A federally recognized Native American tribe has filed suit against government agencies over two endangered species of fish in Oregon and California.

The Klamath Tribes filed a complaint on May 23 in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California against United States Bureau of Reclamation, the United States Fish & Wildlife Service and the National Marine Fisheries Service over alleged violation of the National Environmental Policy Act.

According to the complaint, the plaintiff has filed the suit in an effort to protect two critically endangered species of fish, the c'waan (Lost River sucker) and koptu (shortnose sucker), which are "essential treaty-protected resources for the tribes."

The suit states that an irrigation project known as the Klamath Irrigation Project operated by the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation is planned and that a biological opinion issued in 2013 determined the project would not jeopardize the fish.

"This action seeks a declaration that reclamation has violated the ESA (Endangered Species Act) by unlawfully jeopardizing the c’waam and koptu and adversely modifying their critical habitat through its operation of the project and by unlawfully taking individual members of the species.

It further seeks an injunction directing Reclamation, USFWS and NMFS to complete their current reconsultation utilizing the best available science to include measures to adequately and appropriately protect the c’waam and koptu and their critical habitat," the suit states.

The plaintiff requests a declaration that the project has jeopardized the fish, and seeks award for attorneys' fees, costs, and grant such other and further relief as it may deem appropriate, or as justice requires. It is represented by Jeremiah D. Weiner, Douglas MacCourt and Lucas T. Christian of Rosette LLP in Folsom, California.

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