A U.S. District Court in Fresno has stopped the release of Trinity River water to protect salmon in Northern California until Friday.
The order stopped the federal government's planned release of up to 100,000 acre-feet of water -- a move opposed by farm water leaders in the San Joaquin Valley. The release was scheduled to begin Tuesday and continue for several weeks.
The delay is necessary to fully analyze arguments in the case, the court ruled.
Federal leaders say the water release is needed to protect the largest run of salmon in many years along the Klamath River, which is downstream of the Trinity. The plan had been approved by the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation.
The San Luis & Delta-Mendota Water Authority and Westlands Water District had filed a lawsuit last week to stop the plan, saying the water should be offered to farmers who buy water from the Central Valley Project.
The Hoopa Valley Tribe in the region and the Pacific Coast Federation of Fisherman's Associations intervened in support of the water release.
U.S. District Judge Lawrence O'Neill said there was nothing to indicate that a short delay would make the releases ineffective.