The California Legislature was the first in the country to protect rare plants and animals through passage of the California Endangered Species Act (CESA) in 1970, Congress followed suit in 1973 by passing the federal Endangered Species Act (ESA).
The federal ESA aims to, “protect and recover imperiled species and the ecosystems upon which they depend.”
The state ESA states that, “all native species of fishes, amphibians, reptiles, birds, mammals, invertebrates, and plants, and their habitats, threatened with extinction and those experiencing a significant decline which, if not halted, would lead to a threatened or endangered designation, will be protected or preserved.”
Imperiled species are defined as follows: “Endangered” if it is in danger of extinction throughout all or a significant portion of its range and “threatened” if it is likely to become an endangered species within the foreseeable future.”
The Colorado River has been dammed, diverted, and slowed by reservoirs, strangling the life out of a once-thriving ecosystem. But in the U.S. and Mexico, efforts are underway to revive sections of the river and restore vital riparian habitat for native plants, fish, and wildlife. Last in a series.
At long last, the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta twin-tunnels boondoggle is dead. Good riddance. Gov. Gavin Newsom made that official Tuesday during his State of the State address, calling instead for a smaller, single-tunnel approach that would include a broad range of projects designed to increase the state’s water supply. Bravo. It’s a refreshing shift from Gov. Jerry Brown’s stubborn insistence that California spend $19 billion on a project that wouldn’t add a drop of new water to the state supply.
The interrelated nature of water issues has given rise to a management approach that integrates flood control, environmental water, and water supply. The Yuba Water Agency manages its watershed in this kind of coordinated manner. We talked to Curt Aikens, the agency’s general manager, about the lessons they’ve learned from this “integrated management” approach.
Two experts from Stanford’s Water in the West program explain the potential impacts on the future of water in California of the proposed plan to downsize the $17 billion Delta twin tunnels project. … Leon Szeptycki, executive director of Stanford’s Water in the West program, and Timothy Quinn, the Landreth Visiting Fellow at Water in the West, discussed the future of water in California and potential impacts of a tunnel system.
Over the past two years, scared off by the anticipated costs of storing water there, Valley agricultural irrigation districts have steadily reduced their ownership shares of Sites. The powerful Metropolitan Water District of Southern California … is nearly as big an investor in Sites as all of the Sacramento Valley farm districts combined. Metropolitan agreed Tuesday to contribute another $4.2 million to help plan the project.
Congressman Kevin McCarthy led his California colleagues in sending letters to the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation requesting a substantial initial water supply allocation to Central Valley Project contractors using authorities under the Water Infrastructure Improvements for the Nation (WIIN) Act. Additionally, he and his colleagues from California also sent a letter to the California Department of Water Resources calling for an increase to the existing water supply allocation to State Water Project contractors given current hydrological conditions.
The Siskiyou County Water Users Association received confirmation that its writ of mandamus, filed with the U.S. Court of Appeals in November, 2018, has been scheduled for the docket early next month. The writ asks the court to compel the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to rule on a motion the SCWUA filed in April, 2018, which attempts to stop the transfer of the dams’ ownership to the KRRC – the nonprofit formed to decommission them.
Lawmakers from both parties said the bill’s most important provision was to permanently reauthorize the federal Land and Water Conservation Fund, which supports conservation and outdoor recreation projects across the country. The program expired last fall after Congress could not agree on language to extend it.
In a major shift in one of the largest proposed public works projects in state history, California Gov. Gavin Newsom on Tuesday announced he does not support former Gov. Jerry Brown’s $19 billion plan to build two massive tunnels under the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta to make it easier to move water from the north to the south. “Let me be direct about where I stand,” Newsom said. “I do not support the twin tunnels. But we can build on the important work that’s already been done. That’s why I do support a single tunnel.”
The Klamath Tribes have made it clear that we are not interested in engaging in water settlement discussions. However, we are very interested in discussions that will protect and enhance our treaty resources.
As a lobbyist and lawyer, David Bernhardt fought for years on behalf of a group of California farmers to weaken Endangered Species Act protections for a finger-size fish, the delta smelt, to gain access to irrigation water. As a top official since 2017 at the Interior Department, Mr. Bernhardt has been finishing the job: He is working to strip away the rules the farmers had hired him to oppose.
A year after Colorado River imports were diverted to urban areas from farms draining into the lake, dire predictions about what would occur are coming to pass. A long-predicted, enormous ecological transition is occurring this winter.
Questions about financial liability and concerns over weighted votes among member agencies of the Central Coast Water Authority prompted the Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors to take no action on transferring the state water contract to that joint-powers agency. … CCWA has been trying to have the contract reassigned since it was formed in 1991, but the Department of Water Resources would not agree to the request because it was unclear if a joint-powers agency could levy a property tax if a member defaulted on financial obligations.
According to the government, the proposed rule is also consistent with the statutory authority granted by Congress, legal precedent, and executive orders. Notably, the proposed definition would eliminate the process of determining whether a “significant nexus” exists between a water and a downstream traditional navigable water.
The latest chapter in the long-running dispute over how to manage water in the Klamath Basin is playing out in northern California communities. … About two dozen protesters are standing along Main Street in Yreka, the seat of Siskiyou County, which lies just across Oregon’s southern border. They’re holding signs saying “Stop The Klamath Dam Scams.”
Wednesday, the California Fish and Game Commission made Klamath-Trinity spring Chinook salmon a candidate for listing under the California Endangered Species Act. The decision was in response to a petition filed last year by the Karuk Tribe and the Salmon River Restoration Council. A final decision to list the species will be made within 12 months; in the meantime Klamath-Trinity Spring Chinook will be afforded all the protections of a listed species.
For decades, the steelhead trout and Chinook salmon trying to complete their instinct-driven trip upstream have been blocked by an impassable concrete structure known as the BART weir, which supports the trains overhead. Within a few years, however, this capturing and relocation may not be necessary as the Alameda County Water District, in conjunction with other public agencies, is investing nearly $70 million in upgrading or replacing rubber dams and building fish ladders.
For every one of the nearly two dozen people who spoke at a public hearing Wednesday in Arcata, removing the dams is both necessary and overdue. Fishing populations have been depleted and stretches of the river have become toxic because it doesn’t flow freely, attendees said at the D Neighborhood Center public hearing. Members of various state agencies, including the state Division of Water Rights and the state Water Resources Control Board, listened and took notes. The agencies’ draft EIR is the latest step in a process spanning many years.
