A New York federal judge has ruled that the Department of the Interior’s 2017 opinion that the Migratory Bird Treaty Act does not allow for criminal prosecution of incidental killing of birds is contrary to law.
Federal Judge Vacates Weakened Migratory Bird Protections
FWS Revises List of Birds Protected by Migratory Bird Treaty Act
The Fish and Wildlife Service has issued a final rule, amending the species of birds protected under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act. In addition to correcting the spelling and taxonomy of some species, the rule adds 75 species to the list and removes eight. In conjunction with this final rule, the agency has published an amended list of the nonnative species of birds to which the Migratory Bird Treaty Act does not apply.
FWS Announces Plans to Prepare EIS for Limitation of Migratory Bird Treaty Act Application
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has announced it will prepare an Environmental Impact Statement, as required under the National Environmental Policy Act, for its proposal to limit the application of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act to only intentional, not incidental, takes. The agency will consider all comments on the scope of the draft environmental review received by March 19, 2020.
Fish and Wildlife Service Proposes Codification of Relaxed MBTA Policy
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has proposed to codify a policy that eliminates criminal penalties for incidental takes of migratory birds under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act. The agency is accepting comments on the proposal until March 19, 2020. Meanwhile, the unofficial policy is already being challenged in federal court by the Center for Biological Diversity.
Fish and Wildlife Service Proposes Changes to Migratory Bird Treaty Act
The Fish and Wildlife Service has proposed several changes to a previously published proposed rule related to the Migratory Bird Treaty Act. The new changes involve removing the European Turtle-Dove from species that quality for protection under the MBTA, adding 10 additional species that qualify for protection, and revising a number of common and scientific names to conform to accepted use. The comment period is reopened until December 12, 2019.
FWS Considers Migratory Bird Hunting Regulations
The Fish and Wildlife Service has proposed to establish hunting regulations of migratory birds for the 2020-21 hunting season. The proposal includes a regulatory schedule, announces committee meetings, and describes regulatory alternatives for duck hunting. Comments are accepted until November 15.
Bill Would Authorize Additional Duck Hunting
The Migratory Bird Framework and Hunting Opportunities for Veterans Act would set the standard closing date of duck hunting season at January 31 (as opposed to allowing the states to select the closing date) and would allow states to open 4 additional days of hunting season open to youths and veterans seeking to hunt ducks, mergansers, and coots.