California water agencies are contesting a federal judge's decision to double the size of a designated habitat for a threatened fish in San Bernardino and Riverside counties.
Attorney Greg Wilkinson said Tuesday the appeal filed on June 3, if granted, would prevent Southern California utilities from being forced to import billions of dollars in water from northern counties.
The fish lives in the Santa Ana River, which runs through San Bernardino, Riverside and Orange counties and is a water source for 3 million people.
Federal officials proposed designating more than 9,000 acres in San Bernardino, Riverside and Los Angeles counties as critical habitat for the algae-eating fish.
Lawsuits were brought against the federal agency by inland water agencies, including those belonging to the cities of Redlands, Riverside and San Bernardino.