Despite many high priority issues on his plate, one of Gov. Gavin Newsom’s first tests will be how he deals with California’s water challenges and opportunities. Unfortunately, in the last days of his term Gov. Jerry Brown made a bad bargain with the Trump administration and special interests. It’s yet another mess for the new governor to mop up.
While campaigning for president in 2016, Donald Trump promised a cheering Fresno crowd he would be “opening up the water” for Central Valley farmers… Trump took one of the most aggressive steps to date to fulfill that promise Tuesday by proposing to relax environmental regulations governing how water is shared between fish and human uses throughout the Central Valley.
An assortment of groups … joined the legal fray in courts over the State Water Board decision in December to reduce water diversions for farms and cities from the Tuolumne, Stanislaus and Merced rivers. The emotions leading up to the Dec. 12 decision have touched off debate on what exactly could restore a severely impaired delta estuary and depleted salmon populations and what it will cost for Central Valley communities.
The California Fish and Game Commission on Wednesday will consider a petition to list spring run Chinook salmon on the Upper Klamath-Trinity River as threatened or endangered under the California Endangered Species Act. The California Department of Fish and Wildlife is recommending the Fish and Game commission accepts the petition, which was submitted by the Karuk Tribe and the Salmon River Restoration Council in July 2018.
A major deadline just passed without unanimous agreement among Western states over the future of the Colorado River, so the federal government is one step closer to stepping in on the dwindling river that provides water for 1-in-8 Americans. The path forward has become murkier for the drought-stricken region now in its 19th year of low water levels after a January 31 deadline failed to garner signed agreements from Arizona and California.
The California Farm Bureau Federation has filed a lawsuit to block by the State Water Resources Control Board’s plans for the lower river flow of San Joaquin River. In a press release, the Farm Bureau said that the Board’s plan , which was adopted last December, “misrepresents and underestimates the harm it would cause to agricultural resources in the Central Valley”.
President Donald Trump on Monday nominated David Bernhardt, the former top lobbyist for a powerful Fresno-based irrigation district, to run the Department of the Interior, raising renewed questions about whether he’d try to steer more California water to his former clients. … Bernhardt is a former lobbyist for Westlands Water District, which serves farmers in Fresno and Kings counties and is one of the most influential customers of the federal government’s Central Valley Project.
On Tuesday, the Democratic members of the House Committee on Natural Resources elected Huffman to serve as chair for the newly established Water, Ocean and Wildlife Subcommittee. The chair is the result of a long career championing environmental protections and, for Huffman, it’s both an honor and a welcome added responsibility.
Details of the Sacramento River portion of the SWRCB’s plan are still preliminary, but we expect the required water releases to be higher for the Sacramento River, and its tributaries, than they are for the San Joaquin River. SWRCB staff is currently recommending that between 45 and 65 percent of the natural runoff of northern California rivers be allowed to flow to the ocean unimpeded.
The rise of wind and solar power, coupled with the increasing social, environmental and financial costs of hydropower projects, could spell the end of an era of big dams. But even anti-dam activists say it’s too early to declare the demise of large-scale hydro.
A group of Northern California lawmakers seeking more sway over a mammoth $17 billion water project introduced a proposal Friday that would require new construction contracts to be reviewed by the Legislature. The Legislative Delta Caucus says because of the scope of the California WaterFix, the project should require more scrutiny from both the public and lawmakers now that former Gov. Jerry Brown has left office.
The winter rains have caused the biggest surge of coho salmon in a dozen years in the celebrated spawning grounds of western Marin County, one of California’s last great strongholds for the embattled pink fish. At least 648 coho this winter made their way against the current up meandering, forested Lagunitas Creek and its many tributaries on the northwestern side of Mount Tamalpais, according to a new census by biologists.
A partnership between Monterey One Water and the Monterey Peninsula Water Management District, the project is designed to produce up to 3,500 acre-feet of highly treated water per year to the Peninsula for injection into the Seaside basin and later extraction and use by California American Water for its Peninsula customers. … The recycled water project is a key part of the proposed replacement water supply portfolio for the Peninsula to offset the state water board’s Carmel River pumping cutback order.
The 32-page Layperson’s Guide to the Colorado River covers the history of the river’s development; negotiations over division of its water; the items that comprise the Law of the River; and a chronology of significant Colorado River events.
After many years of hard work, North Coast dam removal efforts are now rapidly accelerating. On Friday, Pacific Gas and Electric Co. announced that it is pulling the application to relicense the Potter Valley Project, a series of two dams and a large diversion on the Upper Eel River. On Feb. 6, the California Water Resources Control Board is coming to Arcata to take comments on their final 401 (Clean Water Act) permit to remove four dams on the Klamath River. What does this all mean? Are we really about to see the Eel and Klamath River dams come down?
Five dams across California – including one in Lake County that forms Lake Pillsbury – have been listed as key for removal by an advocacy group in the effort to stop the extinction of native salmon and steelhead. In response to what it calls a “statewide fish extinction crisis,” which indicates 74 percent of California’s native salmon, steelhead and trout species are likely to be extinct in the next century, the fish and watershed conservation nonprofit organization California Trout on Tuesday released its list of the top five dams prime for removal in the golden state.
Maintaining functional wetlands in a 21st-century landscape dominated by agriculture and cities requires a host of hard and soft infrastructures. Canals, pumps, and sluice gates provide critical life support, and the lands are irrigated and tilled in seasonal cycles to essentially farm wildlife. Reams of laws and regulations scaffold the system.
It took more than a decade to create, but a revised state definition of wetlands and procedures to protect them from dredge-and-fill activities requires still more work to make the plan more clear and to reduce its impact on farmers, ranchers and foresters.
A federal appellate court decision issued on January 25, 2019 will affect the relicensing of hydroelectric dams on the Klamath River and efforts to accomplish dam removal under an existing settlement agreement.
The California Department of Fish and Wildlife and the State Water Resources Control Board, or SWRCB, are extending outreach to the cannabis cultivating community with presentations at four permitting workshops in Northern California. The presentations are ideally suited for cannabis cultivators, consultants and anyone interested in the topic. SWRCB will cover policy and permitting, and other important information. Computers will be available for applicants to apply for water rights and water quality permits.
