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Federal biologist critical of plans to raise massive California dam, citing harm to salmon


SACRAMENTO, California — Federal biologists say plans to raise Shasta Dam in Northern California increasing the state's water storage would harm protected salmon.

The San Jose Mercury News reported Tuesday ( ) that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's criticism could undermine plans to increase the state's largest reservoir. The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, which owns the dam, needs approval from federal biologists before doing any work on the $1.1 billion project.

Raising the dam by 18.5 feet is a potential use for part of a $7.5 billion water bond voters passed in November amid California's drought.

Mike Wade of the California Farm Water Coalition, which supports the project, said voters overwhelmingly asked for increased water storage.

Environmentalist Bill Jennings calls the project pork-barrel politics designed to benefit a handful of Central Valley farmers.

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