Federal lawsuit filed over “designated bull trout critical habitat”

A federal lawsuit filed on July 11 in Portland, Ore., by Missoula, Montana-based Alliance for the Wild Rockies alleges three government agencies have failed to write biological assessments for dams and hydroelectric facilities the agencies operate that pertain to “designated bull trout critical habitat.”

The suit names the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation and the Bonneville Power Administration as defendants.

The plaintiffs allege the agencies have failed to complete required consultations with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service on how to operate a total of three dams and 22 hydroelectric facilities in four states — Idaho, Oregon, Washington and Montana — in areas designated bull trout critical habitat.

The 25 facilities cited in the lawsuit include the following:

  • Idaho — 42.6-MW Albeni Falls and 400-MW Dworshak; 
  • Montana — 428-MW Hungry Horse and 600-MW Libby; 
  • Oregon — Blue River and Fern Ridge dams, 1.1-MW Cottage Grove, 15-MW Dexter, 25-MW Cougar, 30-MW Hills Creek, 80-MW Green Peter, 120-MW Lookout Point, 980-MW McNary, 1,076.6-MW Bonneville and 2,160-MW John Day; and 
  • Washington — Howard A. Hanson Dam, 12-MW Chandler, 12.937-MW Roza, 603-MW Ice Harbor, 810-MW Lower Granite, 810-MW Lower Monumental, 932-MW Little Goose, 1779.8-MW The Dalles, 2,620-MW Chief Joseph and 6,809-MW Grand Coulee.

The alliance is seeking court-ordered compliance for the defendants to complete required assessments and consultations with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and fees related to its litigation.

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Gregory B. Poindexter formerly was an associate editor for HydroWorld.com.

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