Sustainable Stanford and the Endangered Species Act - A Troubled History

How environmental hypocrisy hurts Stanford's green image

Stanford University has failed to meet basic legal obligations to protect threatened species that are native to Stanford's campus. Instead, Stanford has consistently delayed progress and withheld information from environmental agencies and from the public. Stanford continues to operate a controversial and environmentally harmful dam and reservoir in order to water its private golf course. The Searsville Dam completely blocks the migratory path for fish including threatened steelhead, and contributes to water quality problems throughout the watershed.

2005-05-17 00:00:00

Dispute between Stanford and agencies over water for steelhead

National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) and California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) cited the need for higher bypass flows in Los Trancos and San Francisquito Creeks to protect threatened steelhead trout. Stanford's concerns were about maintaining water diversions for irrigation.

2008-12-07 00:00:00

Concerns about steelhead prompt federal investigation of Stanford

Multi-year investigation was shut down before NMFS completed it. NMFS employees were directed not to help with the investigation.

2010-12-07 00:00:00

Stanford refuses to turn over Searsville Dam data to NMFS

Stanford cites concerns over sharing information publicly and potential changes to the University's pre-1914 water rights.

2013-01-28 00:00:00

Stanford sued for Endangered Species Act violations caused by Searsville Dam and other water diversions

The lawsuit alleges that Searsville Dam prevents steelhead migration in the San Francisquito Creek watershed, and that Stanford's ongoing practice of diverting creek water for campus irrigation degrades habitat downstream of the dam by reducing water levels and changing the natural conditions in the creek.

2013-12-11 00:00:00

Stanford's Conservation Program Manager deposed; knows little about underlying issues

Alan Launer is responsible for biodiversity at Stanford, but he testified under oath that he is completely unaware of the impacts of Searsville Dam on steelhead or invasive species.

2014-03-11 00:00:00

NMFS sued for failing to enforce Endangered Species Act with regard to Stanford's water diversions and related facilities

Lawsuit alleges that NMFS made several errors when it approved the San Francisquito Creek pump station and the Los Trancos diversion facility in 2008.

2014-06-03 00:00:00

Army Corps declares Stanford in violation of Clean Water Act permit

The permit required Stanford to restore creeks and creek banks that were impacted by previous construction of additional water diversion infrastructure. Stanford failed to restore the area or stabilize a bank near the Los Trancos diversion site to protect critical habitat for steelhead.

2014-10-22 00:00:00

UC-Davis releases study on problematic dams including Searsville

This technical report presents an evaluation approach to identify dams in California where flow modifications and/or other management actions may be warranted to comply with California Fish and Game Code Section 5937, which was enacted in 1915 but not historically enforced.

2015-01-01 00:00:00

Stanford misses latest deadline for action at Searsville Dam

Throughout 2013 and 2014, Stanford officials pledged that the Searsville Alternatives Study would be complete by the end of 2014, and university officials would announce a plan soon thereafter.

Sustainable Stanford and the Endangered Species Act - A Troubled History

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