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Mayo v. Jarvis

ELR Citation: 46 ELR 20068
Nos. 14-1751, 15-0479, (D.D.C., 03/29/2016) (Contreras, J.)

A district court remanded a portion of FWS’ addendum to a 2007 biological opinion concerning the incidental take of grizzly bears in the Grand Teton National Park. In 2007, FWS and the National Park Service (NPS) issued a joint 15-year management plan for bison and elk herds that migrate across the Grand Teton National Park, the National Elk Refuge, and nearby federal, state, and private lands. The plan called for an elk reduction program via an annual hunt. Because the plan was also anticipated to have certain effects on the endangered grizzly bear, FWS issued a biological opinion. It concluded that the plan would not jeopardize the continued existence of the grizzly bear and anticipated that one bear would be incidentally taken during the 15-year implementation of the plan. But in 2013, after a grizzly bear was killed by hunters in the Park, NPS reinitiated consultation with FWS and issued an addendum to its biological opinion, increasing the total anticipated incidental take in the Park to five bears. Environmental groups filed suit under NEPA and the ESA, challenging both the addendum as well as the continuation of the elk reduction program. Because FWS failed to consider and evaluate the impact of other incidental takes of grizzly bears that had been authorized in the Greater Yellowstone ecosystem since 2007 when FWS made its first no jeopardy finding, the addendum is arbitrary and capricious. The court therefore granted summary judgment to the groups on this ground. But all other claims were dismissed.