Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Casitas lawsuit threatens steelhead recovery

Last year saw a potential success story on the Ventura River as steelhead took advantage of a wet winter to migrate upstream through the new fish ladder at the Robles Diversion. And this year's monitoring shows a good juvenile population. But although the water district goes through the motions, a majority of the board still believes that the water in the river is theirs for the taking.

On Sept 25, 2008, a federal appeals court ruled in favor of Casitas Water District on the Ventura River, California. According to their lawyer, Casitas is potentially entitled to $80 million for the "loss of water" due to operations of a recently constructed fish ladder at Robles Diversion dam, located downstream of the obsolete Matilija Dam which is slated for removal in 2014. But first the District must show that they 'own' the water in the river, a public trust asset... The ultimate outcome will affect future water management policy throughout the West.



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