Our attorneys assist clients with federal and state Endangered Species Act issues, including habitat assessments, “take” evaluations, Section 7 consultations, and defense of civil and criminal enforcement actions. We also help develop and negotiate habitat conservation plans involving a variety of issues—water use, transportation, timberland harvest and management, permitting, and real estate development.
Our expertise includes:
- Section 7 Consultations
- Civil and Criminal Enforcement Defense
- Citizen Suit Defense
- Mitigation Agreements
- No Surprises Agreements
- Mitigation Banking/Offsets
- Conservation Easements
- Conservation Management Agreements
- Implementation Agreements
- Biological Opinions and Assessments
- Timber Harvesting Plans
- California Coastal Act
- Migratory Bird Treaty Act
- Lacey Act
- Marine Mammal Protection Act
- Surface Mining Control and Protection Act
- California Surface Mining and Reclamation Act
- Wilderness Act
- Los Angeles County Flood Control District. We are advising the district on Endangered Species Act and water issues related to several projects for the operation and maintenance of dams and other facilities, including negotiating with the Army Corps of Engineers and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
- County of Los Angeles: Seismic Retrofit Project and Habitat Mitigation. We provided legal advice to the County regarding a seismic retrofit project on a bridge over the San Gabriel River. Even though the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers declined to assert jurisdiction under Clean Water Act section 404, the California Regional Water Quality Control Board, Los Angeles Region, persisted in asserting jurisdiction under Clean Water Act section 401 and demanded 1.2 acres of habitat mitigation. We assisted the client in developing a successful strategy that convinced the Regional Board to agree no mitigation was required.
- Southwest Resources Management Association: Conservation Easements and Long-Term Management Planning. We represent Riverside-Corona Resource Conservation District and the Southwest Resource Management Association in negotiating conservation easements and counseling on management issues and related real property matters with public and private entities seeking to satisfy mitigation obligations for development projects.
- Defense of Endangered Plant Citizen Suit. In Northern California River Watch v. Wilcox, 633 F.3d 766 (9th Cir. 2011), a Meyers Nave attorney assisted in obtaining summary judgment dismissal of a federal Endangered Species Act (ESA) citizen suit alleging that a developer and the California Department of Fish and Wildlife violated ESA’s plant protection provisions. Addressing an issue of first impression under the federal ESA, the Ninth Circuit rejected efforts by the plaintiffs to hold the State of California and a landowner liable for removing an endangered plant, where the state had concluded that the plant had been illegally transplanted onto private property to halt a proposed residential development.
- CEQA/CESA Consistency Determination Lawsuit. In Center for Biological
Diversity v. California Department of Fish and Game, a Meyers Nave attorney was on the legal team that defeated a CEQA challenge to DFG’s consistency determination under CESA section 2080.1 for the marbled murrelet, a bird listed under the state and federal law. The Court determined that the agency’s decision was not a “discretionary” project triggering the environmental review requirements of CEQA.