View Full Version : Save Our Stripers

05-20-2008, 04:44 PM
Thought all interested parties should know about this. Just think if all of us blowing hot air about size of poles and whether a spot was burned or not got involved in this campaign. Fish On!

California Sportfishing Protection Alliance
California Striped Bass Association
Northern California Council – Federation of Fly Fishers (NCCFFF)

Press Release
For immediate release:
20 May 2008

Fishery Groups Intervene in Striped Bass Lawsuit

(Stockton, CA) The California Sportfishing Protection Alliance (CSPA),California Striped Bass Association (CSBA) and the Northern California Council of the Federation of Fly Fishers (NCCFFF) today intervened in the lawsuit filed by the Coalition for a Sustainable Delta et al against the California Department of Fish and Game and Fish and Game Commission (hereinafter DFG).

The Coalition is largely comprised of Kern County water agencies. That 29 January 2008 lawsuit accuses the DFG of threatening the existence of endangered salmon and Delta smelt through DFG’s striped bass management program.It alleges that striped bass prey on salmon, steelhead and Delta smelt and that predation has illegally contributed to the catastrophic crash of pelagic and salmonid species populations over the last five years. It also alleges fishing regulations established by the Fish and Game Commission results in the take of listed species by striped bass.

The CSPA, CSBA and NCCFFF intervention disputes the Coalition’s
spurious claims and notes that striped bass populations have plunged to historically low levels over the same period. Resource agency scientific staff maintain that the principal causes of fishery collapse in the Delta are attributed to significantly increased and unsustainable levels water exports, discharges of agricultural,
industrial and municipal pollutants and recently introduced species
that have changed the composition of the aquatic food web.

The Coalition’s lawsuit is simply an outrageous and transparent
effort to divert attention from the real cause of the Delta’s decline and blame the victims, instead of the perpetrators, said CSPA Executive Director Bill Jennings.

Striped bass have coexisted with salmon and smelt in the Delta estuary
for more than a hundred years. The dramatic almost 30% increase in the amount of water exported in recent years is the one clear culprit that has led to population crashes of numerous species; including salmon, steelhead, striped bass,Delta smelt, longfin smelt, splittail, threadfin shad, among others he said.

At certain times, as much as 65% of Delta inflow is exported to Central Valley agriculture and to southern California via powerful pumps at the state and federal project facilities. These massive pumps cause reverse flows,kill huge numbers of fish and suck up much of the aquatic food supply. Water agencies have refused to pay for state-of-the-art fish screens that were required in the 2000 CalFed Record of Decision as mitigation for exporting water. Some of the largest annual export levels in history occurred in 2003 (6.3 million acre feet [MAF]), 2004 (6.1 MAF), 2005 (6.5 MAF and 2006 (6.3 MAF). Exports averaged 4.6 MAF annually between 1990 and 1999 and increased to an average of 6 MAF between 2000 and 2007, a rise of almost 30%. Much of the increased pumping occurred during critical periods for Delta smelt survival.

Striped bass are a marvelous sport fish and was considered the premier
sport fishery of the Bay/Delta estuary prior to its catastrophic decline from 3.5 million adult fish down to 750,000 today. Studies of population abundance do not demonstrate that striped bass pose a population level threat to salmon or Delta smelt. Indeed, they show that striped bass, salmon and smelt populations rise and fall in tandem to common threats, said Cliff Rich, State Board President
of the CSBA. Much of the predation that does occur can be attributed
to man made causes due to the way the Department of Water Resources configured the state project export facilities which created a concentrated predation area in Clifton Court Forebay. That problem could be significantly remedied if the water agencies, including Coalition members, complied with requirements to install new
screening facilities, he observed.

The sport fishing industry in California is a major economic asset for
the state, amounting to over 5 billion dollars each year. The Bay/Delta sports fishery has been estimated to be worth at least 1.5 billion dollars per year. By contrast, the members of the Coalition that have sued DFG and the Commission are farmers and industrial-agricultural corporations receiving heavily subsidized
water, and in some cases, heavily subsidized drainage services for heavily subsidized non-native and non-food crops that add little to the nation’s food supply in relation to the detriment to the environment and economy of the Bay/Delta estuary.

