A coalition of fishing and conservation groups including the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) filed a federal lawsuit challenging the Trump Administration’s Endangered Species Act permits (known as biological opinions) for the operations of the Central Valley Project and State Water Project in California. These biological opinions significantly weaken existing protections for salmon and other endangered fish species in California’s Bay-Delta watershed, in order to increase water diversions from the imperiled estuary. Last week, the State of California also announced plans to file litigation challenging these biological opinions.
“The Trump Administration’s biological opinions are a plan for extinction,” said Doug Obegi, Director of the California River Restoration at NRDC. “We are going to court to protect salmon and other endangered species, as well as the thousands of fishing jobs and livelihoods that depend on healthy rivers and robust salmon runs. Rather than harming the environment by increasing water diversions from the Bay-Delta, California can sustain our natural heritage and economy by investing in water recycling, improved water use efficiency, and other sustainable local water supply projects that reduce reliance on the Delta. ”