Who is CSPA?

The California Sportfishing Protection Alliance (CSPA) is a collection of committed activists with several centuries of combined experience in the trenches of the administrative, legislative and judicial processes affecting fisheries, water rights and water quality. It is within these arenas that the battles to protect the fisheries and water quality of our waterways are won or lost.

California has many laws protecting fisheries and water quality but a poor track record of enforcing them. CSPA monitors the water rights and water quality processes, and where necessary, enforces laws enacted to protect the aquatic environment. We have developed working relationships with state and federal agencies and legislators and closely collaborate with other fishing and environmental organizations, including the Environmental Water Caucus. For example, we:

Water Rights

Submit formal comments, complaints, protests and petitions and participate in evidentiary proceedings concerning water rights, public trust, water transfers, water quality control plans and unreasonable use and method of diversion issues before the State Water Resources Control Board.

Water Quality

Review, submit comments and participate in administrative proceedings before both the State Water Resources Control Board and Regional Water Quality Control Boards regarding proposed NPDES Permits, 401 Certifications, Waste Discharge Requirements or waivers of WDRs issued pursuant to state and federal clean water statutes.


Submit comments, complaints, petitions and interventions and participate in formal proceedings before the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission regarding hydroelectric project licenses that affect fisheries. CSPA is a steering committee member of the California Hydropower Reform Coalition.

Environmental Review

Review, analyze and submit detailed comments on California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) and National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) documents pertaining to projects affecting the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta and waterways throughout California.

Policy Development and Rulemaking

Participate in numerous State Water Board and Regional Water Board proceedings related to policy development, promulgation of water quality criteria, impaired waterbody listings, TMDLs, Basin Plan amendments, enforcement actions, etc.

Fisheries Habitat

Review and submit comments on biological opinions, critical habitat designation, streambed alteration and 404 dredging permits issued by National Marine Fisheries Service, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Army Corps of Engineers and California Department of Fish and Game.


Monitor legislative agendas and participate, throughout the legislative process, regarding proposed legislation affecting fisheries and water quality.

Delta Protection

Monitor actions related to the San Francisco Bay-Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta Estuary. CSPA has been intricately involved in virtually every proceeding involving the Bay-Delta from the evidentiary hearings in the 1980s through CalFed, Delta Vision, the Bay Delta Conservation Plan efforts to construct a peripheral canal and the Delta Stewardship Committee’s development of a Delta Plan.


Conduct projects designed to restore degraded habitat. For example, CSPA is presently managing a half-million dollar restoration project to reestablish steelhead to their historical watershed in Suisun Creek.


Investigate and, where necessary, initiate enforcement actions against violators of environmental laws established to protect fisheries, habitat and water quality. As of this writing (29 December 2010), CSPA has an ongoing docket of some forty-five legal actions to protect water and fish. These include some 30 current enforcement actions against violators of water quality statutes, as well as agency lawsuits against the State Water Resources Control Board, Central Valley Regional Water Board, California Department of Water Resources, California Department of Fish and Game, U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, etc. for violation of environmental laws or the failure to enforce those laws. CSPA’s enforcement efforts have resulted in literally millions of mitigation dollars being distributed to other fishing and environmental organizations.