Coalition for a Sustainable Delta et al v. Carlson et al

Filing 85

ORDER denying without prejudice Plaintiffs' Motion for Summary Adjudication 57 , signed by Judge Oliver W. Wanger on 07/16/09. (Coffman, Lisa)

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1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 1 I. INTRODUCTION v. DONALD K O C H , in his official capacity as Director of the Californ i a Departmen t of Fish and Game, Defendant, CENTRAL DELTA WATER AGENCY, et al., Defendant-Intervenors, CALIFORN I A SPORTFISHING P R O T E C T I O N ALLIANCE , et a l . , Defendant-Intervenors. COALITIO N FOR A SUST A I N A B L E DELTA, BELRIDGE WATER STORA G E DISTRICT, BERRENDA MESA WATER STORAGE DISTRICT , LOST HILLS WATER DISTRICT , WHEELER RI D G E MARICOPA WATER ST O R A G E DISTRI C T , and DEE DILLON Plaintiffs, 1:08-CV-00397 OWW GSA MEMORAND U M DECISION DENYING PLAINTIFFS' MOTION F O R PARTIAL SUMMARY JUDGMENT (DOC. 57 ) UNITED STATES DISTRI C T CO U R T FOR THE EASTERN DISTRICT OF C A L I F O R N I A This cas e challenges the California Department of Fish and Game's ("CD F G " ) enforcement of state spo r t f i s h i n g regulations that protect striped bass pop u l a t i o n s 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 within t h e Sacrament o - S a n Joa q u i n Delta. Plainti f f s , a coalitio n of water u s e r s led by the Coalition for a Sustaina b l e Delta (" C o a l i t i o n " ) , complain t h a t CD F G ' s enforcem e n t of these regulations violates the End a n g e r e d Species Act ("ESA"), because striped bass prey up o n at least fo u r species l i s t e d under the ESA, includin g the Sacramen t o River win t e r - r u n C h i n o o k salmon, Central Valley s p r i n g - r u n Chinook salmon, Central Valley steelhea d , and delta smelt (the "Listed Species") . Plaintif f s move for summary judgment on the follo w i n g discrete issues, the resolution of which they ass e r t "will na r r o w the iss u e s in the case and provide t h e parties with guidanc e as to how to proceed": (1) [T]h a t those por t i o n s of the Central Valley Improvem e n t Act ("CV P I A " ) , Pub. L. 102-575, 106 Stat. 46 0 0 , Title 34 , 106 Stat 4706-31 (1992), pertaini n g to anadro m o u s fish, do not exempt CDFG's e n f o r c e m e n t o f striped bass sport-fi s h i n g regulati o n s from the take prohibitions under Section 9 of the ESA , 16 U.S.C. 1538 (a)(1)(B ) ; (2) [T]h a t it is a v i o l a t i o n of the ESA to "take" a single enda n g e r e d Sacramento-River winter-r u n [C]hinook salmon, threatened Central Valley s p r i n g - r u n [C]hinook salmon, threatened Central Valley steel h e a d , or threatened delta smelt wi t h o u t prior take authorization from the appropri a t e federal Wildlife Agency; (3) [T]h a t it is a v i o l a t i o n of the ESA for a governme n t or govern m e n t agency or entity t o "take" a federally l i s t e d species through the exercise of its regu l a t o r y authority without first re c e i v i n g take authorization from the appropri a t e federal Wildlife Agency; and (4) [T]h a t Mr. Dillo n has standing under Article III of t h e United St a t e s Constitution to pu r s u e this lit i g a t i o n . Doc. 57- 2 at 1-2. 2 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 Defendan t Donald Koc h , Director of CDFG, ("State Defendan t " ) opposes summary adjudication on the s e c o n d , third, a n d fourth is s u e s , but takes no position o n the CVPIA af f i r m a t i v e de f e n s e , which is asserte d only by Defendan t - I n t e r v e n o r s Cen t r a l Delta Water A g e n c y , et al. ("Centra l Delta"). Doc. 65. By stipulation, Sta t e Defendan t also filed a supplemental opposition, addressi n g recent di s c o v e r y addressing Mr. Dillon ' s standing . Doc. 69. Central Delta joins the Stat e Defendan t ' s oppositi o n , but separately opposes su m m a r y adjudica t i o n on its CVPIA affirmative defense. D o c . 66. Defendan t - I n t e r v e n o r s Cal i f o r n i a Sportfishi n g Protecti o n Alliance , et a l . , ("CSPA"), filed a separat e brie f opposing summary adj u d i c a t i o n on the first and se c o n d issues, but take no position on the CVPIA affirma t i v e defense or Dee Dillo n ' s standing. II. Doc. 67. 1 BACKGROUND The stri p e d bass (Morone saxatilis) i s a non-native species introduced f r o m the New Jersey coast to the Californ i a waters ne a r Martinez in 1879. Fuchs D e c l . , Doc. 65- 5 , Exh. A (S t r i p e d Bass Resto r a t i o n and 1 CSP A fi l e d th e de c l a r a t i o n o f Bi l l Jen n i n g s in s u p p o r t o f i t s opp o s i t i o n to s u m m a r y ad j u d i c a t i o n on th e si n g l e t a k e (s e c o n d ) an d tak e by r e g u l a t o r y au t h o r i t y ( t h i r d ) i s s u e s . Do c . 6 7 - 2 . P l a i n t i f f s obj e c t to J e n n i n g s ' d e c l a r a t i o n on num e r o u s gr o u n d s . Do c . 75 . Bec a u s e , as d i s c u s s e d be l o w , t h e s e c o n d an d th i r d is s u e s ar e no t cog n i z a b l e on s u m m a r y ju d g m e n t , it is no t ne c e s s a r y to r e s o l v e Pla i n t i f f s ' o b j e c t i o n s a t th i s t i m e . If C S P A , o r an y ot h e r p a r t y , rel i e s up o n t h e J e n n i n g s d e c l a r a t i o n i n fu t u r e p r o c e e d i n g s , Pla i n t i f f s ma y re n e w the i r o b j e c t i o n s . No o t h e r e v i d e n t i a r y obj e c t i o n s we r e m a d e in co n n e c t i o n wit h th i s m o t i o n fo r par t i a l sum m a r y a d j u d i c a t i o n . 3 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 Manageme n t Plan) at 1. Upon introduction, the sp e c i e s multipli e d rapidly, with abundance reaching appro x i m a t e l y 3 millio n adults by the early 1960s. Id., Exh. B (Conserv a t i o n Plan f o r the CDFG Striped Bass Mana g e m e n t Program ("Conservati o n Plan")) at 21. Since the 1960s, the stri p e d bass pop u l a t i o n has experienced a dec l i n e , with the adult popul a t i o n eroding to 775,000 by 1 9 9 6 . Id., Exh. C (E n d a n g e r e d Species Act, Section 7 Consulta t i o n Biologi c a l and Conference Opinion) a t 1. More rec e n t surveys indicate that the adult strip e d bass populati o n now numbe r s approximately one million fish. Nobriga Decl., Doc. 65-4, at 22. Pursuant to Article 4, section 20 of the Ca l i f o r n i a Constitu t i o n , the Ca l i f o r n i a Legislature delegate d to the Californ i a Fish and Game Commission (the "Commiss i o n " ) "the pow e r to regula t e the taking or possession o f birds, mammals, fish, amphi b i a n s , and reptiles," Cal. Fi s h & Game Cod e 200, and the regulatory authority to establis h seasons, b a g limits, and the "manner an d the means" o f take for s p o r t fish, including the stri p e d bass, Ca l . Fish & Ga m e Code 205. Pursuant to t h e s e authorit i e s , the Com m i s s i o n established sport-fis h i n g regulati o n s for the striped bass that prohibit an g l e r s from tak i n g the spec i e s in certain areas and in c e r t a i n situatio n s . 