Stop Stanford University’s flawed Habitat Conservation Plan
  • Petitioned Gary Stern

This petition was delivered to:

National Marine Fisheries Service
Gary Stern
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Sheila Larsen
EIS Public Comment email- NMFS
EIS Public Comment email- USFWS
Stanford University President
John Hennessy

Stop Stanford University’s flawed Habitat Conservation Plan

    1. Petition by

      Beyond Searsville Dam

Federal wildlife officials are poised to finalize Stanford University's deeply flawed Habitat Conservation Plan, a move that would compromise the health of San Francisquito Creek and San Francisco Bay, while posing new flooding and Searsville Dam safety concerns. Adoption of this 50-year plan, and associated federal permits to allow Stanford to incidentally harm and kill endangered species like steelhead trout, would be a major setback for ongoing watershed planning efforts to implement comprehensive habitat restoration and improve regional flood protection.

To find out why this plan is so flawed, please visit Beyond Searsville Dam

Please take action today, sign the petition, and share with friends!


Recent signatures


    1. One Federal Agency suspends work on Stanford's HCP permits!

      In a letter to us dated March 6, the National Marine Fisheries Service has suspended work on Stanford's Habitat Conservation Plan application and the Incidental Take Permits associated with it. It remains to be seen if the other federal agency, US Fish and Wildlife Service, will similarly suspend their work on this flawed plan and permits or if Stanford will push for permits for non-steelhead trout species on lands (and waters) outside of the San Francisquito Creek watershed.

      Find out more about what changes Stanford may be planning here:

    2. Reached 500 signatures
    3. Feds confirm investigation of Searsville Dam operations!!!- Stanford Daily

      Excerpt from the article-

      "According to Milbury, “whoever operates the Searsville Dam” may face criminal charges if investigators find evidence of endangered species take.
      “Under Section 9 of the ESA, there are penalties for taking endangered species,” he explained. “In this case there are criminal violations: no more than $50,000 per count, or imprisonment for not more than one year.”

      Read the full article here:

    4. Coalition groups send public comments challenging Stanford's flawed plan.

      Beyond Searsville Dam, American Rivers and California Trout submitted their official comments on the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for Stanford University's Habitat Conservation Plan (HCP). Extensive data provided in these letters challenges the adequacy of the EIS and highlights flaws in the National Marine Fisheries Service's outdated 2008 Biological Opinion for Stanford's Steelhead Habitat Enhancement Project. The letters request that the agencies not issue any permits to Stanford related to this incomplete EIS, that a supplemental EIS that addresses the inadequacies cited be issued for adequate public review, and that the agencies reinitiate formal consultation with Stanford on their 2008 Biological Opinion which improperly excludes Searsville Dam and diversions to other covered activities. We also describe unpermitted construction and operations not covered.

      Read the full letters here:

    5. San Francisquito Creek steelhead downstream of Stanford's dam

      San Francisquito Creek Adult Steelhead- Beyond Searsville Dam

      San Francisquito Creek contains one of the last threatened steelhead trout runs in the entire South San Francisco Bay. This video clip shows an adult steelhead of approximately 21 inches in length swimming in one of the watershed's tributary creeks in May of 2009.

    6. Stanford's "Plan" to Protect Steelhead Ignores their Impassable Dam

      Searsville Dam and Reservoir- Beyond Searsville Dam

      This is what many aquatic species and migratory wildlife encounter while trying to travel up and down the San Francisquito Creek watershed's riparian corridor....Stanford University's Searsville Dam. One of the last, threatened steelhead trout populations in the entire South San Francisco Bay hangs on below the dam and has been observed attempting to jump the impassable concrete barrier.

    7. Reached 300 signatures
    8. This plan includes re-routing our creek into a 2000-foot long channel!!

      - Despite statements to the contrary, this plan includes destructive Searsville Dam sediment management "activities" without adequately addressing the negative impact of Searsville Dam itself. Our October 25 2012 letter (below) to the agencies clearly shows that Stanford’s misguided proposal to re-route Corte Madera Creek through a new, nearly 2000-foot long and 50-foot wide artificially constructed channel is a misguided Searsville sediment management activity. The letter clearly shows that the proposed stream re-routing and channel excavation project would harm listed species and habitat both at the excavation site and downstream, including critical habitat for steelhead trout.
      Read the letter here:

    9. Reached 200 signatures
    10. This plan fails to assess Searsville Dam safety concerns!

      In their May 24, 2007 dam safety inspection report of Searsville Dam, the California Division of Safety of Dams (DSOD) informed Stanford that a detailed safety inspection of Searsville Dam was warranted due to its age and earthquakes since the last such inspection over 40 years prior. At our request, DSOD recommended that Stanford coordinate and carry out this inspection with DSOD staff. In 2010 Stanford requested more time to carry this inspection out by the end of 2012. Stanford failed to carry out this critically important public safety measure. Our November 5, 2012 letter to DSOD points out the numerous safety concerns at Searsville Dam and DSOD is currently reviewing and considering the safety of Searsville Dam in light of this information. The plan we are petitioning fails to assess Searsville Dam safety risks. Read our letter here:

    11. Reached 50 signatures


    Reasons for signing

    • Daniel Kopisch MENLO PARK, CA
      • 5 months ago

      because i am a fisher man and want the steal head to stay alive, even if i can fish in the creek i care about the habitat

    • Michelle Daher CALIFORNIA, CA
      • 5 months ago

      I'm a resident in the San Francisquito Creek watershed and my professional career is protecting this waterway.

    • Manfred Kopisch MENLO PARK, CA
      • 5 months ago

      We live down stream near in Menlo Park near the San Francisquito Creek. My kids have been lucky enough to see steelhead during our walks along the creek bed. Please make sure Stanford is not harming this important habitat for steelhead and other endangered species.

    • John Tower White TAMPA, FL
      • about 1 year ago

      As a small boy in the early 1940's, I caught over 20' inch steelehad at Sleepy Hollow dam, downstream from Searsville.

      It's amazing that they are still coming into such a poor environment. Let's give them a chance!!!

    • Michael Bland SAN FRANCISCO, CA
      • over 1 year ago

      I'm a huge proponent of returning water flows to what they should be. Stanford should do what's right and remove this outdated, useless dam that is only doing harm to anadromous fish at this point.


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