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The Aransas Project

The Aransas Project

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Published by Doug Stanglin
Verdict from the U.S District Court Southern District of Texas Corpus Christi Division in case of The Aransas Project v. Bryan Shaw
Verdict from the U.S District Court Southern District of Texas Corpus Christi Division in case of The Aransas Project v. Bryan Shaw

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Published by: Doug Stanglin on Mar 13, 2013
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07/31/2013

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Defendants and intervenors moved to reopen the case to introduce new evidence. (D.E. 328). Asdiscussed herein, the Court considered the new evidence but found it flawed and preliminary, and not persuasive,and consequently, on December 6, 2012, denied the motion to reopen as moot.
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Any finding of fact made herein that also constitutes a conclusion of law is adopted as a conclusion of law.Any conclusion of law made herein that also constitutes a finding of fact is adopted as a finding of fact. Allfindings of fact and conclusions are made by a preponderance of the evidence
.Page 1 of 124
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURTSOUTHERN DISTRICT OF TEXASCORPUS CHRISTI DIVISIONTHE ARANSAS PROJECT,§Plaintiff,§§VS.§ Case No. 2:10-cv-075§BRYAN SHAW, et
 
al
.
,§Defendants.§
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND VERDICT OF THE COURT
This case was tried to the Court over an eight-day period on December 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 13, 14,and 15, 2011.
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As required by Rule 52(a) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, the Court makesthe following findings of fact and conclusions of law thereon.
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Table of Contents
I.INTRODUCTION.......................................................5II.STATUTORY FRAMEWORK............................................10A.The Endangered Species Act........................................101.ESA § 9 prohibits takesof endangered species...................11
Case 2:10-cv-00075 Document 354 Filed in TXSD on 03/11/13 Page 1 of 124
 
Page 2 of 1242. ESA § 10 addresses incidental takes.................................13III.FINDINGS ON STANDING AND JURISDICTION...........................14A.Standing........................................................141. Injury in fact...............................................152.Redressability..............................................163.Causation.................................................19B. Burford abstention................................................211.Senate Bill 3...............................................232.Texas surface waters.........................................31IV.FINDINGS ON CAUSATION.............................................42A. Courts findings as to witness expertise and credibility....................42B.TCEQs water diversions reduce freshwater inflows to the Refuge...........441.Trungale established permitted water diversions lower inflows to Refuge..........................................................442.Trungales findings anticipated................................483.Dr. Wards modeling not reliable...............................504.Dr. Montagna’s observations and studies confirmed Trungale’s modeling................................................................525.Dr. Davis’ modeling.........................................55C.Higher salinities adversely affect blue crabs and wolfberries...............57
Case 2:10-cv-00075 Document 354 Filed in TXSD on 03/11/13 Page 2 of 124
 
Page 3 of 1241.Dr. Montagna on salinity preferences of blue crabs.................582.Dr. Millers blue crab data. ...................................603.Wolfberry production........................................614.Observations and measurements concerning blue crab abundance andwolfberry availability in 2008-2009. ...........................61D.Statistical modeling confirms higher salinities are associated with higher cranemortality on the Refuge............................................62E.At least 23 Whooping Cranes died on the Refuge in 2008/2009.............641.Counting cranes is rooted in crane behavior. .....................672.Tom Stehn determined peak population numbers for the USFWS......683.Crane mortality counts.......................................724.Defendants’ and intervenors’ objections to mortality counts..........75F.Food stress caused the death of at least 23 cranes
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.......................781.Necropsy findings...........................................792.Opinions of the crane experts..................................793.Defendants and intervenors failed attempt to disprove food stress was causeof cranesdeath.............................................83(a)Dr. Stroud...........................................83(b)Dr. Slack............................................84(c)Dr. Porter...........................................86G.Motion to reopen and the Abundance Survey...........................881.Population versus mortality...................................89
Case 2:10-cv-00075 Document 354 Filed in TXSD on 03/11/13 Page 3 of 124

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