14 Cal. Code Regs. 5.75, 27.85. Current striped bass sport-fishing regulation s impo s e catch limitati o n s , size li m i t a t i o n s , and gear restricti o n s on striped bass anglers . Id. For example, anglers may not 4 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 take str i p e d bass fr o m within the Delta that are less than 18 inches in le n g t h and may only catch and k e e p two striped bass in exce s s of 18 inches in length. is respo n s i b l e for e n f o r c i n g the sport-fishing regulati o n s . Plaint i f f s ' Statement of Undisputed Consistent with his Id. CDFG Material Facts ("PSU F " ) 2. responsi b i l i t i e s , De f e n d a n t Koch has enforced and continue s to enforce the striped bass sport-fishi n g regulati o n s . PSUF 3 . The 1999 Conservatio n Plan proposed a striped bas s stocking program tha t would have stocked 1.275 mi l l i o n yearling or hatchery-reared bass for a five - y e a r perio d , with red u c e d stockin g in the following five years . Conserva t i o n Plan at 40. In 2000, CDFG obtained from the U.S. Fis h and Wildli f e Service ("FWS") and the Na t i o n a l Marine F i s h e r i e s Ser v i c e ("NMFS") separate incide n t a l take per m i t s under t h e ESA for the Striped Bass Manageme n t Program. Fuchs Decl., Exhs. D and E. NMFS prepared a Bio l o g i c a l and Conference Opinio n pursuant to Section 7 of the ESA , which expressed concern abo u t and required mitigation for striped bass predation of Listed Species due to the C D F G stocking program. Exh. C. at 4-5 , 31-39. Fuchs Decl., CDFG halted i t s str i p e d b a s s stocking program in 2002 and the program has not been reinitia t e d . Fuchs Decl., Exh. F (2003 Annual Re p o r t for Californ i a Departmen t of Fish and Game's Striped Bass Manageme n t Program) at 1, 5. Plaintif f s maintain that the striped bass sport5 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 fishing regulations have contributed to the maint e n a n c e of an ar t i f i c i a l l y h i g h population of striped bas s in the Delta. PSUF 9. CDF G disputes this assertion, po i n t i n g to analy s e s indicati n g that enforcement of the pr e s e n t striped bass regulat i o n s , alone, will not stabilize th e striped bass populat i o n over the long-run. For example, the Cons e r v a t i o n Pla n concluded that CDFG managem e n t efforts that did not include an artificial stripe d bass stocking program wou l d result in a long-ter m decl i n e i n the adul t striped ba s s population to 515,000 adults. Conserva t i o n Plan at 37. The plan further conclu d e d that maintain i n g the stri p e d bass population at stable levels would re q u i r e much m o r e restrictive sport-fishing regulati o n s than are presently enforced. Id. at 117. It is un d i s p u t e d tha t populations of the Listed Species have decline d in recent years. For examp l e , the delta sm e l t populati o n as measured by abundance i n d i c e s relied u p o n by FWS h a s declined by two to three o r d e r s of magnitud e from histo r i c a l highs. PSUF 13; see also Natural Resources De f e n s e Council v. Kempthorne, 506 F. Supp. 2d 322, 334-35 (E.D . Cal. 2007). Del t a sme l t ar e currentl y at a histo r i c low and considered to be in "critica l condition. " PSUF 14. The Sacramento R i v e r winter-r u n Chi n o o k salmon, Central Valley spring- r u n Chinook salmon, and Central Valley steelhead popu l a t i o n s have als o suffered s h a r p declines in abundance. Pac. Coast Fe d ' n of Fishe r m e n ' s Assns. v. Gutierrez, 6 0 6 F. Supp. 2d 1195, 1218- 1 2 2 4 (E.D. Cal. 2008). 6 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 It is un d i s p u t e d tha t striped bass prey on Listed Species. PSUF 10. Plaintiffs maintain that by p r o m o t i n g and main t a i n i n g an a r t i f i c i a l l y high population o f striped bass in the Delta, the striped bass sport - f i s h i n g regulati o n s have als o artificially increased striped b a s s predatio n of the Lis t e d Species. PSUF 11. Howev e r , while CD F G concedes that evidence shows that the Listed Species are among th e species that constitute the striped bass' fo o d source, t h e Listed Species "are not co m m o n in the stri p e d bass diet and striped bass predation is not responsi b l e for thei r current status." Fuchs Dec . , Exh. G (Biolo g i c a l Assess m e n t for the California Depar t m e n t of Fish and Game Stripe d Bass Management Program, Ju n e 1995J u n e 199 6 ("BA")) at 54-56. As the Conservation Plan observed , "[s]almon and striped bass populations coexiste d in much gr e a t e r abundance than the popu l a t i o n s existing today and a v a i l a b l e historical informati o n on populati o n trends do e s not suggest that high peri o d s in striped bass abundan c e coincided with lower popul a t i o n s of salmo n as would b e expected if striped bass we r e a major fa c t o r limitin g salmon abundance." Plan at 26. Conserv a t i o n In fact , statistical analysis of spe c i e s abundanc e data refer e n c e d in the Conservation Pla n disclose d a positive, rather than a negative, correlat i o n between striped bass abundance and salmon abundan c e . authors of the analy s i s concluded that "[w]hile i t is difficul t to interpr e t the causes for and therefo r e the meaning of such corr e l a t i o n s , this positive corre l a t i o n 7 The 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 certainl y indicates that striped bass predation i s not a dominant factor cont r o l l i n g the salmon population . " at 27; s e e also BA at 41- 4 5 . CDFG sub m i t s the dec l a r a t i o n of CDFG biologist Matthew Nobriga to s u p p o r t its opposition to Plai n t i f f ' s motion f o r partial s u m m a r y judgment. Nobriga opi n e s that Id. "[i]t is logical tha t if predation by one species is strong e n o u g h to cau s e declines in another that t h e abundanc e of the pre y species would go down when the abundanc e of the pre d a t o r goes up." 11. Nobrig a Decl . at Us i n g a statis t i c a l method known as linear regressi o n , Nobriga reviewed the relationship bet w e e n striped bass abundan c e and the abundance of winte r - r u n salmon, spring-run salmon, and Delta smelt. As in the Conserva t i o n Plan, t h e s e regression analyses disc l o s e d the pres e n c e of a po s i t i v e , not a negative, relat i o n s h i p , between striped bass abundance and winter-run sal m o n abundanc e . The anal y s e s did not find any statist i c a l relation s h i p between striped bass abundance and s p r i n g r u n salm o n abundance or striped bass abundance and Delta smelt ab u n d a n c e . Id. at 16-17. Nobriga also summari z e s the results of a 2003 stu d y of the r e l a t i o n s h i p between striped bass abundanc e and winter-r u n salmon ab u n d a n c e , conducted by biologi s t s Lindley and Mohr. T h i s study conclud e d that even the complete elimination of the striped bass populati o n from the Bay- D e l t a system would only incre a s e winter-run recovery probabiliti e s by slightly more than thre e 8 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 percent and that the winter run would still have about a one in f i v e chance o f extinction in the next 50 y e a r s . Id. at 2 2 . The only negative re l a t i o n s h i p disclosed by the Nobriga regression a n a l y s e s was between Delta sme l t abundanc e and the ab u n d a n c e of Mississippi silver s i d e s , a small fi s h that preys on Delta smelt eggs a n d lar v a e . Nobriga opines this negative relationship "is evi d e n c e that sil v e r s i d e abun d a n c e may have reduced the pe r capita number o f smelt surv i v i n g to the summer." Id. at 15. Nobriga notes that, while striped bass do eat del t a smelt, t h e y also eat their predators and competit o r s , like the Mississippi silverslide. Id. at 10. From this, su g g e s t s that it is possible that the elimi n a t i o n of strip e d bass from the Bay-Delta system c o u l d increa s e silversi d e abundance , which would inc r e a s e silverside predatio n of the Del t a smelt. Id. at 10. Increased silversi d e predation of the Delta smelt could pot e n t i a l l y offset a n y reduced s t r i p e d bass predation of the smelt. III. STANDARD OF DECISION A motion for summary judgment and a motion for partial summary judg m e n t (sometimes called summar y adjudica t i o n ) are go v e r n e d by the same standards. Californ i a v. Campbe l l , 1 3 8 F . 3 d 772, 780-81 (9th Cir. 1998); C o s t a v. Nat' l Action Fin. Servs., 2 0 0 7 WL 4526510, at *2 (E.D. Cal. Dec. 19, 2007). 9 Summar y 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 judgment is appropri a t e when "the pleadings, the discover y and disclo s u r e materials on file, and a n y affidavi t s show that there is no genuine issue as to any material fact and th a t the movant is entitled to judgment as a mat t e r of law." Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(c) . A party moving f o r summary j u d g m e n t "always bears the ini t i a l responsi b i l i t y of in f o r m i n g the district court of the basis fo r its motion , and identifying those porti o n s of the plea d i n g s , depos i t i o n s , answers to interrogat o r i e s , and admi s s i o n s on file, together with the affidavits, if any, whi c h it believ e s demonstrate the absence of a genuine issue of mat e r i a l fact." Cel o t e x Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 31 7 , 323 (1986) (internal quota t i o n marks om i t t e d ) . Where th e movant has the burden of proof on an issue at trial , it must "a f f i r m a t i v e l y demonstrate that no reasonab l e trier of fact could find other than fo r the moving p a r t y . " Soremekun v. Thrifty Payless, Inc., 509 F.3d 978 , 984 (9th C i r . 2007); see also S. Cal. G a s Co . v. City of Santa Ana, 336 F.3 d 885, 888 (9th Cir. 2003) (noting that a party moving for summary judgment on claim on which it has the burden at trial "must establi s h beyond c o n t r o v e r s y e v e r y essential element" of th e claim) (interna l quotation marks omitted). 10 With respect to an 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 issue as to which th e non-mov i n g party has the burden of proof, t h e movant "c a n prevail merely by pointing out that the r e is an abs e n c e of evidence to support t h e nonmovin g party's ca s e . " Sor e m e k u n , 509 F.3d at 984. When a m o t i o n for su m m a r y judgment is prope r l y ma d e and supp o r t e d , the n o n - m o v a n t cannot defeat the m o t i o n by resting upon the all e g a t i o n s or denials of its ow n pleading , rather the "non-mov i n g party must set forth, by affidavi t or as othe r w i s e provided in Rule 56, `s p e c i f i c facts sh o w i n g that there is a genuine issue for t r i a l . ' " Id. (quo t i n g A n d e r s o n v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 250 (1986)). "C o n c l u s o r y , speculative testim o n y in affidavi t s and movin g papers is insufficient to r a i s e genuine issues of fa c t and defeat summary judgmen t . " To defea t a motion f o r summary judgment, the nonm o v i n g p a r t y must sh o w there exists a genuine dis p u t e (or issue) o f material f a c t . A fact is "material" if it Id. "might a f f e c t the ou t c o m e of the suit under the g o v e r n i n g law." A n d e r s o n , 477 U.S. at 248. "[ S ] u m m a r y jud g m e n t will not lie if [a] dispute about a material fact is `genuine , ' that is, if the evidence is such that a reasonab l e jury coul d return a verdict for the no n m o v i n g party." Id. a t 248. In ruling on a motion for s u m m a r y judgment , the district court does not make credibility 11 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 determin a t i o n s ; rath e r , the "evidence of the non- m o v a n t is to be believed, a n d all justifiable inferences are to be drawn in his favo r . " Id. at 255. IV. ANALYSIS A. Two of t h e Four Requ e s t e d Determinations are Not Amenable to Summary Judgment. Federal Rule of Civi l Procedure 56(a) provides th a t a plaintif f may move " f o r summary judgment on all o r par t of [a] c l a i m . " Plaintiff cites a number of cases for the unremark a b l e proposi t i o n that a party may move fo r partial summar y judg m e n t on a single issue of law or f a c t relevant to a partic u l a r claim or defense. Criti c a l l y , however, in each cit e d case, legal rules were app l i e d to specific facts to fi n d a claim or issue undispute d as a matter o f law. See Gillette v. Delmore, 886 F.2d 1194 , 1197-99 (9th C i r . 1988) (denying motion for summa r y adjudica t i o n as to w h e t h e r specific phone call ma d e by Plaintif f was protec t e d speech because material f a c t s were dis p u t e d ) ; Deimer v. Cincinnati Sub-Zero Products , 990 F.2d 342, 344-46 (7th Cir . 1993) (denying mot i o n for summary judgment on issue of causation, finding t h a t material issues of f a c t existed); Min o r i t y Police Officers Ass'n of So u t h Bend v. City of South Ben d , 721 F.2d 197 , 201- 2 0 2 (7th Cir. 1983) (summarily adjudicat i n g 12 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 issue of stand i n g , rejecting plaintiffs' theory that minority police offi c e r s share interests with min o r i t i e s applying to become o f f i c e r ) ; First Nat'l In s . Co. v. Federal Deposit Ins. Corp., 9 7 7 F. Supp. 1051, 1055-59 (S.D. Ca l . 1997) (gr a n t i n g partial summary judgme n t on several issues, as o p p o s e d to causes of action, t o narrow issues a t trial, app l y i n g various legal doctrines to the specific facts of th a t case); S. Pac. Transp. Co. v. Californ i a (Caltrans ) , 790 F. Supp. 9 8 3 , 98 4 (C.D. Cal . 1991) (d e t e r m i n i n g , on summary judgme n t , th a t the petroleu m exclusion in the Comprehensive Environm e n t a l Response and Liabili t y Act ("CERCLA") applies to unrefine d and refine d gasoline, used petroleum pr o d u c t s , and petr o l e u m - l a d e n soil, substances at issue in that case). Plaintiffs als o cite Disandro v. Morr i s o n - K n u d s e n Co., Inc . , 588 F. Su p p . 889, 892 (D. Haw. 1984), and United S t a t e s v. Phi l i p Morris USA, Inc., 3 2 7 F. Supp. 2d 13, 18 ( D . D . C . 2004) , for the proposition that it is appropri a t e to summa r i l y adjudicate a "pure" legal issue to narro w the issues in a case and advance the pr o g r e s s of the l i t i g a t i o n . In Disandro, the distri c t cou r t entertai n e d plaintif f ' s request, styled as a moti o n for partial summary judg m e n t , on the issues of whethe r a 13 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 particul a r statute r e q u i r e d proof of defend a n t ' s scien t e r and/or p l a i n t i f f ' s r e l i a n c e . Defendant argued th a t ruling o n these disc r e t e issues of law would amou n t to an advisory opinion in violation of Article III's ca s e or controve r s y requirem e n t . Id. at 893. This argum e n t was rejected based on Lies v. Farrell Lines, In c . , 641 F.2d 765, 768 - 6 9 & n.3 (9 t h Cir. 1981), recognizing th a t "[i]t is appro p r i a t e to de c i d e a few limited issues by summary judgment , even if th o s e issues are not entirely disposit i v e of any o n e claim ... [as] summa r y jud g m e n t can thus serve to se t the issues for trial." How e v e r , the quot e d Lie s language interprets Rule 56(d)(1), which permits a court to d e e m certain facts established if those fa c t s appear t o be "without substantial controve r s y . " See L i e s 641 F.2d at 7 6 8 . Lies is not authorit y for the is s u a n c e of partial summary jud g m e n t on an abstract is s u e of law (i.e . , one entirely divorced from the facts of the case under consideration). Disandro ' s mis p l a c e d reliance on Lies rende r s its holding unpersua s i v e . Philip M o r r i s USA, a RICO case, summarily a d j u d i c a t e d the "str i c t legal is s u e " of whether a defendant's liabilit y for conspi r a c y under the RICO statute r e q u i r e d that the defendant p a r t i c i p a t e in the management of the 14 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 enterpri s e . 327 F. Supp. 2d at 18. Citing Warne r v. United S t a t e s , 698 F. Supp. 877, 879 (S.D. Fla. 1988), this iss u e was deeme d amenable to summary adjudic a t i o n because its resoluti o n could "narrow the issues i n a case, ad v a n c e the pr o g r e s s of the litigation, and provide the part i e s with some guidance as to how th e y pro c e e d with the case." 327 F. Supp. 2d at 17. But Warner, like Lies, co n c e r n e d the application of rule 56(d), which permits the court to determine specific facts, no t abstract issues of l a w . persuasi v e than Disandro. Here, Pl a i n t i f f s req u e s t determinations of the followin g , abstract questions of law: (1) whethe r the Philip Morris is n o more "take" o f a single e n d a n g e r e d listed fish without prior take aut h o r i z a t i o n f r o m the appropriate federal w i l d l i f e agency v i o l a t e s the ESA; and (2) whet h e r a govern m e n t agency or entity violate s the ESA by " t a k i n g " a fe d e r a l l y listed species throug h the exercise of its regu l a t o r y authority without firs t obtainin g take autho r i z a t i o n from the appropriate federal Wildlife Agency. As to th e first issu e , although the F i r s t Amended Complain t ("FAC"), D o c . 