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Westlands Water Dist. v. Department of the Interior

ELR Citation: 34 ELR 20054
Nos. No. 03-15194, (9th Cir., 07/13/2004)

The Ninth Circuit affirmed in part and reversed in part a lower court decision concerning challenges to a plan to redirect water from the Sacramento River Basin back to the Trinity River in order to revive its chinook salmon, coho salmon, and steelhead trout populations. Contrary to the lower court's conclusion, the scope of the EIS and the range of alternatives considered therein were reasonable. Nor was a supplemental EIS required to discuss the National Marine Fisheries Service's (NMFS') biological opinion requiring mitigation of impacts to Sacramento River temperatures and the effect of the California energy crisis. The lower court, however, properly determined that mitigation measures insisted upon by the FWS and the NMFS were invalid under the ESA since they constituted a major change.