CCFA wins a round in the suit petitioning for delisting of coho salmon south of San Francisco

by Cate Moore on February 28, 2017

Our ongoing quest to delist the coho salmon south of San Francisco has one a round in the California Supreme Court.  CCFA have been arguing for years that coho are NOT native south of San Francisco and that our streams cannot successfully support a coho population without continuous human intervention.  Ten years ago, we hit a roadblock when the  Appellate Court ruled that delisting petitions were not an appropriate mechanism for introducing new scientific evidence, without providing another mechanism for introducing said evidence.
The California Supreme Court has just ruled that a delisting petition is an appropriate means for introducing new scientific evidence to adjust the listing parameters of a species listed on the California Endangered Species List.  The Court has remanded the petition back to the Court of Appeal to settle other unresolved portions of the case, including.
  1. does the term “native species” in the definition of “endangered species” (§ 2062) mean “native to the area” in which the species is listed, as plaintiffs assert, or “indigenous to California,” as the Commission claims;
  2. does the term “range” in that definition (ibid.) mean “historic,” “native,” and “natural range,” as plaintiffs argue, or “present range,” as the Commission contends; and
  3. when a species is listed as endangered — here, “Coho salmon . . . south of Punta Gorda (Humboldt County)” (Regs., § 670.5, subd. (a)(2)(N)) — under what circumstances, if any, does CESA permit the Commission to delist only a portion of the listed species — here, coho south of San Francisco — i.e., to carve out a population included in the listed species and remove it from CESA‟s protections?
Nor did the Court of Appeal address the parties’ disagreement over whether plaintiffs’ evidence substantiates their claim that coho are not native to the streams south of San Francisco and cannot survive in those streams without hatchery support.
The full text of the judgement can be found here: S208181.

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