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Rene Henery, California science director for Trout Unlimited, a party to the lawsuit, said the state lost sight of the river's essential role in its rush to develop a vast system of dams, reservoirs and canals that spawned a thriving farm economy.
He noted other large government projects — bridges, airports and mass transit systems — often run over budget and past deadlines, but the benefits outweigh the costs in this restoration project.
The San Joaquin will help recharge the valley's depleted groundwater supplies that have caused the land to sink and will open recreation opportunities, spurring their own economic vitality, he said.
Most importantly, he said, salmon will again migrate from the Pacific hundreds of miles inland forming a critical link between the land and sea.
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