San Francisquito Creek represents prime habitat for the SF Bay Area’s few remaining endangered steelhead trout. Stanford University is avoiding bringing Searsville Dam into compliance with the Endangered Species Act and continues to threaten the survival of this iconic fish.
That’s why we’re asking you to tell Stanford and federal agencies to live up to the law.
Stanford University’s antiquated Searsville Dam blocks approximately 20 miles of historic habitat for federally protected steelhead trout on San Francisquito Creek. Stanford wants to exclude Searsville Dam from the permitting process normally required for new construction and ongoing endangered species impact.
In addition to blocking access for steelhead spawning and rearing, Searsville Dam dewaters the creek, degrades downstream water quality and habitat, which is designated “critical habitat” for steelhead, and helps spread non-native predatory species in the San Francisquito Creek watershed.
Rather than include Searsville Dam in the Habitat Conservation Plan (where landowners receive “incidental take” permits in return for negotiated species protections), Stanford wants to exclude the operation of Searsville Dam from this critical process, leaving them free to harm steelhead populations without any real oversight and out of compliance with multiple state and federal laws.
We do not believe Stanford can unilaterally decide to avoid their legal requirements at Searsville Dam while continuing to seek coverage of their campus water supply system, of which Searsville Dam is an integral component.
We are encouraged that Stanford recognizes the criticality of this issue with the recent formation of a university blue-ribbon panel to address Searsville. It is our belief, however, that this internal approach does not relieve them of their legal responsibilities.
Make Stanford take responsibility for Searsville Dam; send a polite but direct email asking federal resource agencies to hold off releasing their Environmental Impact Study for Stanford’s flawed Habitat Conservation Plan until Stanford acknowledges and adequately addresses the impacts of Searsville Dam and their entire water diversion system on federally protected steelhead trout.
Also, insist that a revised and corrected Habitat Conservation Plan and supplemental draft Environmental Impact Statement be released for public review and commentary.
SEND AN EMAIL TO
Gary Stern, National Marine Fisheries Service: firstname.lastname@example.org
Sheila Larson, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service: Sheila_Larsen@fws.gov
Catherine Palter, Stanford Environmental Planning: email@example.com
John Hennessy, Stanford President: firstname.lastname@example.org
For more information see www.beyondsearsvilledam.org