Sierra Club Helps Protect Klamath River Coho Salmon from Destructive Suction Dredge Mining
June 1, 2012
On June 1, the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the U.S. Forest Service violated federal endangered species protections by approving suction dredge gold mining and other recreational mining practices along the Klamath River without consulting wildlife officials. The Sierra Club and its allies filed a “friend of the court” brief urging the court to rule that the Service's approvals were unlawful.
The Klamath is home to imperiled coho salmon that have suffered as their river habitat has been degraded by development, including mining activities such as suction dredging. Suction dredges pump sand and gravel from riverbeds, clouding rivers and disturbing salmon spawning grounds. The Karuk Tribe, which depends on Klamath salmon for subsistence and cultural uses, sued the Service for allowing suction dredging to go forward without consulting with federal wildlife officials to ensure the dredging would not unduly harm imperiled salmon. Roger Flynn and Jeffrey Charles Parsons of the Western Mining Action Project represented the tribe.
In our brief, the Sierra Club and its allies, represented by Jason Rylander of Defenders of Wildlife, urged the court to protect salmon by requiring the Service to take this important protective measure. The court agreed, overturning previous rulings by a federal trial court and three-judge appellate panel.
Details and Documents:
Appeal from the US District Court for the Northern District of California
June 1, 2012 Opinion by Judge William A. FletcherNews Articles:
9th Circuit overturns suction dredge gold mining rulings
June 2, 2012 by Maura Dolan, The Los Angeles TimesIn Blistering Dissent, Judge Mines Deep for Verbal Nuggets
June 1, 2012 by Justin Scheck, The Wall Street Journal
See other "Promoting Resilient Habitats" cases.