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Federal Judge Orders Reduced Pumping to Protect Delta Smelt
Statement of Kate Poole, NRDC Senior Attorney

FRESNO, Calif. (August 31, 2007) -- A federal judge ordered state and federal water project managers to reduce the amount of water pumped from the San Francisco Bay Delta to protect the threatened delta smelt from extinction.

Following is a statement by Kate Poole, NRDC Senior Attorney:

"The San Francisco Bay Delta can't perform its vital job of supplying clean water for people, if it's so sick that it can't even support the tiny delta smelt. Millions of Californians depend on the delta to supply clean drinking water, irrigate crops and support salmon and other fishing jobs.

"Today's ruling appears to improve the smelt's chances of survival. The question is whether it's enough to save the smelt from extinction. That's what's needed to protect the delta and clean drinking water, and it's what's required under the federal Endangered Species Act.

"We can manage the San Francisco Bay Delta to protect fisheries and supply clean, reliable water to downstream users. The key is to use water wisely. Through conservation, wastewater recycling and better use of groundwater, we can keep enough fresh water in the delta to ensure clean water and healthy fisheries. Water managers have been planning for this for years."

The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) is an international nonprofit environmental organization with more than 2 million members and online activists. Since 1970, our lawyers, scientists, and other environmental specialists have worked to protect the world's natural resources, public health, and the environment. NRDC has offices in New York City, Washington, D.C., Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, Bozeman, MT, and Beijing. Visit us at www.nrdc.org and follow us on Twitter @NRDC.

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