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Trump Administration's New CA Water Plan Chooses Farmers Over Fish

A plan to divert water to farmers in California, released at the end of October, would allow for the annihilation of winter-run Chinook Salmon.
November 7, 2019, 1pm PST | James Brasuell | @CasualBrasuell
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Aaron Kohr

"Eight-hundred pages into the text of a lengthy new report, federal biologists have quietly granted government water managers permission to nearly exterminate an endangered run of Sacramento River salmon so they can send more water south from the river's delta to farmers in the arid San Joaquin Valley," reports Alastair Bland.

The new report was generating conflict well before its release at the end of October, after the Trump administration removed dissenting National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration biologists from a position to obstruct the report.

The report is an analysis of the Trump administration's new water storage and delivery plan, which was actually released in January. "That plan proposes to increase water withdrawals from the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta by roughly 10 percent, often during critical migration periods for fish like chinook salmon and Delta smelt," according to Bland.

The new controversy inspired by the plan originates from page 801 of the National Marine Fisheries Service report, which allows for the annihilation of the winter run Chinook for three consecutive years. "Because most Chinook salmon spawn and naturally die at three years of age, annihilation of all newborns in three consecutive years would effectively wipe out the species," explains Bland.

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Published on Tuesday, November 5, 2019 in East Bay Express
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