian Reservation.

BIA extends public scoping period for Snow Mountain Solar Project on the Las Vegas Paiute River Indian Reservation

NMFS finds that joint resource management plan (RMP), represented by five Hatchery and Genetic Management Plans (HGMPs), submitted by the Lower Elwha Klallam Tribe and the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, will not appreciably reduce the likelihood of survival and recovery of ESA-listed Puget Sound Chinook salmon and Puget Sound steelhead. The plans specify the propagation of five species of salmon and steelhead in the Elwha River of Washington state.

NOAA Science Advisory Board to meet Feb. 13

Jan 232015
 

A species of amphipod found near a proposed light-rail project is not on the endangered species list, an American University biologist has determined.

Environmental sciences professor David Culver needed help from a taxonomic expert, who confirmed Culver's initial identification of the crustacean as Stygobromus tenuis, as reported first by The Washington Post today. According to Culver, "the 7mm crustacean that two graduate students found in the muck of Rock Creek near Coquelin Run" was not the endangered Hay's Spring amphipod, as hoped by Friends of the Capital Crescent Trail, a local group opposed to the route of the multibillion-dollar Purple Line, or the Town of Chevy Chase, which funded Culver's work through a donation to the trail group.

In a related development, the Center for Biological Diversity has petitioned the Fish and Wildlife Service to designate critical habitat for nine species, including Hay's Spring amphipod.

Kenk's amphipod, another species native to the D.C. area, is a candidate for listing under the ESA.

Friends of the Capital Crescent Trail plans to keep looking, with the aid of funding from the Town of Chevy Chase. From the Post:

Ajay Bhatt, the trail group’s president, said the group will continue funding a $20,000 study into whether any DNA from the hard-to-find endangered amphipods can be detected in Rock Creek’s wetlands and streams. The Town of Chevy Chase donated the money to the trail group.

“Clearly, it’s amphipod habitat, whether they found one type or another,” Bhatt said.

 

Jan 222015
 

NMFS releases draft Draft Fisheries Climate Science Strategy for public comment

NOAA-Fisheries-Climate-Science-Strategy-cover

Re: Proposed Wright Solar Park Multi-Species Habitat Conservation Plan, FWS says the ITP would not cover the desert tortoise. "Due to [an] inadvertent typographical error, the prior notice mischaracterized the species for which the applicant seeks a permit." Instead of “If we determine that those requirements are met, we will issue a permit to the applicant for the incidental take of desert tortoise,” the sentence should have read, "If we determine that those requirements are met, we will issue a permit to the applicant for the incidental take of covered species.”

Corps begins scoping process for the preparation of a Dredged Material Management Plan (DMMP) and Environmental Assessment for continued maintenance dredging at Crescent City Harbor

Army Corps of Engineers' Wilmington District considering Section 404 permit from the Town of Ocean Isle Beach, N.C., to install a terminal groin structure on the east side of Ocean Isle Beach, extending into the Atlantic Ocean, just west of Shallotte Inlet. DEIS has been prepared

EPA receives EIS's for comment  |  And here is the page for all these notices

Coral Reef Task Force to meet at Interior South Building February 19, 2015. Advance public comments due by Jan. 28

NMFS issues Incidental Harassment Authorization (IHA) to the National Ocean Service’s Office of National Marine Sanctuaries Gulf of the Farallones National Marine Sanctuary (GFNMS) to take marine mammals, by harassment, incidental to rocky intertidal monitoring work and searching for black abalone, components of the Sanctuary Ecosystem Assessment Surveys

Navy to hold public meeting on DEIS for Military Readiness Activities at the Fallon Range Training Complex (FRTC), Nevada | More here at the website

NRC: Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) is re-issuing for a second round of public comment, draft regulatory guide (DG)-1245, “Design and Inspection Criteria for Water- Control Structures Associated with Nuclear Power Plants.” This DG is proposed revision 2 of regulatory guide (RG) 1.127, “Inspection of Water-Control Structures Associated with Nuclear Power Plants” dated March 1978 | Docket

BOEM releases Environmental Assessment (EA) for commercial wind lease issuance, site characterization activities (geological, geotechnical/archeological and biological surveys) and site assessment activities (including the installation and operation of a meteorological tower and/or buoys) on the Atlantic Outer Continental Shelf offshore North Carolina | Go here for more

