It appears they are nearing agreement, which is good for all concerned, particularly the salmon returning to the river.
Experimental label may clear way for salmon
Negotiators are weighing concerns of property owners and regulators.
By Michael Doyle - Bee Washington BureauPublished 12:00 am PDT Tuesday, September 26, 2006
Putting salmon back into a revived San Joaquin River will be an experiment in more ways than one.
The negotiators returning to Capitol Hill today hope to finish crafting the legislation needed for the river's restoration.
The end result of the haggling in Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein's third-floor office eventually could be an estimated 500 or more spring-run chinook salmon back in the now-depleted river.
But this wouldn't be just any old fish population.
Instead, the San Joaquin River salmon would swim in the shadow of the California condor, the Yellowstone-area gray wolf and Florida's whooping crane. Like them, the San Joaquin River salmon would be dubbed an experimental population -- a move that can ease regulatory burdens and soften political resistance.
"I believe I can compromise," Los Banos farmer Lynn Skinner told a House panel last week.
Skinner's family grows canning tomatoes, cotton and alfalfa along a dried-out reach of the San Joaquin River. Her concerns, and those of water users such as the Merced and Modesto irrigation districts, galvanize this week's ongoing negotiations. The secret talks are both sensitive and incomplete.