46, and the Plaintiffs' S t a t e m e n t of Undis p u t e d Facts, Doc. 57-2, focus on al l e g e d 15 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 populati o n - l e v e l effects of the striped bass spor t f i s h i n g regulations on the Listed Species, the FA C also alleges: 113. Th e ESA prohib i t s all take of all ESA-list e d species, even of a single individu a l of the sp e c i e s . Loggerhea d Turtle v . County Cou n c i l of Volusia County, 896 F. Supp. 1170, 1180 (M.D. Fla. 199 5 ) ; 16 U.S.C . 1538. *** 115. By enforcing r e g u l a t i o n s to protect and increase the non-native striped bass populat i o n , defendant is taking t h e Listed Sp e c i e s in violation of secti o n 9 of the ESA. FAC at 113, 115. Plaintiffs seek early adjudi c a t i o n of the " s i n g l e take" issue to vindicate their pos i t i o n that "in order to su c c e e d on the merits, Plaintif f s need only pro v e that stri p e d bass predation of Listed Species is great e r , by one f i s h , than if the sport-fishing regulati o n s were not enforced." Doc. 79-2 at 3-4. 2 This is an abstract question, as the motion is supporte d by no undi s p u t e d facts that could possi b l y support such a findi n g . In other words, Plaintif f s motion w o u l d require that the court hypotheticall y assume, for purposes of this motion, that that the striped bass sport-fishing regulations caus e d an 2 At or a l a r g u m e n t , P l a i n t i f f s ' co u n s e l su g g e s t e d th a t t h e in t e n t of th i s a r g u m e n t wa s , in f a c t , t o e s t a b l i s h th a t m i n u t e pop u l a t i o n l e v e l e f f e c t s , e. g . , 0.0 1 pe r c e n t , wou l d b e su f f i c i e n t t o e s t a b l i s h a v i o l a t i o n o f th e ES A . B u t , Pl a i n t i f f s c i t e on l y s i n g l e t a k e ca s e s in su p p o r t of t h e i r m o t i o n f o r p a r t i a l s u m m a r y j u d g m e n t . W h e t h e r a cer t a i n p e r c e n t a g e ef f e c t wo u l d sa t i s f y th e po p u l a t i o n - l e v e l ef f e c t s sta n d a r d tu r n s on t h e ap p l i c a t i o n o f p o p u l a t i o n - l e v e l im p a c t jur i s p r u d e n c e . 16 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 individu a l angler to release (or not catch) one particul a r str i p e d b a s s , which then, in tur n , consumed one part i c u l a r , indi v i d u a l Listed Species, and de t e r m i n e the lega l effect of such a hypothetical case. Pl a i n t i f f s have not presented s u c h evidence, precluding summ a r y adjudica t i o n of whet h e r "take" of a single listed fish violates ESA section 9. On summary judgment, a d i s t r i c t court ma y not assume facts that do not exist or c a n n o t be proved t o decide abs t r a c t questions of law. The fact s supp o r t i n g Plaintiffs' alternative theo r y of take -- tha t the sport - f i s h i n g regulations have populati o n - l e v e l effects on the Listed Species -- are highly d i s p u t e d . Al t h o u g h striped bass may eat d e l t a smelt, t h e y also eat delta smelt predators and competit o r s . Nobrig a Decl. at 10. As Mr. Nobri g a states: "[M]ajor foo d web perturbations can cause changes that wer e not predic t a b l e in advance." Id. Mr. Nobri g a conclude s that "it i s impossible to forecast the populati o n responses of the Bay-Delta food web to the removal of striped b a s s - one of its keystone spe c i e s . " Id. at 2 4 Federal courts are c o u r t s of limited jurisdiction , and "mus t refrain fr o m deciding abstract or hypot h e t i c a l controve r s i e s and fr o m rendering impermissible ad v i s o r y 17 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 opinions with respect to such controversies . " See Earth Island I n s t . v. Ruth e n b e c k , 4 9 0 F.3d 687, 694 (9th Cir . 2007), r e v ' d on othe r grounds, Summers v. E a r t h I s l a n d Inst., 1 2 9 S. Ct. 1142 (2009) (citing Flast v. Cohen, 392 U.S. 83, 96 (1968)); see also In re M i c h a e l s o n , 511 F. 2 d 882, 893 (9th Cir. 1 9 7 5 ) ( " T h i s Court does not int e n d to and cann o t , issue an advisory opinion on a hypoth e t i c a l fact sit u a t i o n . " ) ; Matter of Fed Pak System s , Inc., 80 F.3d 207 , 211- 1 2 (7th Cir. 1996)(federal court "lacks the constitu t i o n a l power to r e n d e r advisory opinions or to decide a b s t r a c t , aca d e m i c , or hypothetical questi o n s " ) . The seco n d request p r e s e n t s the same problem: whether it is unlawf u l for a government or govern m e n t agency o r entity to take a Listed Species through the exercise of its regu l a t o r y authority without first receivin g ESA take a u t h o r i z a t i o n . A district cou r t cannot s u m m a r i l y adj u d i c a t e , in the abstract, whe t h e r "the exe r c i s e of [an agency's] regulatory authori t y " results in a take. This inquiry does not require applicat i o n of undisputed facts established in this case to the l a w . Whether the specific exercise of reg u l a t o r y authorit y that has o c c u r r e d in this case resulted in an unlawful take of any of the Listed Species is not raised by the p r e s e n t motio n . The facts that unde r l i e that 18 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 question are dispute d . Plaintif f s ' motion f o r summary adjudication is DE N I E D WITHOUT PREJUDICE as to the single take (second) and take by regul a t o r y author i t y (third) issues. B. CVPIA Af f i r m a t i v e De f e n s e . Central Delta assert s the following a f f i r m a t i v e defense: The prov i s i o n s of th e Central Valley Project Improvem e n t Act, Pub . L . 102-575, 106 Stat. 4600, Title 34 , 106 Stat. 4706- 3 1 (1992) pertaining to anadromo u s fish, whi c h are defined to include striped bass, [] are a bar to any action to enforce any inconsis t e n t provisions of the Endanger e d Species A c t . Doc. 20 at 13. Plai n t i f f s request summary adjudi c a t i o n to forec l o s e this af f i r m a t i v e defense, the operat i v e effect o f which woul d be to exempt CDFG's enforce m e n t of striped bass sport-f i s h i n g regulations from the t a k e prohibit i o n s under S e c t i o n 9 of the ESA, 16 U.S.C . 1538 (a)(1)(B ) , and the r e q u i r e m e n t that CDFG obtain a n incident a l take perm i t . The CVPI A contains n u m e r o u s provisions calling fo r protecti o n and enhan c e m e n t of striped bass within the Sacramen t o - S a n Joaquin Delta. CVPIA section 3403 ( a ) defines the term "an a d r o m o u s fish" to include "st r i p e d bass," m a k i n g applic a b l e section 3406(b)(1)'s mai n t e n a n c e and rest o r a t i o n prov i s i o n s . That section require s the 19 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 Secretar y of Interior to "develop within th r e e years of enactmen t and implem e n t a program which makes all reasonab l e efforts t o ensure that, by the year 20 0 2 , natural production o f anadromous fish in Central Valley rivers a n d streams w i l l be sustainable, on a long - t e r m basis, at leve l s not less than twice the average levels attained during the period of 1967-1991." To this end , it is un d i s p u t e d tha t FWS has established a doubl i n g goal for stri p e d bass of 2,500,000 fish. McDaniel Dec l . , Doc. 66-4, at 3 & Ex. B (Final Restoration Plan for Anadromo u s Fish Rest o r a t i o n Program, January 9, 2 0 0 1 ) at 9-10. I t is a l s o un d i s p u t e d that this goal has n o t been Id. at Ex. C (Anadromous Fish Restoration achieved . Program Doubling Gra p h s for striped bass). Section 3406(b)(1)(B ) provides that " t h e Secretar y is authoriz e d and direc t e d to modify Central Valley Project operatio n s to provid e flows of suitable quality, quantity , and timing to protect all life stages o f anadromo u s fish...." Section 3406(b)(1)(D)(2) re q u i r e s that the Secretary "upon enactment of this title dedicate and mana g e annually 800,000 acre-feet of Ce n t r a l Valle y Project yield for th e primary purpose of implemen t i n g the fish, wi l d l i f e , and habitat restoration purposes and measures authorized by this title...." 