This morning the Federal Circuit issued one precedential opinion in a case involving the United States Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Reclamation and the Klamath River Basin reclamation project. Here is the introduction to the opinion.
Baley v. United States (Precedential)
This case arises out of the Klamath River Basin reclamation project (“the Klamath Project” or “the Project”). The Project straddles the southern Oregon and northern California borders. Key features of the Project are Upper Klamath Lake in Oregon, where water is stored for the Project, and the Klamath River. The Klamath River rises at the south end of Upper Klamath Lake and flows from Oregon into California. The river eventually enters the Pacific Ocean near Klamath, California. The Project supplies water to hundreds of farms, comprising approximately 200,000 acres of agricultural land. The Project is managed and operated by the United States Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Reclamation (“the Bureau of Reclamation” or “the Bureau”). The Bureau of Reclamation also manages the Klamath Project to protect the tribal trust resources of several Native American Tribes.
In 2001, the Bureau temporarily halted water deliveries to farmers and irrigation districts served by the Project. It took this action in order to meet the requirements of the Endangered Species Act, 16 U.S.C. § 1531 et seq. (2000) (“the ESA”), as outlined in Biological Opinions from the United States Fish and Wildlife Service (“the FWS”) and the United States National Marine Fisheries Service (“the NMFS”). It also took this action in order to meet its tribal trust obligations.
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Following the entry of judgment in favor of the government on October 24, 2017, the plaintiffs timely appealed. We have jurisdiction pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1295(a)(3). For the reasons set forth below, we now affirm the judgment of the Court of Federal Claims.