Case Number # 2125
Earthjustice is representing Russian Riverkeeper and the Redwood Empire Chapter of Trout Unlimited in challenging the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors’ December 7, 2010 approval of a massive gravel mining operation called the Syar Alexander Valley Instream Mining Project. The mining will take place on a 6.5-mile stretch of river located in the lower Alexander Valley near the town of Geyserville and is the first mining project of significance in the lower Alexander Valley in more than 10 years.
Despite the identification of an environmentally superior alternative in the project’s environmental impact report that would still meet most project objectives, the county elected to approve the withdrawal of up to 350,000 tons of gravel from the Russian River every year for a period of 15 years.
The Russian River was once a world-famous fishing river for salmon and steelhead, but today precious little habitat remains for these fish, and they are at risk of extinction. Impacts from instream gravel mining to salmon and steelhead are well-documented. The lawsuit seeks to ensure that adverse impacts to endangered salmon and steelhead, downstream property values, and the river’s ecology are adequately analyzed, understood and mitigated.