Pacific Coast Federation of Fishermens Associations, et al. v. Marcus (303 d Suit)

Pacific Coast Federation of Fishermen’s Associations, et al. v. Marcus (303 d Suit)


This suit goes beyond the “take” protections offered under the Endangered Species Act and seeks restoration of commercial fisheries within a reasonable amount of time under the Clean Water Act. This suit sought to compel the Environmental Protection Agency to establish a schedule for promulgating Total Maximum Daily Loadings (TMDLs) for 17 North Coast rivers and streams whose fisheries are impaired. These studies were mandated by the Clean Water Act of 1972, but have never been completed. The suit was brought by the Sierra Club Legal Defense Fund on behalf of a broad coalition of fishermen’s and environmental groups including the Pacific Coast Federation of Fishermen’s Associations, EPIC, Golden Gate Fishermen’s Association, Sierra Club, Coast Action Group, Friends of the Garcia, California Trout, Klamath Forest Alliance, Mendocino Environmental Center, Willits Environmental Center, California Wilderness Coalition, Friends of the Navarro River, South Fork Mountain Defense Committee, and the Northcoast Environmental Center against Felicia Marcus, Region IX Administrator, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Carol M. Browner, Administrator, EPA. A joint Consent Decree was submitted to the Court on March 6, 1997, which sets out a timeline in which TMDLs would be developed for the seventeen 303(d) listed North Coast Rivers. The agreement binds state and federal agencies to set enforceable standards within ten years to limit the amount of sediment and keep water temperatures safe for spawning salmon. The agreement also includes interim deadlines to ensure that studies of some of the rivers are completed in a manner consistent with the timeline.

Procedure: Complaint filed 12/14/95 in U.S. District Court in San Francisco (C-95-4474, Judge Marilyn Hall Patel). Consent Decree submitted to the Court on 3/6/97.

Status: final – Consent Decree signed 3/8/97.

Attorneys: Joseph Brecher and Stephan Volker (Sierra Club Legal Defense Fund).

EPIC Contact: Jesse Noell.