Judge rules California water can be released for Klamath River salmon

The Associated Press /

Published Aug 23, 2013 at 05:00AM

FRESNO, Calif. — A U.S. District judge ruled late Thursday that water can be released from Northern California’s Trinity Reservoir to prevent a salmon kill in the lower Klamath River, but the amount of water involved will be far less than the federal government initially asked for.

The ruling from Judge Lawrence J. O’Neill comes after farmers in California’s San Joaquin Valley sued the federal government over the releases of water, saying they would be illegal and would further decrease the little water available to them for irrigation.

The judge had ordered the water releases temporarily stopped last week while he made a long-term decision.

He said in Thursday’s ruling that in the week since, a change in environmental conditions and the federal position has meant that two-thirds less water than expected was required, making the decision less harmful to farmers.

“All parties have prevailed in a significant, responsible way,” O’Neill’s ruling said.

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