893 F.3d 578 (9th Cir. 2018), 15-16316, United States v. United States Bd. of Water Commissioners

Docket Nº:15-16316, 15-16317, 15-16319, 15-16321, 15-16323, 15-16489
Citation:893 F.3d 578
Opinion Judge:BYBEE, Circuit Judge:
Party Name:UNITED STATES of America, Plaintiff, v. UNITED STATES BOARD OF WATER COMMISSIONERS, Participant-Appellee, Walker River Paiute Tribe, Intervenor-Plaintiff, National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, Petitioner, Mineral County, Intervenor-Plaintiff, and Nevada State Engineer, Respondent-Appellant, Backtrack, LLC; Bale Counter, Inc.; Gary M. ...
Attorney:Don Springmeyer (argued) and Christopher Mixson, Wolf Rifkin Shapiro Schulman & Rabkin LLP, Las Vegas, Nevada; Jamie Morin, Mentor Law Group PLLC, Seattle, Washington; for Petitioner-Appellant National Fish and Wildlife Foundation. Micheline Noel Nadeau Fairbank (argued) and Bryan L. Stockton, Se...
Judge Panel:Before: A. Wallace Tashima, Raymond C. Fisher, and Jay S. Bybee, Circuit Judges.
Case Date:May 22, 2018
Court:United States Courts of Appeals, Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
 
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893 F.3d 578 (9th Cir. 2018)

UNITED STATES of America, Plaintiff,

Walker River Paiute Tribe, Intervenor-Plaintiff,

National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, Petitioner,

Mineral County, Intervenor-Plaintiff,

and

Nevada State Engineer, Respondent-Appellant,

v.

UNITED STATES BOARD OF WATER COMMISSIONERS, Participant-Appellee,

Backtrack, LLC; Bale Counter, Inc.; Gary M. Berrington; Berrington Custom Hay Hauling & Trans., Inc.; Damian, Ltd.; Peter A. Fenili; GDA Degree, Inc.; Gary G. Garms; Gary J. Garms; Kari D. Garms; Toni Garms; Garmsland Limited, LLC; High Sierra Garlic; Jackaroo, LLC; Settelmeyer-Rosse Ranch Management, LLC; Six-N-Ranch, Inc.; Straggler, LLC, Objectors-Appellees,

and

Nevada Department of Wildlife; California State Water Resources Control Board; Mono County, California; Lyon County, Nevada, Respondents, Walker Lake Working Group; Walker River Irrigation District, Defendants.

United States of America, Plaintiff,

Walker River Paiute Tribe, Intervenor-Plaintiff,

National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, Petitioner,

Mineral County, Intervenor-Plaintiff,

and

Nevada Department of Wildlife, Respondent-Appellant,

v.

United States Board of Water Commissioners, Participant-Appellee,

Backtrack, LLC; Bale Counter, Inc.; Gary M. Berrington; Berrington Custom Hay Hauling & Trans., Inc.; Damian, Ltd.; Peter A. Fenili; GDA Degree, Inc.; Gary G. Garms; Gary J. Garms; Kari D. Garms; Toni Garms; Garmsland Limited, LLC; High Sierra Garlic; Jackaroo, LLC; Settelmeyer-Rosse Ranch Management, LLC; Six-N-ranch, Inc.; Straggler, LLC, Objectors-Appellees,

and

Nevada State Engineer; California State Water Resources Control Board; Mono County, California; Lyon County, Nevada, Respondents, Walker Lake Working Group; Walker River Irrigation District, Defendants.

United States of America, Plaintiff,

Walker River Paiute Tribe, Intervenor-Plaintiff,

Mineral County, Intervenor-Plaintiff,

and

National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, Petitioner-Appellant,

v.

United States Board of Water Commissioners, Participant-Appellee,

Backtrack, LLC; Bale Counter, Inc.; Gary M. Berrington; Berrington Custom Hay Hauling & Trans., Inc.; Damian, Ltd.; Peter A. Fenili; GDA Degree, Inc.; Gary G. Garms; Gary J. Garms; Kari D. Garms; Toni Garms; Garmsland Limited, LLC; High Sierra Garlic; Jackaroo, LLC; Settelmeyer-Rosse Ranch Management, LLC; Six-N-ranch, Inc.; Straggler, LLC, Objectors-Appellees,

and

Nevada State Engineer; Nevada Department of Wildlife; California State Water Resources Control Board; Mono County, California; Lyon County, Nevada, Respondents,

Walker Lake Working Group; Walker River Irrigation District, Defendants.

United States of America, Plaintiff,

Walker River Paiute Tribe, Intervenor-Plaintiff,

National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, Petitioner,

Mineral County, Intervenor-Plaintiff,

and

Walker River Irrigation District, Defendant-Appellant,

v.

United States Board of Water Commissioners, Participant-Appellee,

Backtrack, LLC; Bale Counter, Inc.; Gary M. Berrington; Berrington Custom Hay Hauling & Trans., Inc.; Damian, Ltd.; Peter A. Fenili; GDA Degree, Inc.; Gary G. Garms; Gary J. Garms; Kari D. Garms; Toni Garms; Garmsland Limited, LLC; High Sierra Garlic; Jackaroo, LLC; Settelmeyer-Rosse Ranch Management, LLC; Six-N-ranch, Inc.; Straggler, LLC, Objectors-Appellees,

and

Nevada State Engineer; Nevada Department of Wildlife; Mono County, California; Lyon County, Nevada, Respondents,

Walker Lake Working Group, Defendant.

