The National Marine Fisheries Service owes an explanation for why it decided that two dams on the Yuba River do not adversely affect threatened Chinook salmon, steelhead and green sturgeon, three Ninth Circuit judges ruled Thursday.
“The Ninth Circuit said you’re entitled to change your mind, but you’ve got to explain yourself and you haven’t,” said Christopher Sproul, an attorney with San Francisco-based Environmental Advocates. “We think this is an excellent win vindicating good government. If agencies are going to have environmental rollbacks, they can’t do it without good reasoning.”
The case marks the latest turn in a long-running dispute over the Army Corps of Engineers’ maintenance of the aging Daguerre Point and Englebright dams, both built before the passage of the Endangered Species Act.