California Adopts Landmark River Plan to Bring Back Salmon

Photo: California is debating the future of the Merced River and others. (Steve Payer/California Department of Water Resources) [Pub. date: Dec. 13, 2018]

In a landmark vote, California water officials adopted a revolutionary water plan on Wednesday, aimed at restoring the state’s ailing rivers. But they left the door open for a future compromise with the water districts that would bear the brunt of the plan.

The state water board’s plan, almost 10 years in the making and delayed several times, was thrown another curveball by last-minute negotiations between water districts and the Brown Administration.

In the face of tightening supplies, the board asked water users several years ago to put together their own agreement to share water and boost habitat for salmon.

In the hours before the water board’s vote, a tentative agreement had been reached on one river, but not others, so the board voted 4-1 to move ahead.

“Commercial salmon fisherman have experienced decades of disastrous decline,” said Noah Oppenheim, executive director of the Pacific Coast Federation of Fisherman’s Association. “Today’s vote could be the turning of the tide.”

The vote means that some water districts, such as San Francisco’s, would likely get less water in order to keep more in the rivers where salmon populations have crashed.

The voluntary agreements are still on the table and could be adopted later on. State officials say […]

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California Adopts Landmark River Plan to Bring Back Salmon
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California Adopts Landmark River Plan to Bring Back Salmon
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Some water districts, such as San Francisco's, would likely get less water in order to keep more in the rivers where salmon populations have crashed.
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KQED Science
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