Court Denies Temporary Restraining Order to Lift Pumping Restrictions in the Delta

As reported on June 15, 2011 by John Ellis and Mark Grossi of the Fresno Bee, the United States District Court for the Eastern District of California denied a motion for temporary restraining order that sought to order the Department of the Interior to lift pumping restrictions in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta.  Judge Wanger ruled that the pumping restrictions were necessary to protect migrating fall-run Chinook salmon, explaining that under the Central Valley Project Improvement Act (CVPIA) the Bureau of Reclamation (BOR) must protect all fish, not just endangered species.  The San-Luis and Delta Mendota Water Authority and Westlands Water District had argued that under the CVPIA, BOR is obligated to export and store as much water as possible when the Delta is in excess water conditions, which they argued it will be until early July due to the high amount of snow and rain California has received.  The water agencies further argued that  fall-run Chinook are not protected under the Endangered Species Act.

Nossaman’s Endangered Species Law & Policy blog focuses on news, events, and policies affecting endangered species issues in California and throughout the United States. Topics include listing and critical habitat decisions, conservation and recovery planning, inter-agency consultation, and related developments in law, policy, and science. We also inform readers about regulatory and legislative developments, as well as key court decisions.

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