Santa Ynez River/Hilton Creek Litigation

Long-term Goal:

Ensure adequate flows are sustained in Hilton Creek in order to protect steelhead habitat and promote Southern steelhead recovery in the Santa Ynez River watershed.

Recent Accomplishments:

  • California Trout, represented by the Environmental Defense Center (EDC), filed a lawsuit on October 6th against the United States Bureau of Reclamation (BOR), alleging that the Bureau violated the federal Endangered Species Act (ESA) by causing the deaths of hundreds of endangered Southern California steelhead trout at Hilton Creek, below the Bradbury Dam and Cachuma Reservoir in Santa Barbara County. Between March 2013 and June 2014, the Bureau’s water pumps continually failed, causing Hilton Creek to run dry, and contributed to the death of at least 390 steelhead. California Trout filed its lawsuit to force the Bureau to make the repairs and to conduct a consultation with the National Marine Fisheries Service, which has jurisdiction over the species. The suit follows a “Notice Letter” that was sent in May 2014 demanding that the Bureau make the necessary repairs to the pumps and back-up systems.
  • On March 26, 2015, CalTrout, represented by EDC, filed an opposition to the BOR’s motion to dismiss.

What We Will Achieve in 2015-16:

  • Ensure implementation of the consent decree/settlement agreement, yet to be determined by current ESA Hilton Creek litigation against the BOR.

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California Trout, Inc.

California Trout, Inc.