The recent burst of winter rains has helped drive endangered coho salmon up to their spawning grounds in Lagunitas Creek, with surveyors counting the highest number of spawners in 12 years. … Lagunitas Creek supports about 20 percent of the remaining coho salmon between Monterey Bay and Fort Bragg, making it a key recovery area for the threatened species.
The Trump administration is laying the groundwork to enlarge California’s biggest reservoir, the iconic Shasta Dam, north of Redding, by raising its height. It’s a saga that has dragged on for decades, along with the controversy surrounding it. But the latest chapter is likely to set the stage for another showdown between California and the Trump administration.
A federal court of appeals ruled Friday that PacifiCorp, which currently owns and operates several dams along the Klamath River, can no longer continue to use a controversial tactic which has allowed the company to avoid implementing mandatory requirements meant to protect the health of the Klamath River for over a decade. The decision marks a victory for the Hoopa Valley Tribe, who filed the lawsuit, and may expedite the removal of several Klamath River dams.
The rainwater collection system is broken at the environmental research station on a remote, rocky Pacific island off the California coast. So is a crane used to hoist small boats in and out of the water. A two-year supply of diesel fuel for the power generators is almost gone. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service personnel ordinarily would help with such problems. But they haven’t been around since the partial federal government shutdown began a month ago…
Governor Newsom’s first proposed state budget, released earlier this month, addresses several critical water and natural resource management challenges. Here are highlights from his plans to mitigate problems with safe drinking water, improve forest health and reduce the risk of wildfires, and encourage healthy soils to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and increase drought resilience.
Citing impacts to water, soil and people, Jackson County commissioners are asking the state to block a proposed natural gas pipeline through Southern Oregon. The Oregon Department of State Lands is taking comments until Feb. 3 as it considers whether to grant a key permit for the controversial 239-mile pipeline that would stretch through Klamath, Jackson, Douglas and Coos counties to a proposed export terminal north of Coos Bay.
The restoration site is one of three south of the U.S.-Mexico border, in the riparian corridor along the last miles of the Colorado River. There, in the delta, a small amount of water has been reserved for nature, returned to an overallocated river whose flow has otherwise been claimed by cities and farms. Although water snakes through an agricultural canal system to irrigate the restoration sites, another source is increasingly important for restoring these patches of nature in the delta’s riparian corridor: groundwater.
The Santa Clara Valley Water District made a grave miscalculation in suing the State Water Board over the Bay Delta Water Quality Control Plan. By alienating the remnants of the environmental community who have supported them in recent years, they are jeopardizing future projects and funding measures that will require voter approval.
Water issues are notoriously difficult for California governors. Just look at former Gov. Jerry Brown’s floundering tunnels proposal for the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta. Yet two factors suggest that Gov. Gavin Newsom must make water a priority.
In an unprecedented move, the Water Resources Control board voted in December to require water users to leave more water in the lower San Joaquin River to improve water quality and help fish. “This decision represents the water board taking its job to protect the public trust and our fisheries more seriously,” said Regina Chichizola, salmon and water policy analyst for the Institute for Fisheries Resources.
A Dallas-based engineering firm is being tapped to help design California’s plan to bolster its water supply system. Jacobs’ initial $93 million contract is for preliminary and final engineering design of a 15-year program known as California WaterFix. The Golden State’s largest water conveyance project carries a $17 billion pricetag. WaterFix, slated to begin this year, will upgrade 50-year-old infrastructure dependent on levees, which the state said puts clean water supplies at risk from earthquakes and sea-level rise.
Bureau of Reclamation Commissioner Brenda Burman today named Ernest A. Conant director of the Mid-Pacific Region. Conant has nearly 40 years of water law experience and previously served as senior partner of Young Wooldridge, LLP.
Since taking office Jan. 7, Gov. Gavin Newsom has not indicated how he intends to approach one of the state’s most pressing issues: water. Newsom should signal that it’s a new day in California water politics by embracing a more-sustainable water policy that emphasizes conservation and creation of vast supplies of renewable water. The first step should be to announce the twin-tunnels effort is dead.
More water storage projects will not solve the basic fact that the state’s finite amount of water is incapable of meeting all of the demands. This deficit has been created primarily by the transformation of a semi-arid area— the Central Valley — by an infusion of water from northern California.
Heavy rains this week left Lake Mendocino, the North Bay region’s second-largest reservoir, with an extra 2 billion gallons of water that until now officials would have been obliged to release into the Russian River and eventually the Pacific Ocean. Thanks to a $10 million program that blends high-tech weather forecasting with novel computer programming, the Army Corps has the latitude to retain an additional 11,650 acre feet of water, and Lake Mendocino has now impounded a little more than half that much.
When it comes to water, the lifeblood of the Central Valley, Democrats don’t have all the answers. So says freshman Representative Josh Harder, suddenly one of the most powerful Democrats in these parts. … “We need to make sure we’re all working together to advance the agenda of the Central Valley,” continued Harder, 32, of Turlock. “I was very encouraged to see some of the measures the Trump administration put forward on water.”
The State Water Resources Control Board has proposed flow requirements for rivers that feed the Delta based on a percentage of ‘unimpaired flows… If approved, this ‘unimpaired flows’ approach would have significant impacts on farms, communities throughout California and the environment. We join many other water agencies in our belief that alternative measures …
Citing what they say would be a disastrous decision for the region, the Oakdale and South San Joaquin Irrigation Districts have joined with other members of the San Joaquin Tributaries Authority (SJTA) in a lawsuit challenging the state’s right to arbitrarily increase flows in the Stanislaus and two other rivers.
Most of the native habitat in California’s San Joaquin Desert has been converted to row crops and orchards, leaving 35 threatened or endangered species confined to isolated patches of habitat. A significant portion of that farmland, however, is likely to be retired in the coming decades due to groundwater overdraft, soil salinity, and climate change. A new study … found that restoration of fallowed farmland could play a crucial role in habitat protection and restoration strategies for the blunt-nosed leopard lizard and other endangered species.
The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) today released the Delta Conservation Framework as a comprehensive resource and guide for conservation planning in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta through 2050. The framework provides a template for regional and stakeholder-led approaches to restoring ecosystem functions to the Delta landscape.
The McCormack-Williamson Tract restoration project, a 1,500 acre site, lowers the levees on the north side of the island to allow the river to overtop into the site. On the south side, DWR will alleviate the surge flows that pose a risk to neighbors by opening small holes in the levee. 2018 saw the completion of construction of a levee to protect existing infrastructure on the site, as well as progress on habitat restoration plans. For the next phase, DWR will strengthen the interior levees and take steps toward opening the site up to tidal flows.
