In 1994, CSPA, the Department of Fish and Game, and the Division of State Parks protested a water rights application to divert water from the Big Sur River. The application was made by El Sur Ranch to irrigate about 250 acres of pasture near the river’s mouth. Following a complaint from State Parks, El Sur Ranch was found to be diverting water without legal right, and applied to the State Water Resources Control Board for a water right for its diversions. Since 1994, these diversions have continued while the application was pending.
In its testimony, CSPA asks for bypass flows that will protect steelhead and other aquatic resources, for limitations on the amount of water that can be diverted annually, and for a suite of additional conditions. CSPA has teamed with the Center for Biological Diversity and the Ventana Wilderness Alliance in presenting its case. CSPA Water Rights Advocate Chris Shutes is presenting general testimony; biologist Dave Dettman is presenting expert testimony on behalf of CBD, the Wilderness Alliance and CSPA.