Favoring fish over farmers, a federal appeals court upheld a water agency's decision to divert water to the lower Klamath River in California
The U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals said the Bureau of Reclamation lawfully diverted the water to prevent a die-off of salmon in 2013, when water levels fell precariously low for the migrating fish. The last time the river dropped so low, more than 34,000 salmon died there.
Writing for a unanimous panel, Judge N. Randy Smith said Congress gave the BOR authority to divert water resources to protect fish more than 70 years ago. Despite challenges from various water districts, the appeals court said the BOR secretary had discretion to take "appropriate measures" in releasing the water.