CENTER FOR BIOLOGICAL DIVERSITY
Fort Huachuca violations of San Pedro compact challenged
Lawsuit filed to secure mitigation for new expansion and to stop River jeopardy
The Center for Biological Diversity (CBD) and Maricopa Audubon Society have filed a lawsuit against Fort Huachuca, the Department of Defense (DoD) and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to challenge violations of the August 23, 2002, Biological Opinion. These violations jeopardize the San Pedro River and its dependent endangered species. In the August 23, 2002, Biological Opinion, Fort Huachuca and DoD promised not expand by more than 500 people through 2011. Since the August 23, 2002, Biological Opinion, Fort Huachuca and DoD have added and/or committed locally at least 2,851 new people and $621.5 million in direct, interrelated, and/or interdependent activities without using commonly accepted personnel and financial multipliers. Using multipliers, this equates to 11,917 new people and $1.044 billion.  In addition, even more direct, interrelated, interdependent activities are proposed, but not yet committed. These equal at least 5,948 more people and $71.8 million without multipliers. The peril to the San Pedro River and its dependent endangered species has increased since the August 23, 2002, Biological Opinion. The peril has increased owing to the following facts:
- Increasing Fort Huachuca and DoD funded activities have caused an increase in off post water company deficit pumping by 13.8% from 2001 to 2003.
- The local groundwater deficit has increased by between 63.3% (from -5,144 to -8,400 acre-feet/year) according to Arizona Department of Water Resources 2002 data, and 134.3% (-5,144 to -12,050 acre-feet/year) according to U.S. Geological Survey 2003 data. (The August 23, 2002, Biological Opinion mitigation is based on local groundwater deficit of 5,144 acre-feet/year.)
- San Pedro River base flow, or the water in the stream during the driest times of the year, continues decreasing dramatically.
- The latest data from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ data reveals that the Fort Huachuca/Sierra Vista groundwater-pumping center is now negatively affecting the flow gradient near the San Pedro.
This lawsuit joins the ongoing case against the Veterans Administration (VA), Federal Housing Administration (FHA) and the Small Business Administration (SBA). On April 5, 2005, CBD filed a suit against VA, FHA and SBA to stop their failure to disclose the full extent of the damage caused by their lending, loan guarantees, and underwriting programs in the Fort Huachuca area.
EarthJustice provides legal representation for these San Pedro River-saving efforts.
 16 U.S.C. 1536(a)(2); 50 C.F.R. 402.2; ACOE 2003; ADWR 1996b, 2004a; Arizona Corporation Commission 2002, 2003, 2004; Arizona Daily Star 2004a; Border Patrol 2003, 2004a, 2004b, 2004c; CBD v. DoD 1999, pp. 2,5; CEC 1999b; Department of Interior 2004; EEC 2001; FHA 2004; Fort Huachuca 2002c, 2003c, 2004a, 2004b, 2004c, 2004d, 2005; Haas and Frye 1999; SBA 2005; Sierra Vista Herald 2003c, 2003d, 2004a, 2004c, 2004d; 2004e, 2004g, 2004h, 2004i, 2004k, 2004l, 2005a, 2005b, 2005c, 2005d; USFWS 1998a, 1998b, 1998c, 1998d, 1999b, 1999c, 2002; USGS 1999a, 2004a; VA 2004b