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Baker Ranches, Inc. v. Bernhardt

United States District Court, D. Nevada

October 22, 2019

BAKER RANCHES, INC., a Nevada Corporation; DARWIN C. WHEELER; OWEN L. AND PATRICIA T. GONDER; DAVID JOHN ELDRIDGE AND RUTH, ELDRIDGE, as Co-Trustees of the DAVID JOHN ELDRIDGE AND RUTH ELDRIDGE FAMILY LIVING TRUST, dated January 31, 2007; ZANE JORDAN; and JUDEE SCHALEY, Plaintiffs,
v.
DAVID BERNHARDT, in his official capacity as Secretary of the United States Department of the Interior; the UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR; MICHAEL T. REYNOLDS, in his official capacity as Acting Director of the National Park Service; the NATIONAL PARK SERVICE; and JAMES WOOLSEY, in his official capacity as Superintendent of the Great Basin National Park, Defendants.

          Debbie Leonard (Nev. Bar #8260) Leonard Law, P.C. Brandon L. Jensen (pro hac vice) Falen Law Offices, LLC Attorneys for Plaintiffs

          NICHOLAS A. TRUTANICH United States Attorney, District of Nevada GREG ADDINGTON Assistant United States Attorney JEAN E. WILLIAMS Deputy Assistant Attorney General Environment and Natural Resources Division David L. Negri, Trial Attorney United States Department of Justice Environment and Natural Resources Division U.S. Attorney's Office Attorneys for Defendants

          STIPULATED FINDINGS OF FACT

          HON. RICHARD E. BOULWARE, II, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         The Plaintiffs, by and through their undersigned attorneys, Debbie Leonard of Leonard Law, P.C., and Brandon L. Jensen of the Falen Law Offices, LLC, and the Defendants, by and through their undersigned attorney David L. Negri, of the United States Department of Justice, hereby stipulate and agree to the following findings of fact that shall govern this case.

         FINDINGS OF FACT:

         1. What is now Great Basin National Park was previously managed by the United States Forest Service as part of the Nevada National Forest, which was withdrawn from the public domain and created on February 10, 1909.

         2. The Nevada National Forest was later incorporated into the Humboldt National Forest on October 1, 1957.

         3. Great Basin National Park was created on October 27, 1986 by Public Law 99-565 (“the Great Basin National Park Enabling Act”).

         4. Upon creation of Great Basin National Park, the National Park Service requested that the Nevada State Engineer provide an assessment of all existing water rights within the limits of and in the general vicinity of Great Basin National Park.

         5. On May 8, 1987, the Nevada Division of Water Planning issued a document entitled Great Basin National Park Water Right Assessment (“the Water Right Assessment”).

         6. At the time of its issuance, the Nevada Division of Water Planning sent a copy of the Water Right Assessment to the National Park Service.

         Snake Creek & Snake Creek Pipeline

         7. Snake Creek flows generally west to east, with its headwaters arising in what is now Great Basin National Park in Nevada and flowing downstream into Utah. The distance from Snake Creek's headwaters to the boundary of Great Basin National Park is approximately eight miles.

         8. Plaintiffs Baker Ranches, Inc., Darwin C. Wheeler, and Owen L. And Patricia T. Gonder (collectively, “the Snake Creek Plaintiffs”) hold water rights established under Utah law. These water rights allow the Snake Creek Plaintiffs to divert water from Snake Creek in Utah for irrigation of farming and ranching land in Millard County, Utah, located approximately five to seven miles downstream from Great Basin National Park boundaries.

         9. On May 17, 1910, the Fifth Judicial District Court in and for the County of Millard, State of Utah, entered a Decree in a quiet title action captioned George W. Gonder, et ...


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