Ninth Circuit Court Upholds Protections for California’s Endangered Salmon

Decision Protects Salmon and Steelhead and the Thousands of Jobs that Depend on a Healthy Fishery

Some of California’s most endangered fish – and the fishermen that rely on salmon for their livelihoods – got a helping hand from the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals today, which released its opinion in the case of San Luis & Delta-Mendota Water, et al v. Pacific Coast Federation etc., et al.

The opinion fully upholds the Endangered Species Act protections for endangered and threatened salmon and steelhead in California. The Marine Fisheries Service’s 2009 biological opinion determined that the proposed operations of the Department of Interior Bureau of Reclamation’s Central Valley Project and California’s State Water Project would jeopardize several runs of salmon, steelhead, and sturgeon, and required the water projects to change the way they pump water out of rivers.

Following is a statement from Kate Poole, Litigation Director of NRDC’s Water Program:

“Thousands of people rely on California’s salmon runs to support themselves and their families. Chinook salmon and steelhead are on the brink of extinction, and this ruling is critical for their continued survival.

“Today’s decision doesn’t change operations in the Delta, but instead confirms that these protections are based on the best available science and comply with the law. It’s a great win for our fishermen and these truly magnificent fish.

“Endangered Species Act Protections are in place for a reason. And despite California’s severe drought and demands on our limited water supplies, we need to remember that by being good stewards of our waterways, we ensure there will be enough water to go around for all of us in the long run.”


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