Delta smelt

It’s a Wonderful Law?

A thought experiment about the role of the ESA in California water management

[This post is co-authored by A. Dan Tarlock, Distguished Professor of Law, IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law.] Remember the movie “It’s a Wonderful Life,” which shows up on TV every year at Christmas season? In it George Bailey, played by Jimmy Stewart, gets a great gift from Clarence, an angel-in-training who intervenes as George is …


End of the year good news

Three recent items of good news for California wildlife: For the first time in almost 90 years, a wild gray wolf has been roaming in California. The California Department of Fish and Game reported on December 29 that OR-7, a young male wolf from a pack in northeastern Oregon, had crossed into California. According to …


Nice to know I’m sober

Today the Supreme Court denied certiorari in the case known to that Court as Stewart & Jasper Orchards v. Salazar. So why the headline? This is the commerce clause challenge to ESA protection for the Delta smelt, rejected by the Ninth Circuit this past spring under the name San Luis & Delta-Mendota Water Authority v. …


Thoughts on the latest Delta smelt ruling

As Sean pointed out yesterday, this week federal District Judge Wanger issued another ruling in the ongoing litigation over protection of the Delta smelt and restrictions on diversions from the Sacramento-San Joaquin river system. Reviewing the opinion, my first reaction was sympathy for the judge and his staff. There is no question that sorting through …


The Delta: pumps, politics, and (fish) populations

Cross-posted at CPRBlog The past couple of weeks have been crazier than usual on the Bay-Delta. The pumps were first ramped up and then ramped down. Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) pandered to the irrigation crowd (or at least a part of it) by proposing to ease endangered species protections in the Delta. And the fall-run …


Endangered species news round-up

It’s been a busy late spring in the endangered species world.  Some recent developments: Gray wolf:  Environmental groups have filed a lawsuit challenging the delisting of the gray wolf in the northern Rockies. The EarthJustice press release is here, complaint here. The gist of the complaint is that the state management plans do not provide …


Preview of a long dry summer

It’s still the rainy season, but California’s drought is already beginning to affect operation of the state and federal water projects that divert water from the Sacramento and San Joaquin watersheds to serve cities and farms from the Bay Area to Southern California.  Yesterday the California Department of Water Resources and U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, …