The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) was victorious in the Third District Court of Appeal yesterday when the court upheld the agency’s statewide Environmental Impact Report (EIR) on its hatchery and fish stocking program.
In 2006, CDFW embarked on a years-long, multimillion dollar public process to create the statewide EIR for the hatchery and stocking program, which had been providing recreational fishing opportunities along with economic opportunities for related businesses to California’s anglers for more than 100 years.
Once it was completed and filed in January of 2010, two groups attacked the EIR and the CDFW program in Superior Court alleging that the EIR was insufficient under California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) standards. They lost that case and then appealed that loss. Yesterday, the court found that the measures adopted by CDFW in 2010 are comprehensive and sufficiently protective of the state’s natural resources while providing recreational opportunities to anglers. The court found for CDFW and against the plaintiffs on all CEQA allegations. This victory by CDFW means hatchery operations will continue to benefit anglers across the state without further modifications, unless the losing parties choose to appeal.
CDFW has been implementing the protective measures since their adoption in 2010.
In a related action, the court determined that three proposed measures in the EIR regarding its Fishing in the City program and the issuance of private stocking permits would require CDFW to undertake a regulatory process as governed by the Administrative Procedures Act.
Both the Fishing in the City and private stocking programs will continue to operate using existing regulations and CDFW will work collaboratively with the aquaculture industry to ensure any future regulations proposed regarding each program will protect California’s natural resources.
Jordan Traverso, CDFW Communications, (916) 654-9937