Wildlife and Marine Resources Section

Collage of photographs showing a penguin, a close up of a yellow lily, and NOAA divers.  Courtesy of Daniel Dooher and Ned Wolff (DOJ) and NOAA.

Specialists in Litigation under Federal Fish and Wildlife Statutes

Implementing federal programs to protect and conserve fish and wildlife species has increasingly become a significant component of a federal agency’s priorities. The work of the Wildlife and Marine Resources Section concerns the intersection between the missions of the many federal agencies with authority over or interaction with species and their habitat, and the needs of those species.

The Section’s work includes litigation over which species should be listed as threatened or endangered under the Endangered Species Act, cases challenging the way in which protected species are considered when federal agencies carry out their missions, and other litigation related to the balance between species protection and resource development in federal agency decision-making. This litigation involves a broad spectrum of federal agencies and affected species, including:

  • the Department of the Interior (DOI) and U.S. Department of Commerce’s (Commerce) administration and enforcement of the nation’s wildlife and marine resource statutes, including listing actions regarding the polar bear, gray wolves and grizzly bears;
  • Department of Defense’s national security activities, including the Navy’s use of sonar and impacts on whales;
  • Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management, and National Park Service’s management of federal lands, including the Forest Service’s issuance of timber sale contracts and the effects of timber harvest on the Northern spotted owl, the grizzly bear, the Canada lynx, and other forest species and grazing authorizations on federal lands, and impacts on stream ecology important to fish species and on other species competing for forage;
  • the operation of dams and reservoirs for various purposes, including flood control, hydroelectric power generation and irrigation, and balancing those operations with the needs of fish species, including anadromous fish species;
  • DOI’s and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ programs for management and restoration of the Florida Everglades; and
  • Commerce's management of sustainable ocean fisheries while also rebuilding overfished fisheries

These are just a few of the many controversial and important matters touched on in litigation handled by the Wildlife and Marine Resources Section. To learn more about the Section, click on:

And, for some fun and other information about species and ecosystems they inhabit, click on:


Updated May 11, 2015

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