20 This provision 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 has been interpreted to require that the Secretar y give primacy to its anadr o m o u s fish doubling program i n the allocati o n of the 80 0 , 0 0 0 acre-foot CVP yie l d ded i c a t i o n . See San Luis & Delta Mendota Water Auth. v. U.S. Dept. of the Inte r i o r , --- F. Supp. 2d ---, 2009 WL 1362652 (E. D . Cal. 200 9 ) ; Ba y Institute of San Francisco v. United States, 87 Fed. Appx . 637 (9th Cir. J a n . 23, 2004). Because striped bass are included in the statutor y definiti o n of "andad r o m o u s fish," they are intend e d and designat e d beneficia r i e s of these efforts. 3403(a). 3 3 CVPIA Add i t i o n a l , s p e c i f i c req u i r e m e n t s f o r th e pr o t e c t i o n a n d res t o r a t i o n o f an a d r o m o u s fi s h , in c l u d i n g st r i p e d ba s s , are f o u n d i n sec t i o n 3 4 0 6 ( b ) ( 8 ) ( t o im p l e m e n t "s h o r t p u l s e s of i n c r e a s e d wa t e r flo w s t o in c r e a s e t h e su r v i v a l o f m i g r a t i n g an a d r o m o u s f i s h m o v i n g int o an d th r o u g h th e Sac r a m e n t o - S a n Jo a q u i n De l t a an d Ce n t r a l V a l l e y riv e r s an d st r e a m s " ) ; se c t i o n 34 0 6 ( b ) ( 9 ) ( t h a t th e Se c r e t a r y " d e v e l o p and i m p l e m e n t a p r o g r a m to e l i m i n a t e , to t h e e x t e n t po s s i b l e , l o s s e s of an a d r o m o u s f i s h du e t o fl o w f l u c t u a t i o n s ca u s e d b y th e o p e r a t i o n of an y Ce n t r a l Va l l e y Pr o j e c t st o r a g e or r e - r e g u l a t i n g f a c i l i t y " ) ; sec t i o n 3 4 0 6 ( b ) ( 1 9 ) ( t h a t t h e S e c r e t a r y " r e e v a l u a t e e x i s t i n g ope r a t i o n a l c r i t e r i a in or d e r to m a i n t a i n mi n i m u m ca r r y o v e r s t o r a g e at Sa c r a m e n t o a n d T r i n i t y ri v e r re s e r v o i r s t o pr o t e c t an d r e s t o r e the a n a d r o m o u s fi s h o f t h e S a c r a m e n t o an d Tr i n i t y Ri v e r s in acc o r d a n c e wi t h t h e m a n d a t e s a n d r e q u i r e m e n t s of t h i s sub s e c t i o n . . . " ) ; se c t i o n 3 4 0 6 ( c ) ( 1 ) ( t h a t t h e S e c r e t a r y " d e v e l o p a com p r e h e n s i v e p l a n , t o r e e s t a b l i s h whe r e n e c e s s a r y a n d t o s u s t a i n nat u r a l l y r e p r o d u c i n g an a d r o m o u s f i s h e r i e s f r o m Fr i a n t D a m to [ t h e San J o a q u i n R i v e r ' s ] con f l u e n c e wi t h t h e S a n F r a n c i s c o Bay / S a c r a m e n t o - S a n Jo a q u i n D e l t a E s t u a r y " ) ; se c t i o n 34 0 6 ( e ) ( 1 ) ( t h a t the S e c r e t a r y i n v e s t i g a t e "m e a s u r e s to m a i n t a i n su i t a b l e tem p e r a t u r e s fo r an a d r o m o u s fi s h s u r v i v a l in t h e S a c r a m e n t o a n d S a n Joa q u i n r i v e r s an d th e i r t r i b u t a r i e s , an d th e Sa c r a m e n t o - S a n Jo a q u i n Del t a b y co n t r o l l i n g or re l o c a t i n g the d i s c h a r g e o f ir r i g a t i o n ret u r n fl o w s an d se w a g e ef f l u e n t . . . " ) ; s e c t i o n 3 4 0 6 ( e ) ( 5 ) ( f o r inv e s t i g a t i o n o f "m e a s u r e s t o pr o v i d e fo r mo d i f i e d o p e r a t i o n s a n d new o r im p r o v e d c o n t r o l st r u c t u r e s at th e De l t a Cr o s s Ch a n n e l a n d Geo r g i a n a S l o u g h to a s s i s t i n th e s u c c e s s f u l m i g r a t i o n o f a n a d r o m o u s fis h " ) ; s e c t i o n 3 4 0 6 ( f ) ( t h a t " [ t ] h e Se c r e t a r y , i n co n s u l t a t i o n wi t h the S e c r e t a r y o f Co m m e r c e , t h e S t a t e o f Ca l i f o r n i a , ap p r o p r i a t e Ind i a n tr i b e s , an d ot h e r a p p r o p r i a t e p u b l i c an d pr i v a t e ent i t i e s , sha l l i n v e s t i g a t e a n d re p o r t o n al l ef f e c t s of t h e C e n t r a l Va l l e y 21 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 Section 3406(b)(14) is directed specifically to striped bass, requir i n g the Secretary to "develop and implemen t a program which provides for modified operatio n s and new o r improved control structures at the Delta Cr o s s Channel and Georgiana Slough during t i m e s when sig n i f i c a n t num b e r s of striped bass eggs, la r v a e , and juve n i l e s approa c h the Sacramento River intak e to the Delta Cr o s s Channel or Georgiana Slough." Certain CVPIA provis i o n s require the Secret a r y to coordina t e with stat e agencies to protect anadrom o u s fish in gener a l and strip e d bass in particular. For e x a m p l e , Section 3406(b)(21) requires that the Secretary " a s s i s t the Stat e of Califor n i a in efforts to develop and implemen t measures t o avoid losses of juven i l e anadrom o u s fish res u l t i n g from unscreened or inadequately sc r e e n e d diversio n s on the Sa c r a m e n t o and San Joaquin rive r s , their tr i b u t a r i e s , t h e Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, and the Suis u n Marsh." Similarly, section 3406(b)(18 ) requires that the Se c r e t a r y "if requested by the State of Californ i a , assist i n developing and implementing manageme n t measures to restore the striped bass f i s h e r y Pro j e c t o n an a d r o m o u s fi s h p o p u l a t i o n s . . . " ) ; a n d s e c t i o n 34 0 6 ( g ) ( f o r the m o d e l i n g of " m e a s u r e s ne e d e d t o re s t o r e an a d r o m o u s f i s h e r i e s to opt i m u m a n d s u s t a i n a b l e le v e l s i n a c c o r d a n c e w i t h th e re s t o r e d car r y i n g ca p a c i t i e s o f C e n t r a l V a l l e y ri v e r s . . . " a n d " m e a s u r e s des i g n e d to r e a c h s u s t a i n a b l e ha r v e s t le v e l s o f re s i d e n t an d ana d r o m o u s fi s h . . . . " ) . 22 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 of the B a y - D e l t a estuary." Such measures must be "coordin a t e d with ef f o r t s to protect and restore nativ e fisherie s . " Id. Central Delta is cor r e c t that "[i]t cannot be reasonab l y disputed that Congress intended to pro t e c t and restore striped bass . " Doc. 66 at 5. However, C o n g r e s s also exp r e s s e d its i n t e n t i o n in CVPIA 3406(b), that the Secretar y "ope r a t e the Central Valley Proje c t to meet all obligati o n s under st a t e and federal law, includin g but not limi t e d to the f e d e r a l Endangered Species Act . . . . " In light of the fact that the CVPIA expressly req u i r e s complian c e with the ESA, Plaintiffs argue that their E S A claims c a n n o t be bar r e d as a matter of law by the CVPIA. Doc. 57- 2 at 5-7. Central Delta rejoins that the more specific , and more-recently enacted, provis i o n s of the CVPIA re q u i r i n g rest o r a t i o n of the striped bass f i s h e r y should p r e v a i l over the ESA's earlier-enact e d , general requirem e n t s . Plaintif f s cite Morton v. C.R. Mancari, 417 U.S. 535, 550-551 (1974) , for the proposition that "courts are not at liber t y to pick a n d choose among congressional enactmen t s , and when two statutes are capable of coe x i s t e n c e , it is the duty of the courts, absent a clearly expresse d congressio n a l intention to the contrary , to 23 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 regard e a c h as effec t i v e . " Mancari and its progeny concern the repeal b y implication of an earlier, specific provisio n , by a later-ena c t e d , general one. Here , the issue is whether a l a t e r , specific provision rend e r s inapplic a b l e an earl i e r - e n a c t e d general one. Courts h a v e "a duty to construe statutes harmoniously" whenev e r possible . 