Major California River Adding Key Ingredient: Water

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FRESNO, Calif. (AP) — Long-dry parts of California’s second-longest river soon will be wet.

The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation says by the end of the month, a 150-mile stretch of the San Joaquin River in Central California should be flowing year-round for the first time in more than 60 years.

The watershed event comes 10 years after the government settled with conservationists who sued over a massive dam near Fresno. It diverted water to irrigate farmland and killed off the native salmon migration.

The goal of returning salmon to the area, once projected to happen in 2012, remains six years off. Work hasn’t started on passages allowing fish to swim around dams.

And the cost is ballooning. It’s now an estimated $1.7 billion, more than double the government’s original projection.