The legal and policy issues concerning endangered species regulation are challenging and dynamic, in both water resources and land development contexts. Effective advocacy requires understanding of federal and state legal schemes, and the ability to work with regulatory agencies and environmental stakeholders. Our attorneys assist clients who may be affected by listing of species as threatened or endangered or by the designation of critical habitat. Firm attorneys also have broad experience with species listing and critical habitat designation under section 4 of the federal ESA, and consultations and biological opinions under section 7 of the federal ESA, including system-wide consultations of major water projects. Firm attorneys also advise on matters involving the development of habitat conservation plans and Safe Harbor Agreements to obtain incidental take authorization and regulatory assurances under section 10 of the ESA, and related state endangered species laws and conservation planning activities.
In addition, the firm’s attorneys have defended multiple actions brought against water users or wastewater dischargers under the citizen suit provisions of the federal ESA, alleging violations of the section 9 take prohibition. These cases often involve novel questions of causation, legal precedent, and expert testimony.
Somach Simmons & Dunn attorneys also advise clients on compliance with wetland regulation laws, including section 404 of the Clean Water Act, which in turn often triggers endangered species considerations.