The confluence of California’s two great rivers, the Sacramento and the San Joaquin, creates the largest estuary on the West Coast of the Americas. Those of us who live here call it, simply, the Delta. It is part of my very fiber, and it is essential to California’s future. That’s why we must save it.
After more than three years, 104 days of testimony, and over twenty-four thousand pages of hearing transcripts, the hearing before the State Water Resources Control Board (State Board) on the proposal to construct two tunnels to convey water under the Delta (aka California WaterFix) is almost completed. Probably, that is: there could be more if the project changes again to a degree that requires additional testimony and/or environmental review.
In an attempt to block the state’s plan to divert more water toward the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta and away from the Bay Area, the Santa Clara Valley Water District has filed a lawsuit arguing the project could significantly reduce the local water supply. If the plan advances, the water district might have to spend millions of dollars to obtain alternate water supplies and pull up more groundwater.
The primary byproduct of desal is brine, which facilities pump back out to sea. The stuff sinks to the seafloor and wreaks havoc on ecosystems, cratering oxygen levels and spiking salt content. … Researchers report today that global desal brine production is 50 percent higher than previous estimates, totaling 141.5 million cubic meters a day, compared to 95 million cubic meters of actual freshwater output from the facilities.
The House approved legislation that would fund and reopen the Interior Department, Environmental Protection Agency and Forest Service in an 240-179 vote on Friday, the latest effort by Democrats to put pressure on Republicans and President Trump to end the partial shutdown. … Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has said he will not bring any of the bills up to a vote in the Senate until there is a deal between Trump and Democrats on the president’s demand for border wall funding.
Standing on a stone bridge overlooking Lagunitas Creek in west Marin County, giddy onlookers observed a male coho salmon swimming upstream toward a nesting area guarded by a female. … This year’s salmon spawning season so far appears to be a mixed bag, with some locations, such as Lagunitas Creek, showing robust activity, and others, including the Russian River in Sonoma County, falling short of expectations.
The State Water Resources Control Board proved back on Dec. 12 that it wasn’t listening to a single thing anyone from our region was saying. By voting to impose draconian and scientifically unjustifiable water restrictions on our region, four of the five board members tuned out dozens of scientists, water professionals and people who live near the rivers.
Last week, the relicensing effort reached a milestone when FERC issued its Final Environmental Impact Statement. The environmental document essentially looks at what changes a licensee has proposed for a specific project, the impacts of those changes and provides conditions they must meet if awarded a new license.
The city of San Francisco is not standing down in California’s latest water war, joining a lawsuit against the state on Thursday to stop it from directing more of the Sierra Nevada’s cool, crisp flows to fish instead of people.
A coalition of groups interested in salmon recovery — California Sea Grant’s Russian River Salmon and Steelhead Monitoring Program (CSG), Russian River Coho Salmon Captive Broodstock Program and Gold Ridge Resource Conservation District (RCD) — are working together and with local landowners to see if unexplored areas of these local watersheds might hold the key to the recovery of native coho salmon populations.
A lawsuit seeking a new environmental report for the controversial Poseidon desalination plant proposed for Huntington Beach was rejected by a Sacramento Superior Court judge on Tuesday. Judge Richard Sueyoshi found the supplemental report met legal requirements while noting the 2010 study had never been legally challenged.
The U.S. Interior Department is facing three lawsuits filed by three environmental groups who allege its plans for the 200,000-acre Klamath Basin National Wildlife Refuge Complex along the Oregon-California border violates several federal laws. A fourth complaint from six farms and agricultural groups alleges the agency has unlawfully exceeded its authority by restricting leases of refuge land for agricultural purposes.
Mount, a senior fellow at the Water Policy Center at the Public Policy Institute of California, spoke recently about managing freshwater systems with ecosystem water budgets. “I will argue that drought, because of the way we have modified this system, is the major bottleneck ecologically,” he said. “Step 1 has to be thinking about drought: how to mitigate drought and how to deal with drought – that is plan for, respond to, and recover from drought. We don’t do that at all, even though we just had this big drought.”
The Governor’s Office of Planning and Research has spent five years drafting a comprehensive update to 30 sections of the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) guidelines. Several changes to the Guidelines address two hot button topics: global climate change and statewide affordable housing shortages. Many of the changes will significantly alter the application of CEQA to future projects.
As his term as governor drew to a close, Jerry Brown brokered a historic agreement among farms and cities to surrender billions of gallons of water to help ailing fish. He also made two big water deals with the Trump administration. It added up to a dizzying display of deal-making. Yet as Gavin Newsom takes over as governor, the state of water in California seems as unsettled as ever.
Jon Rosenfield: Last month the State Water Resources Control Board finally required increased flows from three San Joaquin River tributaries, as the first step in a process to update water quality standards for the San Francisco Bay estuary. The board opted for weaker environmental protections in order to reduce impacts to agribusiness and San Francisco, ignoring the potential for changed agricultural practices and investment in sustainable water use to ease or eliminate the impact of reduced water diversions.
The growing leadership of women in water. The Colorado River’s persistent drought and efforts to sign off on a plan to avert worse shortfalls of water from the river. And in California’s Central Valley, promising solutions to vexing water resource challenges.
These were among the topics that Western Water news explored in 2018.
We’re already planning a full slate of stories for 2019. You can sign up here to be alerted when new stories are published. In the meantime, take a look at what we dove into in 2018:
The report issued by California’s State Water Resources Control Board marks a key step in a decade-long effort to remove four hydroelectric dams and restore the health of the Klamath River. The dam-removal project is part of a broader effort by California, Oregon, federal agencies, Klamath Basin tribes, water users and conservation organizations to revitalize the basin, advance recovery of fisheries, uphold trust responsibilities to the tribes, and sustain the region’s farming and ranching heritage.
Prompted by the collapse of fish populations, the State Water Resources Control Board is trying to prevent humans from totally drying up these rivers each year. The regulators’ lodestar for how much water the rivers need is the amount of water a Chinook salmon needs to migrate.
CANCELED: The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will hold one hearing to provide interested parties the opportunity to present data, views, or information concerning the proposed rule changes affecting wetlands and ephemeral waters.
