The Yuba County Water Agency filed suit Wednesday against the federal government to fight new operating rules at Yuba River dams.
The agency filed suit in the Eastern District Federal Court in Sacramento against the National Marine Fisheries Service.
In March 2012, in response to a different lawsuit, the service imposed new rules on two U.S. Army Corps of Engineers dams on the river to protect salmon.
The rules require the Corps to develop a plan to allow salmon to migrate past the two dams, Englebright and Daguerre Point, which have blocked the river for more than 70 years.
The rules state that removing the dams is the "preferred approach" but also permit other options.
The Yuba County Water Agency owns a third dam on the river that is not affected by the rules.
It argues the changes required at the Corps dams could jeopardize its ability to generate hydroelectric energy and deliver water to its own customers.
The agency also worries that about 30 million cubic yards of contaminated Gold Rush-era mining sediment behind the Corps dams could pose a public health threat if the dams are removed.
The fisheries service had not reviewed the lawsuit by late Wednesday and had no immediate comment.