Authored Articles & Publications Nov 9, 2016

Endangered Fish v. Humans: The Fight Over Competing Water Needs

The Struggle to Find Balance is Explored by BB&K Partner Gene Tanaka in Municipal Lawyer Magazine

By Gene Tanaka

The struggle to allocate scarce water resources between endangered and threatened fish and humans is not new. But droughts in the Southwest, which lower stream flows, and population increases, which raise demand, have diminished the available water. These factors have exacerbated existing threats to protected fish species, such as greater variability in stream flows, increased water temperatures, fertilizers and overfishing. The consequences are playing out before federal and state administrative agencies and courts and will be felt by the public, which depends on surface water supplies.

This article discusses the threat posed by reduced stream water levels, examines the response by the United States Environmental Protection Agency, California State Water Resources Control Board and other regulatory agencies to set numerical stream flow requirements, and analyzes the law regarding the regulators response.

To read the entire article, which was published in the September/October 2016 edition of International Municipal Lawyer Association’s Municipal Lawyer magazine, click here. Reprinted with permission.

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