FOR IMMEADIATE RELEASE: May 10, 2019
Federal Agency withdraws biological opinion in major court case
SAN FRANCISCO — Salmon fishing advocates, led by the Golden Gate Salmon Association, celebrated a victory Friday over the twin Delta tunnels after the federal government formally withdrew a permit contested in a court challenge brought by the fishing group. The lawsuit filed by fishing and conservation groups in June of 2017 challenged a biological opinion issued by the National Marine Fisheries Service that allowed construction and operation of the massive twin Delta tunnels project despite expert findings the tunnels would devastate fisheries and water quality of the San Francisco Bay-Delta.
In the lawsuit, GGSA v. Ross, GGSA
argued the tunnels would significantly harm winter-run Chinook salmon and other
threatened and endangered species but the government failed to identify how the
tunnels could or should be operated to prevent that harm. Decades of
increasingly unsustainable water diversions have brought several of the Central
Valley’s migratory and resident fish to the brink of extinction; the proposed
tunnels project would have increased these diversions.
“Victory! This is a win for salmon! The other side folded and walked away from the table. This development is another final nail in the coffin of Jerry Brown’s twin tunnels and gives us renewed hope for California’s valued Central Valley salmon runs,” said John McManus, president of the Golden Gate Salmon Association. “We’re grateful to the Natural Resources Defense Council for the legal representation they provided to the salmon fishermen and women represented by the Golden Gate Salmon Association.”
The National Marine Fisheries Service withdrew the biological opinion at the request of the Federal Bureau of Reclamation and the California Dept. of Water Resources, the two main proponents of the tunnels project.
The Golden Gate Salmon Association (www.goldengatesalmon.org) is a coalition of salmon advocates that includes commercial and recreational salmon fisherman, businesses, restaurants and chefs, a native tribe, environmentalists, elected officials, families and communities that rely on salmon.
GGSA’s mission is to restore California salmon for their economic, recreational, commercial, environmental, cultural and health values. GGSA serves the sport and commercial anglers, businesses, conservationists and foodies that rely on salmon as a long-term, nutritious, sustainable resource.
Currently, California’s salmon industry is valued at $1.4 billion in annual economic activity in a normal season. The industry employs tens of thousands of people from Santa Barbara to northern Oregon. This is a huge economic bloc made up of commercial fishermen, recreational fishermen (fresh and salt water), fish processors, marinas, coastal communities, equipment manufacturers, tackle shops and marine stores, the hotel and food industry, tribes, and the salmon fishing industry at large. Salmon are the keystone species that reflect the health of both their fresh and salt water environment.
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Media contact: Michael Coats (707) 935-6203 or firstname.lastname@example.org
John McManus, GGSA, 650-218-8650