U.S. Court of Appeals Decision on Whooping Crane Deaths

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit has made its decision concerning “The Aransas Project” court case involving the deaths of whooping cranes.  The Appeals court reversed the district court’s opinion. Friends of the Wild Whoopers is sincerely saddened about this judgment. For your convenience we have inserted a summary of the decision and a link to the entire court’s decision.

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Case: 13-40317 Document: 00512681291 Page: 1 Date Filed: 06/30/2014

IN THE UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS FOR THE FIFTH CIRCUIT

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13-40317

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THE ARANSAS PROJECT,

Plaintiff–Appellee,

BRYAN SHAW, in His Official Capacityas Chairman of the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality;

BUDDY GARCIA, in His Official Capacityas Commissioner of the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality;

CARLOS RUBINSTEIN, in His Official Capacityas Commissioner of the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality;

MARK VICKERY, in His Official Capacityas Executive Director of the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality;

AL SEGOVIA, in His Official Capacity as South Texas Watermaster,

Defendants–Appellants,

GUADALUPE-BLANCO RIVER AUTHORITY;TEXAS CHEMICAL COUNCIL; SAN ANTONIO RIVER AUTHORITY,

Intervenors

Defendants–Appellants.

Appeals from the United States District Court for the Southern District of Texas

United States Court of Appeals Fifth Circuit

F I L E D

June 30, 2014

Lyle W. Cayce

Clerk

Case: 13-40317 Document: 00512681291 Page: 2 Date Filed: 06/30/2014

No. 13-40317

Before JONES, SMITH, and GARZA, Circuit Judges.

PER CURIAM:

After the deaths of some whooping cranes an endangered species The Aransas Project (“TAP”) sued directors of the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (“TCEQ”) under the Endangered Species Act (“ESA” or the “Act”). TAP sought and was granted an injunction prohibiting TCEQ from issuing new permits to withdraw water from rivers that feed the estuary where the cranes make their winter home. The injunction also required TCEQ to seek an  incidental–take permit (“ITP”) from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (“FWS”). A motions panel of this court stayed the injunction pending appeal. We conclude that the district court’s opinion misapplies proximate cause analysis and further, even if proximate cause had been proven, the injunction is an abuse of di scretion. The judgment is reversed.

To read the entire court document click on the following link.  whooping cranes decision

 ***** FOTWW’s mission is to protect the Aransas/Wood Buffalo population
of wild whooping cranes and their habitat
. *****

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Louisiana whooping cranes visit Texas – again

 Four whooping cranes from the Louisiana experimental flock have decided to make another sojourn to Texas this year according to Sara Zimorski, Wildlife Biologist, Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Department.

Four Louisiana whooping cranes off to Texas for 2nd year.
Four Louisiana whooping cranes off to Texas for 2nd year.

Biologist Zimorski explained to Friends of the Wild Whoopers (FOTWW), “These same birds made a similar trip last year . The 4 whoopers flew approximately 400 miles to visit on private lands with favorable wetland habitats. The birds are not all at the same location but are reasonably close to each other in Kaufman and Ellis counties.”

FOTWW contacted Dr. Wade Harrell, U.S. Whooping Crane Coordinator to get his take on the whooping crane movements. Dr. Harrell explained that, “I don’t think we completely know the implications yet. Right now, we are just going to see what they do. They are young birds (2012 cohorts), so aren’t of breeding age yet. I think the positive is that we are getting a better understanding of the breadth of habitat preferences that whoopers have, which seems to be quite broad. That is positive from a long-term recovery perspective. On the flip side, if the birds from the LA reintroduction are spread out across 2 states, this may make it more difficult to establish a breeding population given the number of birds we have available for releases right now.”

The Texas Farm Bureau interviewed Dr. Harrell today about the whooper movements and the following Podcast contains the full interview. Click on arrow to listen:

***** FOTWW’s mission is to protect the Aransas/Wood Buffalo population
of wild whooping cranes and their habitat
. *****

friendsofthewildwhoopers.org logo
friendsofthewildwhoopers.org
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