2B N. Sin g e r & J. Singer, Sutherland S t a t u t e s and Stat u t o r y Constr u c t i o n 53:1 (7th ed. 2008). Central Delta is cor r e c t that the CVPIA is the mo r e recent a n d more spec i f i c expression of Congressio n a l intent. Central Del t a suggests that Rodgers v. United States, 185 U.S. 83, 89 (1902) sets f o r t h the applicab l e canon of statutory c o n s t r u c t i o n : Where th e r e are two acts or provisions, one of which is special and particular, and certainly includes the matter in question, and the other general, which, if s t a n d i n g alone, would include the same matter and thus conflict with the special act or provi s i o n , the special must be taken as intended to constitute an exception to the gene r a l act or p r o v i s i o n , especially when such gen e r a l and spe c i a l acts or provisions are contempo r a n e o u s , as the legislature is not to be presumed to have int e n d e d a conflict. Central Delta ignore s the law that a later, more specific statute only trumps an earlier general one where the two statutes are in conf l i c t . Can the numerous CVP I A provisions directing the Secretar y of the Interior , in consultation with o t h e r federal agencies, to protect and enhance the stri p e d bass populati o n , be harmo n i z e d with application of sec t i o n 9's 24 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 take pro h i b i t i o n to CDFG's enforcement of the str i p e d bass spo r t - f i s h i n g regulations and more general applicat i o n of the ESA? On Plaintiffs' motion for summary adjudication on an affirmative defense fo r which Central Delta has th e burden of proof at trial, Plaintif f s must show "an absence of evidence to s u p p o r t the nonm o v i n g party' s case." Soremek u n , 509 F.3d at 9 8 4 . Plaintif f s maintain, and have presented evidence to support their claim, that State Defendant's enfor c e m e n t of the s p o r t - f i s h i n g regulations necessarily take Listed Species, and that la w f u l application of the ESA t o State Defendan t ' s enforcem e n t activities will require eliminat i o n of (or s u b s t a n t i a l modification to) t h o s e sport-fi s h i n g regula t i o n s , which are causing jeopardy to Listed S p e c i e s . The State rejoins that the curre n t sport-fi s h i n g regula t i o n s are critica l to the maintenance of curre n t str i p e d b a s s a b u n d a n c e levels. The State's evidence suggests th a t the continued enforcement of these regulati o n s , and/or the promulgation of more stri n g e n t protecti o n s , may be necessary to achieve the 2,50 0 , 0 0 0 striped bass populat i o n goal promulgated by the Servic e . This pre s e n t s a mate r i a l factual dispute over the effects of CDFG's st r i p e d bass regulations on the bass and List e d Species p o p u l a t i o n s . The express lang u a g e and the legi s l a t i v e purp o s e of the CVPIA do not evinc e an intent t o abrogate a p p l i c a t i o n of the ESA. Only after the fact s are develo p e d will it be possible to de t e r m i n e if a con f l i c t in ope r a t i o n exists between impleme n t a t i o n 25 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 of the E S A to the sp o r t - f i s h i n g regulations and achiev i n g the CVPI A objectives by application of those regu l a t i o n s . Plaintif f s ' motion f o r summary adjudication of Ce n t r a l Delta's CVPIA affirm a t i v e defense is DENIED WITHO U T PREJUDIC E . C. Standing of Dee Dill o n . To maint a i n an actio n in federal court, Plaintiff s must hav e Article II I standing. See Lujan v. Nat'l "[T]o satisfy Wildlife Fed'n, 497 U.S. 871, 872 (1990). 4 Article III's standi n g requirements, a plaintiff must show (1) [he] has su f f e r e d an `injury in fact' th a t is (a) conc r e t e and par t i c u l a r i z e d and (b) actual or imminent , not conjec t u r a l or hypothetical; (2) th e inj u r y is fairl y traceable to the challenged action of t h e defendan t ; and (3) i t is likely, as opposed to me r e l y speculat i v e , that th e injury will be redressed by a favorabl e decision." Lai d l a w , 528 U. S . at 180-81. The burd e n of establ i s h i n g these thre e elements f a l l s upon the party asser t i n g federal jurisdiction. Defender s of Wildlif e , 504 U.S. 555, 561 (1 9 9 2 ) . 4 Lujan v. "[E] a c h In ad d i t i o n t o th e Ar t i c l e I I I r e q u i r e m e n t s , p l a i n t i f f s bri n g i n g su i t u n d e r t h e Ad m i n i s t r a t i v e P r o c e d u r e A c t , 5 U.S . C . 706 , mu s t e s t a b l i s h t h a t t h e y fa l l wit h i n th e "z o n e of i n t e r e s t " of the s t a t u t e u n d e r w h i c h th e y b r i n g the i r l a w s u i t . S e e C i t y o f Sau s a l i t o v . O' N e i l l , 38 6 F. 3 d 1 1 8 6 , a t 11 9 9 ( 9 t h Ci r . 2 0 0 4 ) . How e v e r , wh e r e Pl a i n t i f f s ' s u i t ar i s e s u n d e r t h e E S A ' s c i t i z e n su i t pro v i s i o n , wh i c h al l o w s "a n y p e r s o n " t o co m m e n c e a c i v i l su i t , th e zon e of i n t e r e s t te s t is n e g a t e d , o r a t le a s t ex p a n d e d t o i n c l u d e "an y pe r s o n . " B e n n e t v. Sp e a r , 5 2 0 U.S . 15 4 , 1 6 4 ( 1 9 9 7 ) . 26 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 element of Article I I I standing `must be supporte d in the same way as any othe r matter on which the plainti f f bears the burd e n of proof, i.e., with the manner and de g r e e of evidence required at the successive stages of the litigati o n . ' " Bennett v. Spear, 520 U.S. 1 5 4 , 16 7 (19 9 7 ) On summary judgment , (quoting Lujan, 504 U.S. at 561). plaintif f "must show there is no genu i n e dispute as to material facts regar d i n g their standing and that they have sta n d i n g as a m a t t e r of law." Citizen s for a Bet t e r Envt.-Ca l . v. Union Oil of Cal., 996 F. Sup p . 934 , 937 (N.D. Ca l . 1997); cf. Def e n d e r s of Wildlife v. Gu t i e r r e z , 532 F.3d 913, 924 (D . C . C i r . 2008) ("In rev i e w i n g the standing question, t h e court must be careful not to decide t h e questions on the merits for or against plaintif f , and must therefore assume that on the merits the plai n t i f f s would be successful in their claim s . " ) . When a p l a i n t i f f is an object of the challenged regulato r y action, s t a n d i n g is usually not challe n g i n g to prove. Lujan, 504 U.S. at 562. When a plaintiff's asserted injury "ari s e s from the government's all e g e d l y unlawful regulation (or lack of regulation) of so m e o n e else, mu c h more is n e e d e d . " Id. In that circumstance , causation and redressa b i l i t y ordin a r i l y hinge on the response of the r e g u l a t e d (or regulable) third party to the gove r n m e n t actio n or inaction -- and perhaps on the r e s p o n s e of o t h e r s as well. The 27 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 existenc e of one or more of the essential elements of standing "depends on the unfettered choices made by inde p e n d e n t actors not before the cour t s and whose exercise of broad and legitima t e discretio n the courts cannot presume either t o control or to predict"; and it be c o m e s the burd e n of the pl a i n t i f f to adduce facts showing that those c h o i c e s have been or will be made in such manner as to produce causation and permit r e d r e s s a b i l i t y of injury. Thus, when the plaintif f is not him s e l f the object o f the governme n t action or inaction he challenges, standing is not prec l u d e d , but it is ordinarily "substan t i a l l y more difficult" to establish. Id. (int e r n a l citati o n s omitted). 