Montezuma Wetlands Suit

Two Bay Area activist groups have filed a 60-day notice of intent to sue to block the Montezuma Wetlands Project, an effort to dump toxic dredge spoils from the Port of Oakland and elsewhere into Solano County marshland for “restoration.”
The February notice, which could enjoin the project, charges that developer LFR Levine-Fricke violated the US Endangered Species Act (ESA), and that the Army Corps of Engineers illegally ignored more than two-thirds of the endangered fairy and tadpole shrimp affected by the project.
“This is a criminal project in terms of the ESA,” said Leslie Emmington, with co-plaintiff Friends of Suisun Marsh.
The Corps’ permit for the project covered about an acre of vernal pools, home to endangered shrimp. But it relied on a US Fish and Wildlife Service study addressing just a quarter acre of habitat.
“There’s an ESA because species are lost by attrition,” said Jonathan Kaplan, with co-plaintiff WaterKeepers Northern California. “It’s death by a thousand cuts.”
In April, the plaintiffs were deciding whether to seek an injunction to halt construction, which can occur only between April 15 and October 15 due to restrictions protecting migrating and breeding birds, said lead attorney Michael Lozeau of EarthJustice Legal Defense Fund.

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