California water officials are fighting back against federal protections for an iconic Delta fish, a tactical shift that threatens to derail a cooperative attempt to fix the state's water problems.
In a petition filed with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Thursday, the state Department of Water Resources argues rules should be changed because new research suggests a separate group of threatened Delta smelt has taken refuge on Liberty Island and is unaffected by water operations.
If successful, the state would avoid future releases of hundreds of thousands of acre-feet of water for the benefit of the tiny fish â€“ water that could otherwise meet needs of users throughout California.
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