The State Water Contractors and water agencies throughout the state have been involved in ongoing litigation for several years related to the salmon and delta smelt biological opinions—sets of rules issued by federal agencies regulating water operations in the Sacramento San Joaquin Delta. The biological opinions are intended to protect fish species, however many of the actions required in the biological opinions have been proven scientifically unsound.
At the same time, actions in the biological opinions have triggered significant water supply cutbacks. Between the lack of scientific evidence supporting the biological opinions, and the impacts on water users, a federal court has deemed both the delta smelt and salmon biological opinions unlawful and ordered them to be rewritten. This process is currently underway.
Delta Smelt Biological Opinion—Court Decisions & Filings
Federal Court Decision on Fall X2 Action, Issued August 2011
Federal Court Decision on the 2008 Delta Smelt Biological Opinion, Issued December 2010
State Water Contractors Complaint on the 2008 Delta Smelt Biological Opinion, Filed March 2009