Coalition efforts have been highly successful to date. A few highlights:
- Highlighting significant water supply impacts of water conveyance restrictions that greatly limit water supplies for farms, residents, and businesses.
- Broadening the public dialogue and regulatory attention to address important Delta stressors that have previously been ignored;
- Drawing increased attention to the significant impacts of waste water discharges in and upstream of the Delta;
- Holding industries, municipalities and regulatory agencies accountable that have contributed to the Delta decline without consequence for many years; and
- Initiating and securing funding for extensive scientific research on the multiple stressors impacting Delta fisheries.
The Coalition has also successfully engaged in legal actions, including but not limited to the following:
- Endangered Species Act – Critical Habitat
- The Coalition for a Sustainable Delta, Western Growers and the San Luis & Delta Mendota Water Authority filed an amicus brief in Markle Interests v. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The Coalition, Western Growers and SLDMWA successfully argued that the USFWS had taken unwarranted liberties in extending the definition of critical habitat above and beyond what has been established by Congress and long-standing caselaw.
- Water Quality
- The Coalition filed a lawsuit against the City of Stockton and San Joaquin County alleging that the stormwater sewer system violated the Clean Water Act and degraded water quality to a degree that harmed endangered species in the Delta in violation of the ESA. The lawsuit was successfully settled requiring the city to implement a water quality and monitoring program and improve pollution prevention at municipal facilities to reduce contaminants in stormwater discharges.
- Non-native striped bass predation on endangered salmon and delta smelt
- The Coalition filed a lawsuit against the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (DFW) for violating the ESA through its enforcement of State sport fishing regulations. The lawsuit was successfully settled requiring DFW to collaborate with the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) to develop a joint regulatory proposal addressing the impacts of sport-fishing regulations on listed species. However, the California Fish and Game Commission decline to accept the recommendation at that time.
- Since then, the Coalition has successfully worked with the Commission to update their outdated striped bass policies and institute new Delta Fisheries Management Policies that appropriately prioritize the management of native endangered fish in the Delta.
- FEMA National Flood Insurance Program
- The Coalition and Kern County Water Authority filed a lawsuit against the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) for violation of the ESA, by failing to assess the impacts of its National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) on threatened and endangered species in the Delta. The lawsuit resulted in a successful settlement, requiring FEMA to conduct appropriate analysis and consultation under ESA.
- Environmentally harmful power plant diversions
- The Coalition, Kern County Water Agency, and the United States Army Corps of Engineers entered into a settlement regarding two power plants in the Delta that utilized controversial once-through cooling systems, which divert water into the plants then return the water back into the Delta. The settlement required increased monitoring of the aquatic impacts of power plant operations and ultimately contributed to the closing of the plants in 2013.