Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Stanford University sued for alleged Endangered Species Act violations

Two environmental organizations filed a lawsuit Tuesday against Stanford University, claiming the school's management of Searsville Dam and Reservoir harms steelhead trout and violates the Endangered Species Act. The suit alleges the dam prevents steelhead, a federally threatened species, from migrating farther up the San Francisquito Creek watershed, while Stanford's use of water from the reservoir for irrigation degrades habitat downstream of the dam by reducing water levels. Our Children's Earth Foundation and the Ecological Rights Foundation want to force Stanford to curb its use of water from the reservoir and implement a plan to allow the fish to get past the dam, either by creating a bypass or removing the entire structure. They also want Stanford to obtain an Endangered Species Act permit, which is required for any activity that harms a threatened or endangered species. Christopher Sproul, attorney for the two environmental groups, said Stanford has been dragging its feet in addressing the problem of the dam and reservoir, situated west of the main campus in the school's 1,189-acre Jasper Ridge Biological Preserve. The goal of the suit, filed in federal court in San Francisco, is to spur Stanford to action...more

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