1. Injury-In-Fact. To satis f y the "inju r y in fact" requirement, Plaintif f s mus t prov i d e e v i d e n c e of either actual or threaten e d injury. See U n i t e d States v. En s i g n , 491 F.3d A plaintiff claim i n g 1109, 11 1 6 - 1 7 (9th Cir. 2007). environm e n t a l injury demonstrates injury in fact if he uses the affected ar e a and is a person "`for whom the aestheti c and recrea t i o n a l values of the area wil l be lessened ' by the cha l l e n g e d activity." Lai d l a w , 528 U.S. at 183 ( q u o t i n g Sierra Club v. Morton, 405 U.S. 727, 7 3 5 (1972)). To satisfy this burden, Mr. Dillon does not need to show actual harm; "an increased risk of harm c a n itself b e injury in fact sufficient for standing. " Ecologic a l Rights Fo u n d . v. Pac. Lumber Co., 230 F.3d 1141, 11 5 1 (9th Cir. 2000); see also Ocean Advoca t e s v. U.S. Arm y Corps of E n g ' r s , 402 F.3d 846, 860 (9th Cir. 2004) (i n j u r y in fac t existed where a g e n c y ' s issuance of a permit authorizing an oil company to build an a d d i t i o n 28 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 to its o i l refinery dock increased the risk of an oil spill, a n event that would harm plaintiffs' inter e s t s ) . To "requ i r e actual e v i d e n c e of environmental harm, rat h e r than an increased ri s k based on a violation of [a ] statute, misundersta n d s the nature of environment a l harm and woul d unduly lim i t the enforcement of statuto r y environm e n t a l protec t i o n s . " 860. Here, Mr . Dill o n declares that he has visited the Delta "t o appreciate the natural environment, to escape from the urban envir o n m e n t , and to engage in nume r o u s recreati o n a l activit i e s , including recreational b o a t i n g , swimming , snorkeling , kayaking, and wildlife view i n g . " Dillon D e c l . , Doc. 5 7 - 5 , at 3 . Through these ac t i v i t i e s Ocean Advocate s , 402 F.3d at he has " b e e n able to gain significant exposure to the Sacramen t o River win t e r - r u n c h i n o o k salmon, Central Valley s p r i n g - r u n chinook salmon, Central Valley steelhea d , and delta smelt ("Listed Species"). When [h e ] encounte r s the Liste d Species [he] is generally f i l l e d with a s e n s e of appr e c i a t i o n and satisfaction." Dillon C o n t i n u e s : My encou n t e r s with t h e Listed Species have occurred through a v a r i e t y of different circumst a n c e s . For example, I have witnessed salmon m i g r a t i n g thr o u g h the Delta from a kayak, and view e d delta sme l t while riding on a trawl vessel. I have also viewed Listed Species while photogra p h i n g the De l t a ' s diverse wildlife, and while sw i m m i n g along the Delta's banks. These are but a few exampl e s of my various experien c e s , and are in no way intended to be a comprehe n s i v e list. 29 Id. Mr. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 Id. at 4 . He furth e r states that "the decline o f the Listed S p e c i e s , whic h I have personally witnessed over the last seven years , has negatively impacted my use and enjoymen t of the Del t a . For example, as a result of the decline of the Liste d Species, my ability to fish for and view sal m o n has been significantly impaired." Id. at 6. Mr. Dill o n is a pers o n "for whom the aesthetic an d recreati o n a l values of the area will be lessened by the challeng e d activity. " Fr i e n d s of the Earth v. La i d l a w Envtl. S e r v s . (TOC), Inc., 52 8 U.S. 167, 183 (2000). The Supr e m e Court re c e n t l y examined the "injury i n fact" re q u i r e m e n t in Summers v. Earth Islan d Inst i t u t e , 129 S. C t . 1142 (200 9 ) . Summers addr e s s e d whether environm e n t a l organi z a t i o n s had standing to chall e n g e a U.S. For e s t Service ("Service") regulation that e x e m p t e d certain types of pro j e c t s from the Service's noti c e , comment, and appeal process. Id. at 1147. The Court first re v i e w e d an af f i d a v i t in which one of the plaintif f s asserted that he had suffered injury i n the past fro m developmen t on Forest Service land. Th i s was rejected as a basis for standing, because, among other things, "it relates to pa s t injury rather t h a n imminent and futu r e injury th a t is sought to be enjoined." 1150. Id. at I n addition, another plaintiff's claim tha t he "want[s] to" visit s p e c i f i c sites in the Alleghen y National Forest was found insufficiently specific . "This vague de s i r e to retu r n is insufficient to satisfy the requirem e n t of immin e n t injury: `Such `some day' 30 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 intentio n s -- w i t h o u t any description of concrete pl a n s or indeed a n y specifica t i o n of when the some day wil l be-- d o not supp o r t a findin g of the `actual or imm i n e n t ' inju r y that our cases requi r e . ' " 504 U.S. at 564). In suppo r t of their motion for partial summary judgment on the issu e of standing, Plaintiffs ori g i n a l l y submitte d only Mr. D i l l o n ' s declaration. His dec l a r a t i o n Id. at 1150-51 (quoting Lujan, arguably did not sat i s f y Summers beca u s e , a l t h o u g h Mr. Dillon " p l a n s to con t i n u e frequenting the Delta," Dillon Decl., D o c . 57-5, at 6, he does not set forth any specific facts descr i b i n g "concrete plans" for do i n g so. However, on May 27, 2009, Mr. Dillon filed responses t o State De f e n d a n t ' s in t e r r o g a t o r i e s , in which he de s c r i b e s specific plans to re t u r n to the Delta to fish for Listed Species over the 200 9 Labor Day weekend. Fuchs. D e c l . , Doc. 6 9 - 2 , at E x . A. See Second This is suffi c i e n t State evidence of Mr. Dill o n ' s "concrete pl a n s . " Defendan t s no longer contest Mr. Dillon's injury in fact. Mr. Dill o n satisfies the injury in fact requireme n t for purposes of standing . 2. Causatio n . The seco n d standing requirement, causation, requi r e s that the injur y be "fairly traceable" to the challenge d action o f the defend a n t , and not be "the result o f the independ e n t action o f some third party not before the court." Tyler v. Cu o m o , 236 F. 3d 1124, 1132 (9t h Cir. 31 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 2000). 5 The ca u s a t i o n element is lack i n g where an "injury caused by a third party is too tenuously connecte d to the act s of the defendant." Citizen s for Better F o r e s t r y v. U . S . Dept. of Agric., 341 F.3d 961, 975 (9th Cir. 2003). For the purposes of determi n i n g standing , while the causal connection cannot "be too speculat i v e , or rely on conjecture about the beha v i o r of other pa r t i e s , [it] need not be so airtight ... a s to demonstr a t e that the plaintiffs would succeed on the merits.' " Oce a n Advocates, 4 0 2 F.3d at 860. National Audubon Soc i e t y v. Davis, 307 F.3d 835 (9th Cir. 200 2 ) , provides guidance. The plaintiffs in Davis, bird ent h u s i a s t s , al l e g e d that a California law b a n n i n g the use of leghold t r a p s to capture or kill wildl i f e violated the Migrato r y Bird Treaty Act. Id. at 842-84 3 . Prior to the p a s s a g e of t h a t California law , federal official s used legho l d traps against predators to protect several bird species . Id. at 844. The Ninth Cir c u i t held tha t plaintiffs had standing to challenge th e leghold trap ban, fi n d i n g their injury was "fairl y 5 Whe n a pl a i n t i f f se e k s t o vi n d i c a t e a pr o c e d u r a l h a r m , r a t h e r tha n a su b s t a n t i v e ri g h t , th e ca u s a t i o n an d re d r e s s i b i l i t y req u i r e m e n t s ar e re l a x e d . L u j a n , 5 0 4 U. S . a t 57 3 n. 7 ; S a l m o n Spa w n i n g & Re c o v e r y A l l i a n c e v . Gu t i e r r e z , 5 4 5 F . 3 d 12 2 0 , 1 2 2 6 (9 t h Cir . 20 0 8 ) . Fo r ex a m p l e , a cl a i m t h a t a f e d e r a l a g e n c y fai l e d to eng a g e in r e q u i r e d co n s u l t a t i o n un d e r ES A se c t i o n 7( a ) ( 2 ) i s pro c e d u r a l in n a t u r e and w o u l d b e s u b j e c t to t h i s re l a x e d s t a n d a r d . Def e n d e r s o f Wi l d l i f e v. E P A , 42 0 F . 3 d 9 4 6 , 95 7 - 5 8 ( 9 t h Cir . 