Archive of Previous Federal Actions Affecting Gray Wolf ESA Status
April 2, 2009 Final Rule to Delist the Gray Wolf Western Great Lakes Distinct Population Segment
This Rule is no longer in effect.
In response to a lawsuit that challenged this delisting final rule, the final rule was remanded back to the Service to allow an opportunity for public review and comment.
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The April 2, 2009 Final Rule reinstated and delisted the Gray Wolf - Western Great Lakes Distinct Population Segment (DPS) and became effective May 4, 2009. This Final Rule was published in response to a U.S. District Court's September 29, 2008, ruling in favor of plaintiffs that vacated the February 8, 2007 Final Rule to delist the Gray Wolf - Western Great Lakes DPS and remanded it back to the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (Service) for response to the judge's concerns.
The court ruled in favor of the plaintiffs because, in the judge’s opinion, the Endangered Species Act is ambiguous on the issue of whether a DPS can be identified and delisted simultaneously and, therefore, the Service should have provided an explanation for their interpretation of the ESA. To address the court’s concern, this Rule provides that explanation. Additionally, this rule reinstates and delists the Western Great Lakes DPS.
The court merely asked the Service to provide an explanation of their rationale for identifying and delisting a DPS simultaneously, therefore, this final rule provides that explanation but the remainder of the rule is substantially similar to the vacated final rule (published on Feb. 8, 2007) in form and substance, including the biological and ecological basis for its conclusions. Before issuing the final rule, we verified that no new scientific data exist that would alter our previous analysis of the relevant facts that serve as the basis for the Secretary’s decision to identify the Western Great Lakes DPS and the Secretary’s conclusion that the Western Great Lakes DPS should be removed from the list of threatened and endangered species because it has recovered and no longer meets the criteria for remaining on the list.