Friday, November 11, 2016

San Joaquin River Flows in Restoration Milestone

A landmark decision was reached by the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation recently that will let the San Joaquin River once again to flow to the ocean. The decision comes ten years after the settlement of an historic conflict over the river’s right to live. It’s a major step in the effort to bring back the Spring-run Chinook Salmon. Since the construction of Friant Dam, 20 miles north of Fresno, in the 1940’s most of the river has gone to water users in the Valley, drying up long segments of the river. The native salmon went extinct. The Bureau operates the dam and its water releases. In 1998 the Natural Resources Defense Council sued the federal government and the Friant Water Authority. That resulted in the settlement agreement that mandated river restoration and revived salmon runs. A state and federal multi-agency effort has been underway to make it happen. Vic Bedoian reports from Fresno.