Posted at 09:47 PM on Monday, May. 03, 2010

By Michael Doyle / Bee Washington Bureau

WASHINGTON — The Obama administration on Monday set up a new task force to wrangle California water decisions, with long-term hopes of consolidating protections for smelt and salmon.

The new task force eventually envisions one unified environmental management plan assisting the fish species dependent upon the Sacramento-San Joaquin delta.

Guided by an Interior Department veteran with considerable California experience, the task force has shorter-term goals, as well.

“[This will] ensure that we are coordinating to use state-of-the-art science and to find the best alternatives to protect both endangered fish and water supplies,” Interior Secretary Ken Salazar said in a prepared statement.

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