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Santa Ana sucker
The Press-Enterprise , February 13, 2012

Environmental groups join Santa Ana sucker lawsuit

By Janet Zimmerman

Four environmental groups were made party to a lawsuit filed by numerous Inland water agencies challenging federal habitat protections for the Santa Ana sucker, an algae-eating fish.

The Center for Biological Diversity, California Trout, San Bernardino Valley Audubon Society and the San Gorgonio chapter of the Sierra Club had petitioned to become interveners in the case, allowing them to present evidence and represent their interests, said Ileene Anderson, a biologist with the Center for Biological Diversity.

The decision by U.S. District Judge James V. Selna in Santa Ana was finalized Monday.

“We think the critical habitat designation was based on solid science and we’ll be providing that information to the judge,” Anderson said.

The sucker is listed as endangered under the Endangered Species Act. In December 2010, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service designated 9,331 acres in San Bernardino, Riverside and Los Angeles counties as critical habitat for the sucker to try and boost its numbers.

The 12 water agencies, including San Bernardino Valley Municipal, Western and the cities of Riverside and Redlands, sued Fish and Wildlife last August, contending its designation threatens water supplies for a million area residents and was not based on scientific evidence.

This article originally appeared here.

Photo © Paul S. Hamilton