ESA Spotted Frog Litigation

ESA Spotted Frog Litigation

Imagine being a part of a collaborative effort to help save a species with a Habitat Conservation Plan that brought all interests to the table. For years, that is what a group of Central Oregon farmers, conservation groups and government agencies have been working towards for the Oregon Spotted Frog.

However now in the Deschutes River Basin, three irrigation districts along with the US Bureau of Reclamation are named in a lawsuit that could result in reduced water supplies for thousands of farm families throughout Central Oregon. Oregon Farm Bureau's Public Policy Council Mary Anne Nash says

Nash: "I think that one of the reasons that all eyes are on this lawsuit is because this is a group of farmers that have done everything right — this is a group of farmers that was working to comply with the ESA. They had a group go kind of go rogue on them and decide that it didn't like exactly what they were doing and decide to sue instead. So I think that the message is that the need for Endangered Species Act reform is real. The need to address the abuse of the Equal Access of Justice Act is very real. Those are things that the Farm Bureau and other agricultural organizations are working really diligently on but also something that producers need to be writing in and call their legislators and let them know what is going on."

One of the participating groups — WaterWatch of Oregon a Portland-based environmental group —- decided to pull out of plan and sue under the ESA. Nash continues

Nash: "The real frustration that these farmers had in the group is that they had conservation group that they were working in good faith with that is abusing the system now."

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