Judge says Calif. salmon in trouble but offers no short-term solution
The dams and aqueducts that shuttle water from California’s Sacramento River Delta to the rest of the state will “appreciably increase jeopardy” to salmon and steelhead in the coming months, U.S. District Judge Oliver Wanger said Friday. But while Wanger agreed with environmentalists that “the three salmonid species are not viable and are all in jeopardy of extinction,” he declined to order a short-term remedy. The National Marine Fisheries Service, in response to a successful lawsuit from the green groups, will by March come up with operational changes to California’s water-export system that will hopefully be less harmful to fish. In the meantime, greens had asked that Wanger order an immediate cutback in agricultural water diversion, but he demurred. While waiting for March to roll around, green groups and water agencies will continue discussions on how to balance fish livelihood and irrigation needs.