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Feds, California Agencies Sued Over Water Management Plan

Jun 4, 2015

The endangered Delta Smelt is among the species struggling in the drought. (file photo)
Credit Amy Quinton / Capital Public Radio

A federal lawsuit claims California and federal water managers are harming several fish species with water allocations.

A coalition of four groups, including Restore the Delta, filed the lawsuit in federal court.

The lawsuit claims two federal agencies and the California State Water Resources Control Board and Department of Water Resources violated federal and state water laws.

It alleges several fish species in the Delta and Chinook salmon runs on the Sacramento River are near extinction.

Barbara Barrigan-Parrilla is with Restore the Delta.

Barrigan-Parrilla: "It's not just about a matter of losing a small, tiny Delta smelt."

She says the state's limited water supplies have been exported at the expense of native fish species and the potential collapse of the Delta.

Barrigan-Parrilla:  "We're looking at real impacts on a number of fisheries. And if all these fisheries collapse, that means we have a real severe water quality problem for people as well."

Barrigan-Parrilla says water contractors are being favored over fisheries and the Delta.

The State Water Resources Control Board says it does not comment on pending litigation.