20 0 5 ) , rev e r s e d on o t h e r g r o u n d s by H o m e B u i l d e r s v . De f e n d e r s of Wi l d l i f e , 551 U . S . 64 4 (2 0 0 7 ) . He r e , Pl a i n t i f f s c l a i m t h a t St a t e Def e n d a n t ' s enf o r c e m e n t o f th e sp o r t - f i s h i n g r e g u l a t i o n s r e s u l t e d in una u t h o r i z e d ta k e i n vio l a t i o n o f E S A se c t i o n 9. No p a r t y ha s arg u e d th a t t h i s is a n a l l e g a t i o n o f p r o c e d u r a l , r a t h e r tha n sub s t a n t i v e , ha r m u n d e r th e ES A . 32 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 traceabl e " to the pr o p o s i t i o n because: [T]he fe d e r a l govern m e n t removed traps in direct response to Proposit i o n 4 (whether under direct "threat of prosecuti o n " or not). Removal of the traps le a d s to a lar g e r population of predators, which in turn decreases t h e number of birds and other pr o t e c t e d wild l i f e . Id. at 8 4 9 . " T h i s c h a i n of causation has more th a n one link, bu t it is not hypothetical or tenuous; nor do appellan t s challenge its plausibility." Id. 6 Here, it is Plaintif f s ' burden to establish that their th e o r y of caus a t i o n is at least "plausible. " Id . See also Envtl. Def. Ctr. v. EPA, 344 F.3d 832, 867 (9 t h Cir. 200 3 ) ("A plain t i f f who shows that a causal relation is `prob a b l e ' has st a n d i n g , even if the chain can n o t be definiti v e l y establi s h e d . " ) . Plaintiffs do not h a v e to establis h causation by a preponderance of the evi d e n c e required to prevail on the merits. Ocean A d v o c a t e s , 402 F.3d at 860 (while t h e causal connection cannot " b e too speculat i v e , or rely on conjecture about the beha v i o r of other pa r t i e s , [it] need not be so airtight ... a s to demonstr a t e that the plaintiffs would succeed on the merits." ) . 7 6 Because Plaintiffs are mo v i n g for summary Dav i s u n d e r m i n e s St a t e D e f e n d a n t s ' sug g e s t i o n th a t p l a i n t i f f s ' cau s a t i o n s h o w i n g i s wea k e n e d by t h e p r e s e n c e of a n o n - h u m a n in t h e cau s a l ch a i n . So l o n g a s th e r e is evi d e n c e th a t t h e t h i r d pa r t y , whe t h e r p o s s e s s i n g a fou r - c h a m b e r e d he a r t or n o t , wi l l b e h a v e i n a pre d i c t a b l e m a n n e r , t h e ca u s a l c h a i n i s no t ne c e s s a r i l y ren d e r e d "te n u o u s " f o r p u r p o s e s o f th e st a n d i n g a n a l y s i s . 7 The p a r t i e s ' un h e l p f u l l y r e l y on n u m e r o u s ca s e s de c i d i n g cau s a t i o n o n th e me r i t s , i n c l u d i n g Col d Mo u n t a i n v . Ga r b e r , 3 7 5 F . 3 d 884 ( 9 t h Ci r . 2 0 0 4 ) , Pyr a m i d L a k e P a i u t e T r i b e o f In d i a n s v . U. S . Dep a r t m e n t of t h e N a v y , 89 8 F. 2 d 1 4 1 0 (9 t h C i r . 19 9 0 ) , P a l i l a v . Haw a i i De p a r t m e n t o f Lan d an d Na t u r a l Re s o u r c e s , 6 3 9 F . 2 d 4 9 5 ( 9 t h Cir . 19 8 1 ) , a n d A m e r i c a n B a l d Ea g l e v. B h a t t i , 9 F . 3 d 16 3 ( 1 s t Ci r . 199 3 ) , as c o m p l e t e pr o o f o f ca u s a t i o n is n o t r e q u i r e d to es t a b l i s h 33 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 judgment , to prevail , there must be no material f a c t s that cal l into quest i o n the plausibility of their theo r y of causa t i o n . CDFG's C o n s e r v a t i o n Plan states that by modifying the striped bass minimum size limits from 18 to 26 in c h e s , the stri p e d bass pop u l a t i o n will increase by almo s t 210,000 fish. Conse r v a t i o n Plan at 117. If true , the nature a n d extent of the sport-fishing regu l a t i o n s hav e a cognizab l e impact on the striped bass population. CDFG counters that the Co n s e r v a t i o n Plan also conclude d that CDFG man a g e m e n t effo r t s that do not include an ar t i f i c i a l striped bass stockin g program would result in the long t e r m dec l i n e of the adult striped bass population to 515,000 adults. at 37). Doc . 65 at 3 (citing Conservatio n Plan The Conserv a t i o n Plan additionally concl u d e s that mai n t a i n i n g the striped bass population at s t a b l e levels r e q u i r e s much more restrictive sport-fishi n g regulati o n s than are presently in force. Conserva t i o n Plan at 117). 8 Plaintif f s ' evidence of a link between higher str i p e d bass abu n d a n c e and i n c r e a s e d Listed Species morta l i t y is Id. (ci t i n g sta n d i n g . 8 The d e c l a r a t i o n o f Bi l l Je n n i n g s , f i l e d by C S P A , c h a l l e n g e s whe t h e r r e m o v a l o f th e s p o r t - f i s h i n g r e g u l a t i o n s w i l l n e c e s s a r i l y lea d to a d e c r e a s e in st r i p e d ba s s pop u l a t i o n . Sp e c i f i c a l l y , Jen n i n g s op i n e s t h a t he is " o p t i m i s t i c " th a t s p o r t f i s h e r m e n ma y sel f re g u l a t e a n d p r o t e c t th e st r i p e d ba s s f i s h e r y e v e n in th e abs e n c e o f th e re g u l a t i o n s . J e n n i n g s De c l . at 7 . Bu t , CS P A sub m i t t e d J e n n i n g s ' d e c l a r a t i o n in con n e c t i o n wi t h i t s o p p o s i t i o n t o Pla i n t i f f s ' r e q u e s t f o r su m m a r y ad j u d i c a t i o n o f th e si n g l e ta k e a n d tak e by r e g u l a t o r y au t h o r i t y i s s u e s . CS P A e x p l i c i t l y de c l i n e d to opp o s e Pl a i n t i f f s ' st a n d i n g . Ac c o r d i n g l y , t h e J e n n i n g s dec l a r a t i o n wil l no t be c o n s i d e r e d i n th i s c o n t e x t . 34 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 material l y disputed. For example, CD F G ' s Conserv a t i o n Plan con c l u d e d that a striped bass population of 765,000 adults m a i n t a i n e d th r o u g h an artificial stocking program would co n s u m e 6 perc e n t of the Sacramento River w i n t e r r u n Chin o o k salmon p o p u l a t i o n , 3.1 percent of the Central Valley S p r i n g - r u n Chinook salmon population, and 5.3 percent of the delta smelt population. at 45, 5 6 , 70. Conservat i o n Plan Stri p e d bass predation upon the L i s t e d Species will be slig h t l y lower in the absence of the stocking program, bu t will still be present and will range fr o m 3.4-4.7 percent of the winter-run, 2.3 perc e n t of the s p r i n g - r u n , and 3.6 percent of the delta smelt. Id. DFG reaff i r m e d these estimates in its Status Review Sec o n d of the L o n g f i n Smelt , released January 2009. Rubin De c l . , Doc. 78, Ex. 13 at 28. These statis t i c s support Plaintiffs' contention that increased str i p e d bass pop u l a t i o n s adv e r s e l y affect the Listed Spec i e s ' abundanc e . However, the statist i c a l analyses described in th e Declarat i o n of Matth e w L. Nobriga raise questions about Plaintif f s ' assertio n that ending the enforcement of the striped bass sport-fishing regulation s will cause a measurab l e increase in the abundance of the Liste d Species. Nobriga op i n e s that it is possible that reductio n s in stripe d bass populations will have unintend e d , negative effects on Listed Species ab u n d a n c e . Specific a l l y , Nobrig a emphasizes that, while stri p e d bass prey on delta smelt, they also prey on one of the delta 35 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 smelt's primary pred a t o r s and competitors, the Mississi p p i silversl i d e . Nob r i g a Decl. at 7, 10. Nobriga opines that allowing depletion of the str i p e d bass pop u l a t i o n may actually lead to decreased de l t a smelt ab u n d a n c e , bec a u s e striped bass predation o f Mississi p p i silversl i d e would be reduced. Id. at 10. Nobriga refere n c e s research performed by others contradi c t i n g the hy p o t h e s i s that striped bass pr e d a t i o n had a ma j o r influenc e on salmon survival. Id. at 12. Nobriga also perform e d his own regression analyse s of the r

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