University sued for possible violations of Endangered Species Act at Searsville Dam

Jan. 30, 2013, 12:17 a.m.

Two environmental groups filed a lawsuit Tuesday against Stanford University for allegedly harming the steelhead trout in the Searsville Dam Reservoir in violation of the Endangered Species Act.

Our Children’s Earth Foundation and the Ecological Rights Foundation filed the suit in federal court in San Francisco.

In the suit, the parties say they want Stanford to obtain an Endangered Species Act permit for activity that harms any threatened or endangered species. They also seek to force Stanford to reduce the amount of water it uses from the reservoir and to develop a plan to assist fish in bypassing the dam.

The National Marine Fisheries Service has already started an investigation into any possible violations at the Searsville dam.

University spokeswoman Lisa Lapin told the San Mateo County Times that the University is not harming the steelhead trout and therefore does not need an Endangered Species Act permit.

“Stanford is definitively not in violation of the Endangered Species Act in its operation of Searsville Dam — in fact, the creek is a thriving steelhead habitat,” Lapin said.

— Alice Phillips

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