The Trump administration moved forward Thursday with plans to ease restrictions on oil and natural gas drilling and other activities across millions of acres in the American West that were put in place to protect an imperiled bird species. Land management documents released by the U.S. Interior Department show the administration intends to open more public lands to leasing and allow waivers for drilling to encroach into the habitat of greater sage grouse.
A trio of tiny salamanders could stand in the way of a massive $1.4 billion project to raise the height of Shasta Dam. An environmental organization has filed a lawsuit against the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, asking a judge to force the federal agency to make a determination on whether three salamander species living around Lake Shasta should be protected under the Endangered Species Act.
The gray wolf has been in danger in recent weeks of losing the federal protection that for decades has kept it from being hunted. But the congressional ardor to end the protection — and make it easier to trap or shoot the wolves — is fading fast.
California’s most senior Democrat and most powerful Republican in Washington are teaming up to extend a federal law designed to deliver more Northern California water south, despite the objections of some of the state’s environmentalists. While controversial, the language in their proposal could help settle the contentious negotiations currently underway in Sacramento on Delta water flows — the lifeblood of California agriculture as well as endangered salmon and smelt.
The Trump administration has listed fewer species as threatened or endangered in its first 22 months than any other president since Ronald Reagan over the same period, according to data reviewed by Bloomberg Environment.
The Supreme Court unanimously ruled on Tuesday that an appeals court must take a fresh look at whether the Fish and Wildlife Service had gone too far in its attempt to protect an endangered species, the dusky gopher frog. The species is in danger of extinction, and the only known remaining frogs live in the De Soto National Forest in Mississippi.
The Supreme Court in a unanimous decision on Tuesday limited the reach of the Endangered Species Act, ruling that the government can designate a protected “habitat” only in areas where a threatened animal now lives.
The Klamath Tribes on Thursday announced they have withdrawn a lawsuit regarding lake levels in Upper Klamath Lake against the Bureau of Reclamation. The lawsuit was awaiting a court date in Portland, after being moved from a federal court in San Francisco court in July by U.S. District Judge William Orrick.
Scientists have developed a new tool that could help conservation agencies make a tough decision: How to prioritize the growing number of endangered species. Faced with limited funding, conservation managers face the conundrum of how to allocate inadequate resources to recover as many species as possible. That’s why a team of scientists and researchers from Arizona State University, along with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, developed the data tool, called Recovery Explorer.
Federal authorities violated a federal law aimed at preserving endangered species by planning to shrink the territory of the only red wolves living in the wild, a federal judge ruled in blocking a move that environmentalists said would hasten the animal’s demise.
In the process of removing the San Clemente Dam in 2015, workers created a pristine route for the Carmel River, complete with step pools and nicely arranged boulders. Winter floods have since transformed the river route into anything but pristine, but the “messy” course has been good for the native steelhead.
Environmentalists are celebrating a temporary victory after more than 1 million acres of federal land was pulled from an upcoming oil and gas auction in greater sage grouse habitat in Nevada and elsewhere.
Alvin Thoma’s youngest son was born the year his employer, Pacific Gas & Electric Co., began the process of renewing the license for its Upper North Fork Feather River hydropower facility in northern California. His son is 19 years old now. The facility, however, is still undergoing relicensing. … And federal help isn’t coming quickly.
The parade of trailer trucks rolling through Jay Butler’s dusty ranch is a precursor to a new fracking boom on the vast federal lands of Wyoming and across the West. … Like the acreage offered for lease, the acreage actually leased by energy companies on federal lands hit its highest level last year since 2012, the height of the initial fracking boom in the United States.
An Indian Springs man has been sentenced to one year and one day in prison for breaking into a National Park Service site in Nye County and disturbing the only home for one of the world’s rarest types of fish. Trenton Sargent, 28, also was sentenced to three years of supervised release, according to an announcement Thursday by the park service and the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
A coalition of environmental groups has sued to stop the Trump administration from speeding construction of the first phase of southern border wall construction by waiving dozens of landmark environmental laws meant to protect air and water quality, public lands and wildlife.
A Wyoming property rights attorney who’s long criticized what she calls federal overreach over public land management will take a position as one of the U.S. Department of Interior’s top litigators. The DOI confirmed in an email Monday that Karen Budd-Falen will join the agency as deputy solicitor for parks and wildlife.
The Hoopa Valley Tribe is suing federal agencies for allegedly failing to reduce the numbers of endangered Coho salmon killed by fisheries in the Pacific Ocean, the tribe announced Wednesday. “Hoopa is making every effort to recover Coho salmon with this lawsuit,” said Vivienna Orcutt, a Hoopa tribal council member.
Williamson Rock is a sheer granite wall that rises from chaparral in the San Gabriel Mountains National Monument. Crisscrossed with 300 routes, it has been a proving ground for Southern California rock climbers since the 1960s. But in a move that outraged many in the climbing community, the area was shut down in 2005 to protect an isolated colony of federally endangered Southern California mountain yellow-legged frogs from being trampled.
Another rare Colorado River fish has been pulled back from the brink of extinction, the second comeback this year for a species unique to the Southwestern U.S. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service plans to announce Thursday that it will recommend reclassifying the ancient and odd-looking razorback sucker from endangered to threatened, meaning it is still at risk of extinction, but the danger is no longer immediate.
A rare bird found only in Colorado and Utah will stay on the endangered species list, at least for now, a U.S. district judge said Friday. The judge upheld a 2014 decision by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to protect the Gunnison sage grouse as a threatened species and to designate more than 2,200 square miles (5,800 square kilometers) of land as critical habitat.
The Supreme Court will open its new term Monday with a hapless frog from Mississippi. The dusky gopher frog is at the center of a high-stakes case that could shape endangered species protections for years to come.
Galvanized by court rulings protecting grizzly bears and gray wolves, Congressional Republicans on Wednesday pushed sweeping changes to the Endangered Species Act despite strong objections from Democrats and wildlife advocates who called the effort a “wildlife extinction package.” Republicans began with a morning vote in the House Natural Resource Committee to strip protections from gray wolves across the contiguous U.S.
A ruling Monday determined the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service must reconsider the denial of Endangered Species Act protection for Pacific fishers. Environmental groups are calling the ruling by a judge in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California a win.
