Dead San Joaquin River will be revived

More than 60 miles of California’s dead, sandy San Joaquin River may yet run with water and salmon again, as enviros and farmers have settled an 18-year legal battle over the river’s fate. Based on a new 20-year, $250-to-$800 million restoration plan, agricultural water diversion from the river will be reduced by an average of 15 percent and the spring chinook salmon run, wiped out by a dam in 1942, will be revived. “The magnitude of this restoration effort … is virtually unprecedented in the American West,” says Hal Candee of the Natural Resources Defense Council, one of 14 green groups that sued the Bureau of Reclamation in 1988. Water for agriculture may be recirculated, stored, or bought at a discount from the federal government; a representative for the 15,000 area farmers says growers are “optimistic that we can successfully implement the agreement.”