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Judge tosses Russian River water diversion rules

Published on September 28, 2012 3:01AM

Last changed on September 28, 2012 10:29AM

UKIAH, Calif. (AP) -- A Mendocino County judge has overturned regulations that would have limited the amount of water Northern California grape growers could take from the Russian River to protect their vineyards from frost damage.

Judge Ann Moorman ruled Wednesday that the California State Water Resources Control Board failed to prove the rules were necessary when it infringed on the rights of hundreds of farmers in Mendocino and Sonoma counties.

The decision came in response to two lawsuits filed by a growers' group and a husband and wife who own a vineyard.

The board adopted the regulations last year in response to the deaths in 2008 of a significant number of young salmon and trout that became stranded due to low water levels on the Russian River.

The state has 60 days to appeal.

Copyright 2012 The AP.


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