Earthjustice: Because the earth needs a good lawyer.
Mineral King: The Foundation of Modern Environmental Law

Connected Ecosystems

Rivers like the Kaweah, which runs through Mineral King, are part of a mighty set throughout California that foster fish populations and provide drinking water to millions of people.

Close to their source, they flow unimpeded, providing sustenance to natural and human communities alike. But further down, many are choked by dams, with grave impact to fish, or threatened by toxic pollution.

Earthjustice At Work, Featured Cases

River Protection

Nationwide:
Cleaning Up Mercury
Info
Atlantic:
Protecting River Herring
Info
Southwest:
Restoring the San Pedro River
Info
Mid-Pacific:
Preserving Hawaiʻi's Public Waters
Info
West Coast:
Protecting Salmon
Info
More at earthjustice.org

Across the United States, mercury contamination is widespread in our nation's streams, wetlands, reservoirs and lakes. Even tiny amounts of mercury lead to toxic levels in fish and can cause neurological and developmental problems in people who eat fish. Earthjustice has made fish from our rivers and oceans safer to eat through legal pressure, forcing some of the nation's biggest mercury polluters—power plants, cement kilns and incinerators—to cut their mercury emissions.

Atlantic (sea) herring, river herring and shad are critical components of the ocean and coastal ecosystem, providing a significant source of food for a variety of fish, birds and mammals. Since 1985, there has been more than a 90 percent decline in river herring populations, according to recent data. Earthjustice and fishermen and river herring advocates are challenging the government for failing to protect the fish from New England's industrial Atlantic herring fishery.

Flowing north from Mexico to Arizona, the San Pedro is one of the Earth's most biologically diverse ecosystems. Nevertheless, the river is drying up due to unsustainable sprawl and groundwater pumping. In 2011, a federal judge rejected a "legally flawed" plan by the government on the grounds that it failed to properly analyze groundwater pumping's effect on imperiled wildlife species. Earthjustice has provided legal services on this issue since 2002.

Water in Hawaiʻi is a public trust resource, but for years plantations diverted many Hawaiian streams to water sugar cane and pineapple fields, drying out and destroying the native life and Hawaiian communities connected with those streams. Now that plantations are in decline, the water can be restored to the native streams. Earthjustice, representing community groups, is working in the courts to uphold the public trust and stop wasteful water diversions.

In 1994, California's winter run king salmon were protected under the Endangered Species Act, making it the first fish given ESA protections. Earthjustice went on to win ESA protection for two dozen other West Coast salmon species by gaining increased water releases from West Coast dams; guaranteeing minimum flows in the Klamath; compelling removal of a salmon-killing Oregon dam; forcing emergency measures to rescue salmon in the Sacramento River; and gaining protection for California's Garcia River.

… And More: From dam removal on Washington's Elwha River to algae outbreaks in Florida's waterways, visit our website to learn about the diversity and breadth of Earthjustice's work to protect river systems: earthjustice.org

See Also:

Standing to Sue

A look back at the birth of citizen-enforced environmental law and its profound impact on our world today.

Photo of Tom Turner. > Watch Video Interview

Breaking Down The Courthouse Door

Don Harris, one of Earthjustice's founders, tells the story of how it all started, more than forty years ago.

Photo of the U.S. Supreme Court. > Read First Person Feature

Resources for Visitors

Thinking about visiting Mineral King? Take a look at some resources that may be helpful in planning your trip.

Dusk settles in at a camp near Pinto Lake. . > Peruse Resources
Donate Now.

Your critical gift safeguards public lands, national forests, parks, and wilderness areas; reduces air and water pollution; prevents toxic contamination; preserves endangered species and wildlife habitat; and defends the right of all people to a healthy environment.

Donate Now.
More options to share.Share Mineral King.
Share
Join us on our journey.

The earth needs a good lawyer. And Earthjustice needs you.

Stay informed on how Earthjustice is working to save wild places for this and future generations. Subscribe to Earthjustice emails, Like us on Facebook, and Follow us on Twitter:

   Please leave this field empty