A top Trump administration official on Monday defended a plan to revamp the Endangered Species Act, saying the proposed changes would result in more effective, quicker decisions on species protection. Deputy Interior Secretary David Bernhardt dismissed criticism by environmental groups that the plan would “gut” crucial protections for threatened animals and plants.
Water means life for all the Grand Canyon’s inhabitants, including the many varieties of insects that are a foundation of the ecosystem’s food web. But hydropower operations upstream on the Colorado River at Glen Canyon Dam, in Northern Arizona near the Utah border, disrupt the natural pace of insect reproduction as the river rises and falls, sometimes dramatically. Eggs deposited at the river’s edge are often left high and dry and their loss directly affects available food for endangered fish such as the humpback chub.
An hour’s drive north of Sacramento sits a picture-perfect valley hugging the eastern foothills of Northern California’s Coast Range, with golden hills framing grasslands mostly used for cattle grazing.
Back in the late 1800s, pioneer John Sites built his ranch there and a small township, now gone, bore his name. Today, the community of a handful of families and ranchers still maintains a proud heritage.
The marbled murrelet is a small seabird whose diminutive size belies a fierce imperative to survive. It soars over the waters of the northern Pacific Ocean, but will fly as far as 50 miles inland to nest in the old growth forests of Washington, Oregon and California. Below, the western pond turtle, with its low and broad carapace, paddles in the placid waters of lakes, rivers and streams.
The California Fish and Game Commission voted unanimously to list the Humboldt marten as an endangered species under the California Endangered Species Act on Thursday during its monthly meeting which was held in Fortuna over the past two days. “This means it is now protected under the California Endangered Species Act and cannot be taken (killed) except under special conditions,” said Jordan Traverso, a spokesman for the California Department of Fish and Wildlife.
Farmers in the Central Valley are broiling about California’s plan to increase flows in the Sacramento and San Joaquin river systems to help struggling salmon runs avoid extinction. But in one corner of the fertile breadbasket, River Garden Farms is taking part in some extraordinary efforts to provide the embattled fish with refuge from predators and enough food to eat.
And while there is no direct benefit to one farm’s voluntary actions, the belief is what’s good for the fish is good for the farmers.
The California Fish and Game Commission is set to decide at its meeting in Fortuna Thursday whether to list two local species as endangered species: the weasel-like Humboldt marten and the high-altitude flower, the Lassics lupine. Commission staff are recommending both species be listed.
Twenty-three million dollars will be swept from the “Basin Fund” which supports Grand Canyon research and ensures Glen Canyon Dam operates in compliance with federal laws like the Endangered Species Act. Hydropower revenues have funded this work for more than two decades.
President Trump’s tweets have become federal wildfire policy. … Some experts and advocates said the directive to temporarily bypass the Endangered Species Act is political theater. It’s unlikely to help douse the historic fires in California, and it probably won’t threaten vulnerable species, either. But it could lend weight to Trump’s version of events.
The Trump Administration appears to be bringing President Trump’s recent tweets about California’s wildfires and environmental laws to life. U.S. Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross has directed fisheries officials to “facilitate” access to water in order to aid in firefighting efforts in California.
Judge William H. Orrick has denied the motion for preliminary injunction to protect endangered Lost River and shortnose sucker, and granted a motion to transfer the case to an Oregon court, according to the opinion Orrick released Wednesday. … The case involves the Klamath Tribes lawsuit filed against the Bureau of Reclamation, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and National Marine Fisheries Service.
The Fish and Wildlife Service today [July 27] killed an Obama administration environmental mitigation policy that aimed to improve or, at a minimum, maintain the status of affected natural resources when considering permits and projects. The much-anticipated rollback of the “net conservation gain” goal also includes restoring an overall mitigation policy from the Reagan administration.
Protecting winter-run chinook salmon that pass under the Golden Gate Bridge from November through May could be a key in the survival of killer whales that appear off Point Reyes, according to a new report. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Fisheries has developed a priority list of West Coast chinook salmon stocks that are important to the recovery of federally endangered “southern resident” killer whales.
The Trump administration is seeking to alter key provisions of the Endangered Species Act, a 45-year-old federal law that has shaped growth in Sonoma County during repeated battles between builders attempting to develop land and environmentalists seeking to protect rare plants and animals.
When the Endangered Species Act passed in the Senate 45 years ago this month, not one member voted against it. As University of California at Berkeley law professor Holly Doremus has chronicled, the bill’s 1973 passage “went almost unnoticed by the national press” and was seen as a unanimous win for conservation.
The Endangered Species Act, which for 45 years has safeguarded fragile wildlife while blocking ranching, logging and oil drilling on protected habitats, is coming under attack from lawmakers, the White House and industry on a scale not seen in decades, driven partly by fears that the Republicans will lose ground in November’s midterm elections.
The Department of the Interior announced Thursday controversial plans to roll back core provisions of the Endangered Species Act, a move aimed at reducing the burdens of such safeguards on landowners, industry and governments.
The Pentagon is objecting to a Republican proposal in a defense policy bill that would bar the Fish and Wildlife Service from using the Endangered Species Act to protect two chicken-like birds in the western half of the U.S.
The Klamath Tribes of Oregon are alleging in a lawsuit filed last week that federal agencies are failing to protect endangered sucker fish in Upper Klamath Lake. The lawsuit has many similarities to a lawsuit filed by local tribes and environmental groups in 2016 alleging the same but for threatened Klamath River Coho salmon, which ended with a judge ruling in their favor.
We traveled deep into California’s water hub and traverse the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, a 720,000-acre network of islands and canals that supports the state’s water system and is California’s most crucial water and ecological resource. The tour made its way to San Francisco Bay, and included a ferry ride.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service acted illegally in 2015 when it denied Endangered Species Act protection for a distinct population of bi-state sage grouse in California and Nevada, a federal judge ruled Tuesday. U.S. District Chief Magistrate Judge Joseph Spero in San Francisco said in an 85-page opinion that the agency ignored its own best scientific evidence when it reversed course three years ago on its 2013 proposal to declare the bird threatened.
Senior Democratic lawmakers are launching a peremptory strike against a potential Fish and Wildlife Service change in how threatened species are protected. The revisions to what insiders know as the “blanket 4(d) rule” are still in draft form and might never formally surface. The very idea, though, spooks some on Capitol Hill, and that, in turn, opens another front in the perpetual Endangered Species Act dust-up (E&E News PM, April 4).
