Army Corps of Engineers Sued Over River Permits
Friends of the Santa Clara River, along with the Center for Biological Diversity and the Wishtoyo Foundation/Ventura Coastkeeper, filed a lawsuit on February 14 against the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (ACOE) in US District Court -- Los Angeles. The River and its tributaries are facing devastating impacts to biological, hydrological and cultural resources due to multiple massive development projects, primarily in the upper River. The ACOE has failed to address the cumulative impacts to the river's resources in its issuance of numerous permits for development within the floodplain of the River. The ACOE, along with the California Department of Fish and Game, is currently preparing a Environmental Impact Assessment of the 21,000-unit Newhall Ranch Project. This project is in need of significant revisions if it is to avoid major impacts to River resources.
The Santa Clara River is not only one of the most important river systems in California, but is also one of the most culturally rich areas in southern California. Many Native American tribes had ancestral villages within the river valley. Destruction of River habitat used by the ancestors of the Tataviam, Chumash and Serrano people is harmful to tribal cultural maintenance and revitalization efforts. Friends believes the ACOE needs to recognize the value and importance of the Santa Clara River and uphold its federal responsibility to ensure no net loss of wetlands and the protection of critically endangered species and cultural resources.