Description: Challenged biological opinion by Fish and Wildlife Service to protect delta smelt.
San Luis & Delta-Mendota Water Authority v. Salazar
Filing Date Type File Action Taken Summary 12/16/2009 Memorandum of Decision Download Motion to supplement record denied. Plaintiffs filed a motion seeking to supplement the administrative record to include scientific reports and articles concerning the fish and its habitat, including documents concerning climate change and the future of the species. The court denied the motion as to these documents. 05/29/2009 Order Preliminary injunction granted May 2009. The court granted a preliminary injunction in favor of the water authority to prevent until June 30 any federal river flow restrictions aimed at protecting the endangered Delta smelt.The order, which found that plaintiffs are likely to succeed on their claim that the opinion violates the National Environmental Policy Act, enjoins FWS from implementing “unnecessarily restrictive” flow restrictions under its biological opinion “unless and until” it considers the harm its decisions “are likely to cause humans, the community, and the environment.” 03/02/2009 Complaint Complaint filed. Two water districts in California’s Central Valley filed suit challenging a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) biological opinion that was issued in December 2008 with respect to the delta smelt, an endangered fish. The lawsuit alleges that the biological opinion, which imposes restrictions on the pumping of Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta water through the Central Valley, will put farmers out of business and do little to protect the delta smelt. Specifically, the lawsuit alleges that the FWS failed to consider the best available scientific data and was selective in its use of the data, as well as failing to assess the effects of the proposed restrictions as required under the Endangered Species Act. The pumping restrictions would cut water deliveries already reduced as a result of three years of dry weather.