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Nez Perce Tribe v. NOAA Fisheries

ELR Citation: 38 ELR 20092
Nos. No. 07-247, (D. Idaho, 04/07/2008)

A district court set aside the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's (NOAA's) biological opinion for an irrigation project that withdraws water from creeks that are designated as critical habitat for the Snake River Basin steelhead, a threatened species under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). NOAA's decision that the operation of the irrigation project is not likely to result in the destruction or adverse modification of designated critical habitat for Snake River steelhead is arbitrary and capricious, and its findings are not supported by a reasoned analysis. There is no assurance that the agency's proposed minimum stream flows will improve habitat to promote both the survival and recovery of the steelhead as required by the ESA.