United States of America, Plaintiff,

Walker River Paiute Tribe, Intervenor-Plaintiff,

National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, Petitioner,

and

Mineral County, Intervenor-Plaintiff-Appellant,

Walker Lake Working Group, Defendant-Appellant,

v.

United States Board of Water Commissioners, Participant-Appellee,

Backtrack, LLC; Bale Counter, Inc.; Gary M. Berrington; Berrington Custom Hay Hauling & Trans., Inc.; Damian, Ltd.; Peter A. Fenili; Gda Degree, Inc.; Gary G. Garms; Gary J. Garms; Kari D. Garms; Toni Garms; Garmsland Limited, LLC; High Sierra Garlic; Jackaroo, LLC; Settelmeyer-Rosse Ranch Management, LLC; Six-N-ranch, Inc.; Straggler, LLC, Objectors-Appellees,

and

Nevada State Engineer; Nevada Department of Wildlife; Mono County, California; Lyon County, Nevada, Respondents,

Walker River Irrigation District, Defendant. United States of America, Plaintiff,

National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, Petitioner,

Mineral County, Intervenor-Plaintiff,

and

Walker River Paiute Tribe, Intervenor-Plaintiff-Appellant,

v.

United States Board of Water Commissioners, Participant-Appellee,

Backtrack, LLC; Bale Counter, Inc.; Gary M. Berrington; Berrington Custom Hay Hauling & Trans., Inc.; Damian, Ltd.; Peter A. Fenili; GDA Degree, Inc.; Gary G. Garms; Gary J. Garms; Kari D. Garms; Toni Garms; Garmsland Limited, LLC; High Sierra Garlic; Jackaroo, LLC; Settelmeyer-Rosse Ranch Management, LLC; Six-N-Ranch, Inc.; Straggler, LLC, Objectors-Appellees,

and

Nevada Department of Wildlife; Nevada State Engineer; California State Water Resources Control Board; Mono County, California; Lyon County, Nevada, Respondents,

Walker Lake Working Group; Walker River Irrigation District; Joseph Landolt; Beverly Landolt, Defendants.

Nos. 15-16316, 15-16317, 15-16319, 15-16321, 15-16323, 15-16489

United States Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit

May 22, 2018

Argued and Submitted August 30, 2017, Pasadena, California

Amended June 22, 2018

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Appeal from the United States District Court for the District of Nevada, Robert Clive Jones, District Judge, Presiding, D.C. No. 3:73-cv-00125-RCJ-WGC

Don Springmeyer (argued) and Christopher Mixson, Wolf Rifkin Shapiro Schulman & Rabkin LLP, Las Vegas, Nevada; Jamie Morin, Mentor Law Group PLLC, Seattle, Washington; for Petitioner-Appellant National Fish and Wildlife Foundation.

Micheline Noel Nadeau Fairbank (argued) and Bryan L. Stockton, Senior Deputy Attorneys General; Adam Paul Laxalt, Attorney General; Office of the Attorney General, Carson City, Nevada; for Respondent-Appellant State of Nevada.

Gordon DePaoli (argued) and Dale E. Ferguson, Woodburn and Wedge, Reno, Nevada, for Defendant-Appellant Walker River Irrigation District.

Simeon Herskovits (argued), Advocates for Community & Environment, El Prado, New Mexico; Sean A. Rowe, Mineral County District Attorney, Hawthorne, Nevada; for Plaintiff-Intervenor-Plaintiff-Appellant Mineral County and Defendant-Appellant Walker Lake Working Group.

Wes Williams Jr., Law Offices of Wes Williams Jr. P.C., Schurz, Nevada, for Intervenor-Plaintiff-Appellant Walker River Paiute Tribe.

Karen A. Peterson (argued), Justin M. Townsend, Kyle A. Winter, and Willis M. Wagner, Allison MacKenzie Ltd., Carson City, Nevada, for Participant-Appellee United States Board of Water Commissioners.

Elizabeth Ann Peterson, David L. Negri, Andrew "Guss" Guarino, Katherine J. Barton, David C. Shilton, and William B. Lazarus, Attorneys; John C. Cruden, Assistant Attorney General; United States Department of Justice, Washington, D.C.; for Amicus Curiae United States of America.

Jan Zabriskie, Deputy Attorney General; Annadel A. Almendras and Tracy L. Winsor, Supervising Deputy Attorneys General; Robert W. Byrne, Senior Assistant Attorney General; Office of the Attorney General, Sacramento, California; for Amicus Curiae California State Water Resources Control Board.

Before: A. Wallace Tashima, Raymond C. Fisher, and Jay S. Bybee, Circuit Judges.

SUMMARY[*]

Water Rights

The panel reversed the district court's judgment and remanded in an action brought by farmers who alleged injury to their water rights arising from state agency approval of modifications to a water rights leasing program in the Walker River Basin.

The Nevada district court has maintained in rem jurisdiction over the waters of Walker River in accordance with the Walker River Decree of 1936, which governs the water rights in the Walker River Basin. In 2009, Congress established the Walker Basin Restoration Program, which allocated funding to be administered by the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation to acquire water and water rights for the purpose of restoring and maintaining Walker Lake, the terminus of the Walker River. Under the program, the Foundation leases or purchases flow and storage rights from willing sellers, and uses those rights to convey water downstream to feed the Lake.

The Foundation and the Walker River Irrigation District both submitted applications seeking modifications to their decreed water rights. The Foundation requested changes to the place of use where water was diverted, and changes to the purpose of use from irrigation to wildlife purposes. The Nevada State Engineer approved the Foundation's application, finding that no party would suffer injury from the changes because the Foundation agreed to limit its in-stream water use to the historic consumptive use portion of its decreed water rights, the amount...

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