Saving the San Joaquin River

For most of the 20th century, the flow of California’s San Joaquin River was diverted for irrigation, causing more than 60 miles of the river to run dry, polluting drinking water for nearly two-thirds of all Californians, and wiping out one of the richest salmon fisheries on the West Coast. This excerpt from “A Force for Nature,” the story of the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), follows NRDC’s past two decades of political action aimed at restoring life to the San Joaquin River's rich ecosystem — a struggle and eventual victory that will inspire environmental advocates everywhere.

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