City of FernleyGovernment

Judge dismisses City’s lawsuit seeking to stop lining of canal

Robert Perea, The Fernley Reporter

U.S. District Court Judge Miranda Du on Dec. 13 dismissed the City of Fernley’s lawsuit seeking to stop the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation from lining a portion of the Truckee-Carson Irrigation District canal through the city.

The City filed the lawsuit against the Bureau of Reclamation on March 10, challenging the Final Environmental Impact Statement and Record of Decision for the Bureau’s Truckee Canal XM Project. 

In that EIS, the Bureau of Reclamation identified five alternatives to repair the canal, and chose as its preferred alternative the lining of the 12.7 miles of the canal that flows through Fernley with a full geomembrane liner, covered with concrete.


The repair project is to permanently repair the canal after it breached on January 5, 2008, causing flooding and damage to approximately 590 homes in Fernley. TCID repaired the breach in February 2008, and the canal reopened in March 2008. Until long-term repairs are made, the canal is required to operate at a lower stage of water to reduce risk.

In its lawsuit, the City of Fernley claims that it and private well owners, would be damaged by the loss of groundwater seeping through the bottom of the canal into the underground aquifer. The BOR had disputed the City’s and the well owners rights to that water.

Du’s ruling came after a hearing was held Dec. 8 on motions by the BOR to dismiss the suit. In it, she didn’t address Fernley and the landowners’ right to the water but rather said her decision was because the City and the private intervenors in the case are economic, not environmental.

In her ruling, Du wrote that “while the Ninth Circuit has held that a governmental entity in

geographical proximity to the site of proposed action, and which must under NEPA be

consulted in the EIS process, has standing to challenge an EIS, it may do so only if it demonstrates that the environmental health of its land interests is threatened by the agency’s action.”

2 thoughts on “Judge dismisses City’s lawsuit seeking to stop lining of canal

  • Earl Bernstein

    Private well. First well 1920 35 FT, second 1935 50 feet, third 1960 80 feet and present 2015 200 feet present water level about 90 feet.
    If the project goes ahead the city of Fernley should start investing in “closed for business” Signs. because there will be no water for it’s citizens!
    There is an alternative start flooding their retention ponds with water righted irrigation to replenish
    the water table and try to bring it back to at least where it was in 1950.

  • Pingback: Fernley City Council authorizes appeal of canal lawsuit dismissal

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