On 27 July 2017, the California Sportfishing Protection Alliance, joined by the California Water Impact Network and AquAlliance, filed a motion for summary judgment in our pattern and practice and public trust lawsuit against the State Water Resources Control Board. The lawsuit was originally filed in August 2015 and following a series of procedural motions was scheduled for trial this coming November.
CSPA et al. seeks an order from the court that there are no triable issues of material fact and that we are entitled to judgment as a matter of law on our claims that the State Water Board adopted patterns and practices of violating their mandatory duties under the Public Trust Doctrine and the federal Clean Water Act to maintain minimum adequate flows and water quality for the protection of fisheries. If CSPA prevails on its summary judgment motion, the scheduled trial will be unnecessary. A hearing on the matter is tentatively scheduled for 10 October 2017.
The lawsuit stemmed from the State Water Board’s repeated weakening and waiving of legally adopted water quality and flow standards critical to fisheries in the Delta and the Sacramento and San Joaquin Rivers. These illegal actions followed requests by the Department of Water Resources and U.S. Bureau of Reclamation to relax standards whenever compliance conflicted with the need to divert and export water. The serial weakening of standards is a major reason the already degraded anadromous and pelagic fisheries of the Central Valley have continued to decline.