Coming in just under the wire for the New Year, the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (FWS) and National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) published new rules today, making December a very busy month for Endangered Species Act (ESA) listing decisions. Below are the latest items from FWS and NMFS to be published in 2014.

December 31, 2014 – FWS issued a 90-day finding on a petition to list the Monarch Butterfly (Danaus plexippus plexippus) as a threatened species under the ESA.  FWS found that the information and sources cited in the petition present substantial commercial or scientific information that indicates listing the Monarch Butterfly may be warranted under listing factors A, B, C, and E of ESA section 4(a)(1). FWS is seeking additional information on listing factors for the Monarch Butterfly from now through March 2, 2015, but declined to issue an emergency rule temporarily listing the butterfly as threatened.  After reviewing all of the new data, FWS will issue a 12-month finding on the petition.

December 31, 2014 – NMFS issued a correction to its final rule listing five species of Sawfish as endangered.  The final rule, published on December 12, 2014 and reported on this blog, inadvertently included an instruction to delete the U.S. Distinct Population Segment of Smalltooth Sawfish (Pristis pectinata) from the list of endangered species under the ESA.  This correction removes language from the regulatory text that caused the Smalltooth Sawfish to be de-listed.  The correction will be effective January 12, 2015.