Hopi Continues to Fight Snowbowl

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 Citing its possible effects on a threatened plant, the Hopi Tribe is seeking an injunction to stop snowmaking with treated sewage effluent at the Arizona Snowbowl.
In a complaint filed Nov. 14 in federal court in the District of Columbia, the tribe asks the court to stop all proposed snowmaking and snowmaking activities at the Snowbowl, a ski area located on the San Francisco Peaks, until full consideration is given to the effects of snowmaking on the San Francisco Peaks groundsel.

The San Francisco Peaks groundsel is a small perennial plant that grows low to the ground and only on the alpine tundra of the mountain at elevations above 10,900 feet.

It was listed as a threatened species under the Endangered Species Act in November 1983. The listing also included designating 700 acres of critical habitat on and near the summits of Humphreys and Agassiz peaks.

The ski area is located on the slopes of Agassiz Peak and operates under a special use permit issued by the U.S. Forest Service.

In 2005, the Forest Service approved the ski area's request to complete upgrades and install new lifts, trails and facilities, including construction of a pipeline to pump sewage effluent from Flagstaff for snowmaking.

The manmade snow would be blown onto ski trails through snow guns and snow fans.

The Hopi Tribe contends that the Forest Service's biological assessment and evaluation and its final environmental impact statement did not include the effects of manmade snow on the San Francisco Peaks groundsel and its habitat.

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