Aug. 27 — Agricultural water districts in California's Central Valley have asked a federal court to halt increased flows in the lower Klamath River to protect the seasonal run of Chinook salmon.
Filed Aug. 25 in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California, the motion for a preliminary injunction and temporary restraining order comes in a pending lawsuit the San Luis & Delta-Mendota Water Authority and Westlands Water District filed against the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation last year.
Like in their initial complaint, the plaintiffs said in court documents that the bureau lacks authority to increase flows from stored water behind the Trinity River Dam.
More specifically, the two federal water contractors alleged Reclamation's decisions to increase water releases violated the Central Valley Project Improvement Act, the National Environmental Policy Act and the Endangered Species Act.
Last year, the court issued a temporary restraining order blocking the emergency releases but then lifted the order, saying the augmented flows are meant to prevent a potentially serious fish kill like the one that occurred in 2002.
There are “key differences this year that weigh heavily against Reclamation's action,’’ plaintiffs said in the motion.
The projected run of Chinook salmon returning to the Klamath River “is below average and about a third of what was projected last year,’’ plaintiffs said.
Also, new data show that even without additional releases, water conditions are adequate to prevent the spread of disease and, with the continued drought, the loss of the stored water hampers the Bureau of Reclamation's ability to maintain cool water temperatures for listed salmon and fulfill other Central Valley Project purposes, the plaintiffs said.
Plaintiffs said the emergency releases would cause irreparable harm to agricultural users of Central Valley Project water.
In its Aug. 26 response to the motion for a preliminary injunction, the bureau disputed the plaintiffs' claims and said it has authority to augment flows to prevent a major fish die-off.
“This court should reject Plaintiffs' motion, as it did approximately one year ago, when the Court held’’ the emergency water releases from the Trinity Dam were “in the public interest,’’ federal attorneys representing the Bureau of Reclamation said.
To contact the reporter on this story: Carolyn Whetzel in Los Angeles at firstname.lastname@example.org
To contact the editor responsible for this story: Larry Pearl at email@example.com.
All Bloomberg BNA treatises are available on standing order, which ensures you will always receive the most current edition of the book or supplement of the title you have ordered from Bloomberg BNA’s book division. As soon as a new supplement or edition is published (usually annually) for a title you’ve previously purchased and requested to be placed on standing order, we’ll ship it to you to review for 30 days without any obligation. During this period, you can either (a) honor the invoice and receive a 5% discount (in addition to any other discounts you may qualify for) off the then-current price of the update, plus shipping and handling or (b) return the book(s), in which case, your invoice will be cancelled upon receipt of the book(s). Call us for a prepaid UPS label for your return. It’s as simple and easy as that. Most importantly, standing orders mean you will never have to worry about the timeliness of the information you’re relying on. And, you may discontinue standing orders at any time by contacting us at 1.800.960.1220 or by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Put me on standing order at a 5% discount off list price of all future updates, in addition to any other discounts I may quality for. (Returnable within 30 days.)
Notify me when updates are available (No standing order will be created).