Interior officials said the six draft resource management plan amendments — including one that covers both Nevada and a portion of northeastern California — would give states more flexibility to administer conservation efforts to protect the threatened bird without hindering economic development.
The Trump administration wants to ease restrictions on oil and gas leasing and other activities across a huge swath of the American West that were put in place to protect an imperiled bird. The move involves conservation plans for greater sage grouse approved in 2015 under former President Barack Obama.
A pair of lawsuits filed Monday target the Trump administration’s sale of oil and gas leases on huge swaths of Western public lands that contain crucial habitat for an imperiled bird. … Many of the parcels in dispute are home to greater sage grouse, a chicken-sized, ground-dwelling bird that ranges across portions of 11 Western states.
A decision by California’s largest water supplier on April 10 ended months of uncertainty over its role in the funding of California Water Fix, the state’s plan to build new water conveyance infrastructure in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta. … Financing is not the only issue that needs to be addressed. There is still a long list of regulatory and legal hurdles the project needs to clear.
A controversial plan to log miles of Gualala River floodplain, including nearly century-old redwood trees just outside Gualala Point Regional Park, is back on track, setting the stage for a showdown in court or perhaps among the trees themselves.
Interior Department official Susan Combs’ history with the black-capped vireo is about to thicken. As a Texas state official, Combs once cited the bird as an example of how negotiated agreements rather than “additional regulations” can best protect vulnerable species.
Animal rights advocates announced a lawsuit against the federal government on Wednesday in a bid to make a Montana mustang population the first group of wild horses to be protected under the Endangered Species Act. A prior attempt to secure protections for wild horses across the western U.S. as imperiled wildlife failed.
Susan Combs, a former Texas state official who compared proposed endangered species listings to “incoming Scud missiles” and continued to fight the Endangered Species Act after she left government, now has a role in overseeing federal wildlife policy.
Under the rules of the Endangered Species Act, once a species is discovered to be at risk of extinction, government agencies are required by law to take steps to save it. For years, critics have challenged that mandate, arguing that it undercuts the ability to weigh a species’ value or to consider the economic impact of its preservation — for instance, the cost of prohibiting logging in a valuable tract of forest.
After reviewing the Karuk Tribe’s November petition to recognize the spring-run salmon as a separate species from its fall-run counterparts and to list them as an endangered species, the National Marine Fisheries Service this week found the tribe’s request “may be warranted.” The federal agency will now begin a 12-month review before making a final decision on the tribe’s requests.
They are enduring symbols of the vast Mojave Desert, but Joshua trees don’t grow everywhere. Even here in the Grapevine Mesa Joshua Tree Forest, a National Natural Landmark since 1967, you can see where the trees thin out and stop as the land rises sharply to the east.
Does California need to revamp the way in which water is dedicated to the environment to better protect fish and the ecosystem at large? In the hypersensitive world of California water, where differences over who gets what can result in epic legislative and legal battles, the idea sparks a combination of fear, uncertainty and promise.
Saying that the way California manages water for the environment “isn’t working for anyone,” the Public Policy Institute of California (PPIC) shook things up late last year by proposing a redesigned regulatory system featuring what they described as water ecosystem plans and water budgets with allocations set aside for the environment.
In an unexpected announcement with potentially dramatic consequences for the California desert, the Trump administration said Thursday it will reconsider an Obama-era conservation plan that blocks energy development across millions of acres stretching from the Mexican border to the Owens Valley and encourages solar and wind farms in more limited areas.
Federal officials have agreed to cede authority over projects that would destroy vernal pools to San Diego officials. In exchange, the city has agreed to protect many vernal pools and abide by a clear set of rules endorsed by federal officials.
Since the Endangered Species Act became law in 1973, the U.S. government has played a critical role in protecting endangered and threatened species. But while the law is overwhelmingly popular with the American public, critics in Congress are proposing to significantly reduce federal authority to manage endangered species and delegate much of this role to state governments.
The Interior Department is working on possible Endangered Species Act changes, in a move that alarms environmentalists but could gratify Westerners and others unhappy with the current law. While the details and timing remain under wraps, Interior officials made public their general intentions as part of the Trump administration’s Unified Agenda issued Thursday.
The House Resources Committee has approved five different bills its members say will modernize the Endangered Species Act, passed in 1973. Critics accurately say the bills would gut the law, which hasn’t had a major rewrite since the 1980s. The law is a powerful statement in defense of creation that requires the federal government to protect all species, a message that goes all the way back to Noah’s Ark.
This tour travels deep into California’s water hub and traverses the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, a 720,000-acre network of islands and canals that supports the state’s water system and is California’s most crucial water and ecological resource. The tour will make its way to San Francisco Bay and includes a ferry ride.
The congressman who said he “would love to invalidate” the Endangered Species Act is closing in on his goal. Rep. Rob Bishop (R-Utah) recently shepherded five bills out of the Natural Resources Committee he chairs that would dismantle the law piece by piece.
A prehistoric fish that looks like it dropped straight out of the dinosaur age has found its way back to the San Joaquin River watershed. Biologists have confirmed the presence of a green sturgeon — a threatened species under the federal Endangered Species Act — in the Stanislaus River near Knights Ferry.
In Southern California, the mountain yellow-legged frog, of which there were about 400 living in remote, drying streams in the San Gabriel, San Bernardino and San Jacinto mountains, could face a hard winter after fires destroyed their habitat.
When Bay Area steelhead were listed as threatened under the federal Endangered Species Act in 1997, [Jeff] Miller suddenly had a lot of help realizing his dream of restoring migratory fish in the Bay Area. … Since then, local, state and federal agencies and organizations have collaborated on restoring steelhead in Alameda Creek.
The Interior Department said Thursday it is withdrawing protections for 10 million acres of federal lands used by the threatened sage grouse to open it up for energy development. … The proposal would affect less than one-tenth of 1 percent of sage grouse-occupied range across 11 states from California to the Dakotas, officials said.
The Interior Department intends this week to publish a formal notice of intent to amend 98 sage grouse habitat management plans across 10 states, according to multiple agency and state officials who have been briefed on the effort. Those plans, completed in 2015, were adopted after a decade of negotiations among conservationists, sportsmen and extraction industries as well as federal, state, local and tribal authorities.
Tommy Williams rips through an Alka Seltzer packet, dropping the antacids into a bucket of water teeming with juvenile steelhead trout. He has several minutes to work before the anesthetizing effect wears off and the fish wake up.
