Thursday, September 14, 2006

Salmon Once Again Up the Creek

For nearly two decades, farmers (or "growers" as they are known in California) have battled conservationists over control of the San Joaquin River below Friant Dam near Fresno, California.

The River historically supported significant salmon populations. Since the late 1940s, when the dam became operational, about 60 miles of the river have dried up, to the detriment, of course, of the salmon.

The settlement agreement, announced today by the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), the Friant Water Users Authority (FWUA) and the U.S. Department of the Interior and Commerce sets into action one of the largest river restoration projects in the country. The project will improve the river channel to allow healthy salmon populations, while at the same time ensuring water supply to Friant Division water contractors, who for years have operated under the uncertainty caused by the on-going litigation. According to a press release from the NRDC, the settlement specifically protects water availability for 15,000 small farms.


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