Transect Blog

Unintentional Harm to Migratory Birds is Lawful under USFWS Proposed Rule

February 3, 2020
Osprey approaching nest with young hatchling/fledgling

The USFWS is proposing to adopt a regulation that will codify the 2017 Solicitor’s Opinion M-37050, which redefined what activities are illegal under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act (MBTA). Specifically, the proposed rule will decriminalize accidental harm or death of migratory birds that may occur as a result of an otherwise lawful activity. Background on…

Weyerhaeuser Update: Critical Habitat Should Actually Be Habitat

The Supreme Court’s Limited Ruling on Critical Habitat and the Endangered Species Act As we wrote about in October, the Supreme Court heard arguments in Weyerhaeuser v. USFWS, a case that addresses whether the government can designate “critical habitat” to protect an endangered species if the species is no longer found in that area. The…
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What’s the Difference? Transect v. Phase I ESA

One of the common questions we get at Transect is whether our reports are the same as a Phase I Environmental Site Assessment (ESA). The short answer: NOPE. While a Phase 1 ESA may be a box you have to check as part of an acquisition process, the information you get from a Transect report saves…
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The Supreme Court Is Considering Critical Habitat (And It Could Impact Your Project)

We recently wrote about proposed modifications to the Endangered Species Act (ESA) that could change how agencies evaluate the threat levels for Endangered and Threatened Species. While the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (“USFWS” or “The Service”) is busy reviewing the reported 65,000 comments on the three proposed rules, the Supreme Court is simultaneously reviewing…
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WOTUS Update: More States Sidestep Clean Water Rule

As a result of dueling federal and district courts, several more states, including Texas, Iowa, and Florida, are no longer subject to the Obama-era Clean Water Rule (for now). Source: EPA 2018
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Enforcement Of The Migratory Bird Treaty Act: A Bird In The Hand…Or Fowl Play?

In the late 1800s and early 1900s, the increasing popularity of women’s hats featuring beautiful feathers was directly responsible for the extinction of numerous species of birds as hunters killed hundreds of thousands to meet the demand. Early bird protection laws aimed at combatting the problem faced constitutional challenges. This fact, combined with the reality…
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Muddy Waters For Clean Water Act Permitting

The Clean Water Act (the CWA), as reorganized and expanded in 1972, regulates the discharge of pollutants in the waters of the United States and sets quality standards for surface waters. Under the CWA, it is unlawful to discharge any pollutant from a point source into navigable waters of the United States, without a permit.…
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