Greens lose case to protect fish in California water fight

By Michael Doyle | 05/24/2024 01:39 PM EDT

A federal court ruled that the federal government acted properly in managing water while considering the impact on fish.

A Chinook Salmon

The chinook salmon is part of a long-running legal battle between environmentalists, farmers and the federal government. Bill Schaefer/Getty Images

This story was updated at 6:30 p.m. EDT.

Federal agencies and California farmers fended off a challenge by environmentalists seeking greater protections for several vulnerable fish species, as an appeals court Thursday upheld the handling of long-disputed irrigation water contracts.

In the latest round of a fight that’s dragged on for decades and isn’t over yet, a three-judge panel of the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals determined that the Biden administration properly considered the impact of the irrigation water deliveries on the delta smelt and Chinook salmon. Both species are protected by the Endangered Species Act.


“We conclude that the federal agencies complied with their obligations,” Judge Sandra Ikuta wrote.