State Regulators Back Off Plan to Withhold Water for Salmon

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SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — State drought regulators have backed off a plan to withhold water from farms and cities in favor of an endangered species of salmon, instead choosing a more flexible approach.

The Sacramento Bee reports ( ) that the State Water Resources Control Board on Tuesday voted to require that regulators work to ensure the Sacramento River does not exceed 56 degrees next year, the highest temperature at which juvenile winter-run Chinook salmon can survive.

The board had been considering a plan that would have required the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation to hold back an additional 200,000 acre-feet of water at Lake Shasta through next October, but that plan was met by opposition from farmers and groups representing downstream cities.

Environmentalists complained that water withholding would not be enough.