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Vibrant Environment

ESA and CITES: Avenues for the Future of Species Conservation and Legislation

By Hannah Dale, Research & Publications Intern
Wednesday, October 24, 2018

The Endangered Species Act (ESA) and the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Flora and Fauna (CITES) are seminal pieces of legislation that have governed species conservation in the United States for over 40 years. The ESA dictates a regulatory framework for identifying and protecting threatened species and provides funding and incentives to states to reach this goal. CITES is an international agreement signed by 183 nations that seeks to regulate and restrict the international trade of endangered wildlife. The adoption of this agreement gives party states some authority over species conservation in other parts of the world. The ESA acknowledges and works to cooperate with international species conservation policies like CITES, and it even includes provisions for executing CITES policies. Together, CITES and the ESA operate at state, national, and international scales, making use of agency, intergovernmental, and nonprofit partnerships to work toward species conservation.

Trotting Toward Trouble: The State of the Bureau of Land Management’s Wild Horse and Burro Program

By Caroline McHugh, Law Clerk
Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Picture the American West.

What do you see? Does a herd of wild mustangs galloping across a sagebrush expanse come to mind? For many, romantic images of the western landscape celebrated in popular culture symbolize American ideals of rugged individualism and freedom. Although first introduced to North America by European colonists, wild horses came to represent those important American themes in our images of the West. Now, the iconic symbols pose a threat to western ecosystems.

The Fate of the Dusky Gopher Frog: ELI’s Discussion on Implications for Habitat Conservation

By Hannah Dale, Research & Publications Intern
Wednesday, September 26, 2018

The dusky gopher grog is a little-known endangered species only found in a few isolated pond habitats of southern Mississippi. This playful amphibian is apparently rather shy, covering its eyes and playing dead when held by a human. Unfortunately, the species has been struggling to survive for decades, encountering threats such as habitat loss, drought, and disease decimating its fragile population.

An Endangering Act? Proposed Regulatory Changes to the Endangered Species Act

Wolf
By Lovinia Reynolds , Research Associate
Wednesday, July 25, 2018

On July 19, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) released their highly anticipated proposed changes to the rules implementing the Endangered Species Act (ESA). Enacted in 1973, the ESA is credited with saving iconic American species like the bald eagle and the grizzly bear. It is one of the hallmark pieces of legislation of the early environmental movement and the legislation for species conservation in the United States. While the public generally supports the Act, the ESA is notoriously controversial for corporations and agribusiness. Industries such as oil and gas, land development, and mining criticize the ESA as a costly barrier to project development. Supporters of the ESA highlight its role in preventing the extinction of species that are crucial to U.S. ecosystems.

The Importance of Wetlands: The 2018 National Wetlands Awards

2018 National Wetlands Awardees (Roxie B. Photography)
By Kathryn R. Ma, Staff Attorney; Senior Editor
Monday, May 21, 2018

“These places hold the world together,” said National Wetlands Awardee Latimore M. Smith of wetlands during his award acceptance speech. Simple words spoken to him early in his career as he explored a Louisiana bog, they continue to hold profound meaning and inspire him to this day. At the National Wetlands Awards ceremony that took place on May 9, 2018, in Washington, D.C., each of the six awardees shared stories about what inspired them in their efforts to protect and preserve wetlands.

What the Shell? The Story of the Pearl River Map Turtle

The Pearl River map turtle, unrecognized as a species by the U.S. government, ha
Wednesday, March 14, 2018

The Pearl River map turtle, found only in Louisiana and Mississippi, has been described as the least-known species of the least-studied turtle genus in North America. Sadly, it may become extinct before it becomes known. While the species is recognized internationally and by the state of Mississippi, the U.S. government does not acknowledge it, and that obscurity is harming its existence. In the March issue of ELR’s News & Analysis, Kristina Alexander explains why listing under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) may be the only way to save it from extinction.

Cryptocurrency—A New Tool to Help Combat Wildlife Trafficking

Tiger Alliance cryptocurrency is a new tool for mobilizing anti-trafficking reso
By Sara Kaufhardt, Research and Publications Intern
Wednesday, August 2, 2017

The enforcement of wildlife trafficking laws suffers from a lack of capacity in “hotspot” countries to combat the powerful economic incentives for poaching endangered species. However, emerging technologies create new opportunities to counter these incentives for poaching by harnessing the economic incentives to protect ecosystems, natural resources, and wildlife.

A Problem in Small-Scale Fisheries Management in Spain and a Need to Rethink Implementation of the EU’s Common Fisheries Policy

ACERGA fishing skipper Marcos Alfeirán during the protest camp in late 2015, NOS
By Xiao Recio-Blanco, Director, Ocean Program
Wednesday, May 31, 2017

The Galician Association of Purse-Seine Vessel Owners (ACERGA by its acronym in Galician) is the largest association of purse-seine vessel owners in Spain. Over a year ago, ACERGA fishers and many members of their families camped in front of the main building of the government of Galicia (northwestern Spain), demanding that their voice be heard in the regulatory process for determining Spain’s annual fishing quota distribution of mackerel and horse mackerel.

Represent a Wildlife Whistleblower: Announcing the NWC’s Wildlife Whistleblower Attorney Referral Service

Confiscated Wildlife Products at JFK Airport, Steve Hillebrand
By Meera Gajjar, Staff Attorney, National Whistleblower Center
Monday, May 1, 2017

It’s time to take the fight against wildlife trafficking from the jungles to the judges. The National Whistleblower Center (NWC) recently launched its Global Wildlife Whistleblower Program, and it is now seeking attorneys who are ready to join the vanguard by representing wildlife whistleblowers. This means helping whistleblowers develop effective reports and qualify for rewards under U.S. laws.

The Ecological Impacts of a Border Wall

Rio Grande River
By Caitlin Meagher , Research & Publications Intern - Spring 2017
Monday, April 3, 2017

Often lost in discussions of efficacy and payment relating to the proposed U.S.-Mexico border wall is what would happen to the environment if a concrete divider were placed across a nearly-2,000 mile swath of habitat. While wall-like barriers already stand on hundreds of miles of the U.S.-Mexico border, expanding to a full-border wall would constitute a massive transformation of the rest of the United States’ southern borderlands, posing substantial threats to the wildlife that roam the area.