Monday April 3, 2023

Courthouse News Service

Environmental groups asked a Ninth Circuit panel to overturn a federal court’s judgment in an action concerning how the federal government manages California’s Central Valley Project and its effects on endangered Chinook salmon. 

The Natural Resources Defense Council appealed a federal judge’s dismissal of the group’s claims that due to populations of protected Chinook salmon dying in the Sacramento River, the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation should have revived consultations regarding the renewal of long-term Central Valley Project water delivery contracts, per the Endangered Species Act.

The judge rejected the environmental groups’ arguments that a 2015 U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service letter stemmed from an inadequate consultation regarding the effects of long-term water contract renewals on delta smelt, and that Reclamation acted unlawfully by relying on the letter to implement the contracts.

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