“It is absurd to suggest that we eliminate a highly valued sports
fishery that has coexisted with other fish in the Delta for more than 100 years. We recognize that California has multiple water needs, and we recommend that the state follow it's own California Water Plan Up-Date, and seriously follow its recommendations on conservation, reclamation, ground water banking and other strategies,” said Dr.
Mark Rockwell of the Northern California Council, Federation of Fly

Additionally, Dr. Rockwell said, "nearly 2 million acre feet of
additional water could be available if drainage impaired lands in the west San Joaquin valley were retired. This act alone would reduce toxins filtering into the Delta, and reduce the need to divert this water from the system. The fisheries and other wildlife in the Delta cannot tolerate the high rates of water diversions now in

The South Delta Water Agency and Central Delta Water Agency have also
filed for intervention in the lawsuit refuting the Coalition’s allegations. Their intervention and our intervention will be considered by Judge Oliver Wanger in Fresno on 14 July 2008, along with a motion by State of California to dismiss the lawsuit
because of a lack of standing by the plaintiffs.

05-20-2008, 04:56 PM
FYI as we may be moving into a drought year...the Calif. Water Resources board is planning peripheral Canal II.

Canal could increase water supply
By Mike Taugher
Contra Costa Times
Article Launched: 05/08/2008 05:59:24 AM PDT

In its first study of a controversial canal around the Delta in nearly a decade, California's statewide water agency concluded that it might be able to squeeze 20 percent more water out of the beleaguered Delta.

The report suggests it can do that while better protecting fish and without substantially worsening water quality.

If true, the Peripheral Canal could substantially ease pressure on a water system that is facing potentially severe shortages, badly deteriorating fish populations and court orders that have repeatedly found the state's water pumps are operating illegally.

But the conclusions of the study, a very early look at what state water managers want to do, are certain to be modified by state engineers and regulators and challenged by critics.

"The analysis is biased in a way that disguises the potential impacts of the scenarios they analyze," said Barry Nelson, a water policy analyst with the Natural Resources Defense Council. "There's absolutely no discussion here of what the Delta can accommodate and remain healthy."

The report also suggests that state water officials could seek to loosen water quality standards.

The report, posted recently on a state Web site, was requested by a panel appointed by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger to come up with a master plan for the Delta. The panel, the Delta Vision Blue Ribbon Task Force, is expected to make a recommendation next month on how best to move water through the Delta
region, a subject that harkens back 26 years to one of the most divisive political battles in California history.

By taking water from the Sacramento River instead of from pumps near Tracy, the Peripheral Canal would deliver cleaner water and eliminate the deaths of millions of fish each year at the pumps. But it also would partially dewater the Delta and increase the concentration of salt and pollution in the estuary, including where the Contra Costa Water District's intake pipes are located.

It also would lower flows on the lower Sacramento River, which could be a problem for declining salmon runs.

The first attempt at building a canal was defeated in a 1982 referendum.

However, it has received renewed interest in recent years after Delta water deliveries hit new highs, fish populations plummeted and courts ordered water supply reductions.

In a twist, the task force and state water managers are leaning toward building a canal but using it in conjunction with the existing pumps near Tracy. A study done last year found that relying solely on a canal would, surprisingly, reduce the amount of available water.

The most likely version of the combo plan, called "dual conveyance," would cost $8.6 billion to $17.2 billion, according to the Department of Water Resources study.

It would increase Delta water supplies to the Bay Area, San Joaquin Valley, Central coast and Southern California by roughly 1 million acre-feet, or enough for 8 million people, in an average year, the study estimated.

The proposed plumbing system could do that by taking water from the Sacramento River through the 43-mile Peripheral Canal and the Tracy pumps. Operators would decide where to take water from based on water quality in the Delta, the location of migrating salmon, smelt and other fish species and whatever operating rules happen to be in place.

The 39-page study suggests that state water officials could ask that current salinity standards be revisited because the original regulations were designed largely to keep small fish away from the Delta pumps. If water is being taken from the Sacramento River, the pumps would not be running and there would be no need to keep fish away from them.

"That's not a rationale anymore," said water resources department deputy director Jerry Johns.

The report says that if the overall salinity regulation is substantially changed, water operations could end up controlled by a regulation that protects water quality at the Contra Costa Water District's intake at Rock Slough.

If that were the case, that regulation also could be eliminated if the Contra Costa Water District agreed to participate in the dual conveyance plan.

"That's a whole lot of wishful thinking there," said Greg Gartrell, Contra Costa Water District's assistant general manager.

Johns objected to the characterization that the result of those changes would be weakened regulations, saying that the intent of those regulations would no longer apply and that regulators would insist on appropriate controls.

"It's the beginning of a long, complicated process," he said.