Defenders of Wildlife and NRDC v. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers et al.

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Credit: Katie Steiger-Meister/USFWS

In 2015, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers proposed to build a new dam for irrigation purposes on the lower Yellowstone River in eastern Montana. If constructed, this dam would critically harm the endangered pallid sturgeon—an incredible fish that has existed since the age of the dinosaurs but is now barely hanging on in the wild—by blocking access to its spawning habitat. So NRDC and Defenders of Wildlife sued the federal government to protect this species.

We won two preliminary injunctions in the case—one in 2015 and another in 2017—and proposed a win-win alternative solution that would keep the river open and still provide all the water needed for irrigation through pumps and other measures. Unfortunately, in the end, our case did not prevail. In 2018, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit overruled the district court injunction and allowed the project to proceed. 

Our work to protect endangered species continues.

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