Western monarch butterflies, which crowd trees along the California coast every winter and flush them with color, have declined so dramatically since the 1980s that the species will likely go extinct in the next few decades if nothing is done, scientists said Thursday in a population study of the treasured creatures.
A plan to enhance steelhead trout rearing and holding habitat in the Carmel River Lagoon by placing tons of organic materials in the waterway is on schedule to come to fruition on Sept. 20 after nine years of preparation.
Endangered California frogs are getting an immunity boost from scientists who are scooping them up from remote Sierra Nevada ponds and sending them to big city zoos for inoculation, giving them a fighting chance to beat extinction, officials said Wednesday.
Shy of 3 inches with skin in muddy shades of red, green or brown, the foothill yellow-legged frog is unremarkable at first glance. Flipping it over, however, reveals the signature gold shading of its legs and lower abdomen that leads some to exclaim its beauty.
A study published Wednesday by researchers at UC Davis may have major conservation implications for salmon in California and the Pacific Northwest. The study provides new evidence that “springers” and other salmon that migrate upstream from the ocean to spawn early in the year are genetically different than later migrating populations.
One little bird is raising big hopes for the re-wilding of a special species. A fuzzy gray condor chick — the first-ever “second generation” wild-born condor in a long and hard recovery plan for the endangered birds — has been discovered in a redwood tree in Big Sur.
The Interior Department has unveiled a plan to protect the threatened sage grouse that gives Western states greater flexibility to allow mining, logging and other economic development where it now is prohibited.
The California Farm Bureau and two ranchers’ associations sued the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service on Monday, challenging a year-old decision to designate more than 1.8 million acres of rural California as “critical habitat” for three species of frogs and toads that are protected by the Endangered Species Act.
On its face, S.O. [Secretarial Order] 3353 sounds innocuous enough: It establishes a team within the U.S. Department of the Interior to review the state-federal conservation strategy that led the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) to determine that the greater sage-grouse did not need the protection of the Endangered Species Act of 1973 (ESA).
The Endangered Species Act will come in for a spanking and a possible face-lift Wednesday as the House Natural Resources Committee holds a hearing on five ESA-related bills. Authored by four Republicans and one rural Democrat, the individual measures pick away at several pieces of the 1973 law that’s outlasted many previous congressional forays.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the National Marine Fisheries Service concluded that the construction of new diversion points on the Sacramento River and two massive water tunnels would not jeopardize the existence of endangered species in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, which is the hub of California’s waterworks.
For the first time in more than four decades, the Yellowstone grizzly bear is set to lose its federal protections under the Endangered Species Act. Citing a rebound in the bear’s population, the U.S. Department of Interior announced its intention Thursday to end these protections and return oversight of the animal’s status to the state level.
The Trump administration on Monday threw out a new rule intended to limit the number of endangered whales and sea turtles caught in fishing nets off the West Coast, saying existing protections were already working.
The Trump administration announced Monday that it has canceled proposed limits on the number of endangered whales, dolphins and sea turtles that can be killed or injured by sword-fishing nets on the West Coast.
The population of black abalone, which live in the inter-tidal waters off California and Mexico, has been decimated by more than 80 percent in the past three decades as a result of Withering Syndrome and habitat destruction. … Meanwhile, the Fuscus sea cucumber is protected under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species.
The Obama administration’s plan to save the greater sage grouse was widely heralded as a landmark moment in collaborative conservation when, nearly two years ago, former Interior Secretary Sally Jewell announced the effort to protect the rare Western bird.
A Western snowy plover chick that hatched on an Oregon beach this spring is the first of its species to emerge successfully in that area in more than 50 years and provides hope that a management plan for the federally threatened species is working, wildlife officials said Wednesday.
California’s ambitious plan to tunnel under the West’s largest estuary has always had two primary goals: to restore imperiled native fish and to improve water deliveries to farms and cities. An early analysis by federal wildlife agencies, however, indicates the project might make life worse for fish.
California Democrats are moving a bill through the Legislature that would require the state to have environmental laws that are equal to or tougher than regulations in the federal endangered species, clean air, and clean water acts. Those laws were signed by then-President Richard Nixon in the 1970s, ushering in a new era of environmental protections.
On Tuesday, a federal judge overturned a decision by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in April 2014 that denied the Humboldt marten a listing as an endangered species. A lawsuit filed by both the Environmental Protection Information Center and the Center for Biological Diversity spurred the decision.
Worried about having to relinquish too much reservoir water and saddle Bay Area customers with restrictions on their taps, San Francisco officials plan to unveil a counterproposal Friday that they say restores river habitat and helps fish while maintaining water for cities and farms. … The plan already has sparked an unusual alliance between San Francisco and the Central Valley agricultural communities along the Tuolumne.
The “raven no-fly zones” will be part of the largest effort ever to relocate tortoises — an initiative the Marine Corps is attempting in exchange for congressional approval to expand the Air Ground Combat Center at Twentynine Palms by about 165 square miles in prime tortoise habitat.
Fearing a federal rollback of longstanding protections for air quality, clean water, endangered species and workers’ rights, California Democrats are pursuing legislation that would cement those environmental and labor regulations in state law.
Last May, Donald Trump stood in an arena full of farmers from California’s desiccated Central Valley and said words many yearned to hear: “If I win, believe me, we’re going to start opening up the water.”
A federal appeals court Thursday revived a sweeping lawsuit accusing the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency of endangering scores of protected species by approving toxic pesticides without required consultation with wildlife officials.
The federal government asked an appeals court Wednesday to overturn an order that bars the release of endangered wolves in New Mexico without the state’s permission, a skirmish in a broader battle over states’ rights and the Endangered Species Act.
The House on Thursday overwhelmingly approved the biggest federal reset of California water use in a generation, setting the stage for easier dam-building, more recycling and potentially happier Central Valley farmers.
Two federal agencies are the target of a second lawsuit alleging they violated the Endangered Species Act by allowing up to 90 percent of juvenile Klamath River coho salmon to become infected by an intestinal parasite in 2014 and 2015.
A controversial California water bill that’s sparked years of fighting has been added to a fast-moving measure, boosting the chance the water measures will pass Congress but sharply dividing the state’s U.S. senators.
House Republican leaders and California’s senior senator announced Monday a new attempt to pass legislation that would increase water deliveries to San Joaquin Valley agribusiness and Southern California.