Leslie Salt Company owned a 153- acre tract of undeveloped land south of San Francisco. The property abutted the San Francisco National Wild-life Refuge and was approximately one- quarter mile from Newark Slough, a tidal arm of San Francisco Bay. Originally, the property was pastureland. The first change occurred in the early 1900s, when Leslie’s predecessors constructed facilities to manufacture salt on the property. They excavated pits and created large, shallow, watertight basins. Salt production was stopped in 1959. The construction of a sewer line and public roads on and around the property created ditches and culverts on the property. Newark Slough is connected to the property by these culverts, and tidewaters reach the property. Water accumulates in the ponds, ditches, and culverts, providing wetland vegetation to wildlife and migratory birds. Fish live in the ponds on the property. More than 25 years later, Leslie started to dig a ditch to drain the property and began construction to block the culvert that connected the property to the Newark Slough. The Army Corps of Engineers issued a cease- and desist order against Leslie. Leslie challenged the order. Who wins? Leslie Salt Co. v. United States, 896 F. 2d 354, 1990 U. S. App. Lexis 1524 (United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit)

  • CreatedAugust 12, 2015
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