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Indybay Feature
Mon May 14 2007
Judge Affirms Delta Smelt Ruling, DWR Files Appeal
State Department of Water Resources (DWR) Ordered to "Cease and Desist" Pumping
An Oakland judge, after reviewing additional material submitted by the State Department of Water Resources (DWR), on April 18 refused to back down from his earlier order to stop water exports from the South Delta until an incidental take permit for endangered fish is obtained.

Superior Court Judge Frank Roesch ordered the agency to "cease and desist" from operation of the Harvey O. Banks Pumping Plant Operation until the agency has obtained authorization under the California Endangered Species Act (CESA) from the Department of Fish and Game (DFG) with regard to their "incidental take" of Delta smelt, winter-run chinook salmon and spring-run chinook salmon.

Mike Lozeau, the lawyer for The Watershed Enforcers Alliance, a project of the California Sportfishing Protection Alliance, filed the lawsuit last December to stop the destruction of endangered fish in the pumps at a time when the Delta is in its worst-ever crisis.

The Delta smelt population has plummeted from a population of 800,000 in 2001 to around 30,000 fish at present. Three other species, threadfin shad, juvenile striped bass, and longfin smelt, also crashed to historic low levels after the Department of Water Resources began increases of 1,000,000 acre feet of water per year starting in 2002.

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