Our Legal Program

Enforcing the law has been a cornerstone of Friends of the Swainson's Hawk's mission since its founding in 1994. Our Legal Counsel, James P. Pachl, was a founder and has kept FOSH at the forefront of California wildlife protection efforts. Lawsuits are the tip of the iceberg of Jim's watchdog vigilance on behalf of Swainson's Hawks. He also helps FOSH review proposed mitigation programs and evaluate existing mitigation programs. Pachl on protecting endangered species (click to watch video).

Current lawsuits:

Friends of the Swainson's Hawk and Defenders of Wildlife v. County of Fresno. This CEAQ lawsuit challenges the County of Fresno approval of a Mitigated Negative Declaration for the Placer Solar Project. FOSH and DOW believe the MND is defective because it claims there is no significant impact of the project on Swainson's Hawks while the California Department of Fish and Wildlife requested additional mitigation before it would agree with this conclusion. The project is located adjacent to a known nesting site for Swainson's Hawks and has been good quality foraging habitat for the pair. The project owners declined to provide any foraging habitat mitigation and did not apply for a "take permit" to mitigate for impacts on the nesting raptors and their reproductive effort during construction and thereafter.

Environmental Council of Sacramento, Friends of the Swainson's Hawk, et al v. Sacramento Local Agency Formation Commission, regarding approval of a flawed EIR and request for annexation by the City of Sacramento to enable development of the Greenbriar project in the Natomas Basin. The Superior Court of Sacramento County found against us and we are currently considering appeal. Greenbriar is 577 plus acres of prime farmland at the intersection of 99 and I-5 in North Natomas, north of downtown Sacramento. Our partner in the lawsuit is the Environmental Council of Sacramento. We are represented by Don Mooney and James Pachl.

History of our legal efforts

Thanks to McGeorge Law School students for volunteering for Friends of the Swainson's Hawk!