California Gov. Gavin Newsom has filed a lawsuit to stop the federal government from increasing water deliveries to California farmers, including growers in the citrus regions of Central and Southern California, CitrusIndustry reports. The increased deliveries are needed to comply with new state requirements to improve groundwater recharge efforts.
The increased deliveries came about by changes in biological opinions. Biological opinions are documents issued by federal or state environmental scientists that provide a scientific analysis of an ecosystem. The opinions are used to determine whether and what kind of protections are needed for endangered species. The new opinions from the federal government indicated that more water could be released without endangering rivers.
According to the lawsuit, the biological opinions that were prepared by the federal agencies were inadequate. The state claims it lacks the needed safeguards to protect species and habitat in the Sacramento and San Joaquin River watersheds.