Central Coast Forest Assn. v. Fish & Game Com.

Filed 1/5/18 CERTIFIED FOR PUBLICATION IN THE COURT OF APPEAL OF THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA THIRD APPELLATE DISTRICT (Sacramento) ---- CENTRAL COAST FOREST ASSOCIATION et al., C060569 Plaintiffs and Respondents, (Super. Ct. No. 07CS00851) v. OPINION ON REMAND FISH AND GAME COMMISSION, Defendant and Appellant. APPEAL from a judgment of the Superior Court of Sacramento County, Gail D. Ohanesian, Judge. (Retired judge of the Sacramento Super. Ct., assigned by the Chief Justice pursuant to art. VI, § 6 of the Cal. Const.) Reversed. Edmund G. Brown, Jr., Kamala D. Harris and Xavier Becerra Attorneys General, Mary E. Hackenbracht, Kathleen A. Kenealy and Robert W. Byrne, Assistant Attorneys General, Sara J. Russell, Gavin G. McCabe, Tara L. Mueller and Cecilia L. Dennis, Deputy Attorneys General, for Defendant and Appellant. Deborah A. Sivas, Robb W. Kapla and Molly Loughney for Environmental Law Clinic, Center for Biological Diversity, Turtle Island Restoration Network, California Trout, Central Coast Forest Watch and Lompico Watershed Conservancy as Amici Curiae on behalf of Defendant and Appellant. Murphy & Buchal and James L. Buchal for Plaintiffs and Respondents. Damien M. Schiff and Anthony L. Francois for Pacific Legal Foundation as Amicus Curiae on behalf of Plaintiffs and Respondents. 1 The California Endangered Species Act (Fish & G. Code, § 2050 et seq., hereafter CESA)1 provides that a wild, native, species may be added to or removed from the regulation listing endangered species by a finding of the Fish and Game Commission (Commission) based on scientific information from the Department of Fish and Wildlife (department).2 (§§ 2074.6, 2075.5.) The standard for adding a wild, native species is that it is in serious danger of extinction. (§ 2062.)3 The Commission added coho salmon in streams south of San Francisco (Santa Cruz County) to the list of endangered species in 1995 pursuant to a petition from the Santa Cruz County Fish and Game Advisory Commission. The Commission joined them with coho salmon north of San Francisco (to Punta Gorda) in 2004 as members of the Central California Coast (CCC) evolutionary significant unit (ESU).4 The respondents Central Coast Forest Association and Big Creek Lumber Company (hereafter petitioners), have petitioned the Commission to remove (delist) coho salmon south of San Francisco from the list of endangered species in California. Petitioners own and harvest timber from lands in the area of the coho salmon spawning streams in the Santa Cruz Mountains. Timber harvesting is in part responsible for 1 Further statutory references to sections of an undesignated code are to the Fish and Game Code. 2 The Department of Fish and Game has been renamed the Department of Fish and Wildlife. (§ 700.) 3 The CESA provides for two lists, a list of endangered species and a list of threatened species. (§§ 2062, 2067, 2070.) Since the procedure is the same for both lists and this case concerns only endangered species we refer to that list in the opinion. 4 An ESU is a population of organisms that is considered distinct for purposes of conservation. ...

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