Court halts Trump water grab – for now

May 14, 2020

Late Monday, a federal judge in Fresno temporarily stopped the Trump administration from further hurting the Bay's endangered fish. Trump's plan weakens Delta water export rules to send even more water to industrial agricultur​e​ in the Central Valley. But after an emergency hearing the judge decided in favor of local salmon fishermen, a coalition of environmental organizations, and the California Attorney General’s office. For now, the judge ruled the fish should have more water.

Baykeeper's senior scientist, Jon Rosenfield, provided an expert report on the case and testified during the virtual court hearing. The court cited Baykeeper’s report when it held that additional measures were needed to protect the Central Valley's unique steelhead population. Jon testified that without these protections, many of the Bay’s endangered species—including populations of Chinook Salmon—could crash.  

The case is still in progress, and there are still more hearings to come to decide the fate of the Bay’s fish populations. But for now the court has awarded the fish some interim relief.​ ​And Baykeeper is hopeful that the ultimate result of the legal action will be a decision that the Trump administration’s plan doesn't hold water.

Take action for a science-based water plan

While our legal battle to protect Bay fish is ongoing, there’s something you can do now to help prevent the Bay from becoming a dead zone for the fish and wildlife that have lived here for millennia. The State Water Board’s Bay-Delta Plan would set guidelines to prevent the ecosystem from spiraling into collapse—but the plan has been delayed repeatedly for years due to pressure from lobbyists.

Send a letter to Governor Newsom to urge that the Water Board move forward with the Bay-Delta Plan. With the Trump administration using every opportunity to give more water to Big Ag, now more than ever California needs a sustainable water plan for the Delta, the Bay, and everyone who depends on these irreplaceable natural treasures.

Photo: Florence Low, California Department of Water Resources

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