Jan 202015
 

Today in the Federal Register (Jan. 20):

FWS receives incidental take permit application for take of the federally listed American burying beetle resulting from activities associated with the geophysical exploration (seismic) and construction, maintenance, operation, repair, and decommissioning of oil and gas well field infrastructure within Oklahoma | ABBICP page

BLM's Boise District to prepare EIS on proposed project to improve sage-grouse habitat. "The project is a collaborative effort among federal, state, and county governments as well as conservation organizations and the University of Idaho to improve and maintain functioning sage-grouse habitat in Owyhee County, Idaho. The proposal is to remove early-stage encroachment of western juniper (Juniperus occidentalis) from Greater Sage-Grouse (Centrocercus urophasianus) habitat across 1.5 million acres in the BLM Bruneau and Owyhee Field Offices. | BLM Idaho office and juniper removal information

FERC to prepare EIS on PennEast Pipeline Project, involving construction and operation of facilities by PennEast Pipeline Company, LLC, a partnership of six member companies including AGL Resources, New Jersey Resources Pipeline Company, South Jersey Industries, Public Service Electric and Gas Company Power LLC, Spectra Energy Partners, and UGI Energy Services.

FERC to prepare EIS on Leach XPress Project, involving construction and operation of facilities by Columbia Gas Transmission, LLC in Marshall and Wayne Counties, West Virginia and Fairfield, Vinton, Lawrence, Noble, Jackson and Hocking Counties, Ohio | Company web page

FERC issues supplemental Notice of Intent to prepare an Environmental Assessment for the Proposed Kalama Lateral Project, which would involve construction and operation of a new natural gas pipeline and associated facilities by Northwest Pipeline, LLC in Cowlitz County, Washington

Forest Service to prepare EIS on a proposal to designate over-snow vehicle (OSV) use as allowed, restricted, or prohibited on National Forest System roads, National Forest System trails, and Areas on National Forest System lands within the Lassen National Forest; and to identify snow trails for grooming within the Lassen National Forest.

NMFS proposes to authorize taking by U.S. Navy of marine mammals incidental to the Joint Logistics Over-the-Shore (JLOTS) training activities conducted in Virginia and North Carolina, from June 2015 through June 2020.

Some Federal Register notices now on public inspection:

Teleconference scheduled March 18 of the Advisory Group for the Neotropical Migratory Bird Conservation Act grants program

Members:

Dan Ashe, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, USA
Robert Barham, Louisana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, USA
Enrique Bucher, National University of Cordoba, Argentina
Ian Davidson, Nature Canada, Canada
Mark Elsbree, The Conservation Fund, USA
Jeff Hagener, Montana Fish Wildlife and Parks, USA
Mary Pope Hutson, Land Trust Alliance, USA
Wayne MacCallum, Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife, USA
Jorge Maksabedian de la Roquette, SEMARNAT-Division of Wildlife, Mexico
David Nomsen, Pheasants Forever, Inc., USA
Glenn Olson, National Audubon Society, USA
Keith Ouchley, The Nature Conservancy of Louisiana, USA
Paul Schmidt, Ducks Unlimited, Inc., USA
Terry Steinwand, North Dakota Game and Fish Department, USA
Tom Tidwell, US Forest Service, USA
Jeff Trandahl, National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, USA
Alvaro Umaña, CATIE, Costa Rica
Alberto Yanosky, Guyra Paraguay, Paraguay

North American Wetlands Conservation Council will meet via telephone on Feb. 25 to select North American Wetlands Conservation Act (NAWCA) U.S. small grant proposals for recommendation to the Migratory Bird Conservation Commission

FWS receives endangered species permit applications (Southeast)

Inland Waterways Users Board to meet Feb. 25 in Birmingham, Ala. | Website for Inland Waterways Users Board | Members

Jan 192015
 

Both tables are from the recently released "connectivity" report prepared by EPA.

"Table 4-4. Key conclusions on the effects of non-floodplain wetlands on rivers"

Partial list of reptile and amphibian species known to use both streams and non-floodplain wetlands or other lentic waters (right-click and "view image" for a better look)


Alternate view (scroll over to get a pop-out pdf)