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View Full Version : Delta water export pumps grindin' up Threadfin...



Stripermike
10-20-2007, 04:59 PM
Shad.....Well most of you are familiar with the Delta Smelt/water export issues.. Take a look at what's happening right now. BuRec is guesstimating entrainment of 600,000 +- Threadfin Shad a day. Statistically the survival rate for the salvaged fish is some where around 1% +- .The rest generally get ground up in the pumps or shipped south with the water.. How long can the delta support this kind of harvest of important sportfishing forage fish...The decline continues..

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v212/stripermike/shadinscreens.jpg

gmj
10-21-2007, 05:01 AM
Good post Mike! I'm certainly no expert--just an old fisherman. If that many shad are dying each day--I'm wondering how many smelt could be dying each day as well. This issue seems to be something about fish needing water. The less water--the fewer fish. If we divert and export enough water--maybe we can completely decimate and destroy the entire fishery and ecosystem. Have we gone too far down this road already?? The 'Powers to Be' with all their wisdom think not. Their answer seems to be--'ship more water'. Again--I don't have any answers--I'm just an old fisherman who loves the sport.

Yaker
10-21-2007, 10:45 AM
Great post! Next election this needs to get shoved in some faces.

YakMotor
10-22-2007, 12:47 AM
Mike I looked at your post because I too am concerned about the health of our delta and fisheries. Could you please explain where you got your photo and what's going on in it? Are those fish dead? I don't understand "entrainment" Does that mean 600,000 die per day and only 1% are saved from the pumps?

Dan Bacher
10-22-2007, 06:25 AM
This photo and commentary was forwarded by one of the biologists for the Pelagic Organism Decline team to the Environmental Water Caucus and fishing group email lists. I'm trying to get an interview today with one of the scientists.

Stripermike
10-22-2007, 07:08 AM
Mike I looked at your post because I too am concerned about the health of our delta and fisheries. Could you please explain where you got your photo and what's going on in it? Are those fish dead? I don't understand "entrainment" Does that mean 600,000 die per day and only 1% are saved from the pumps?

The term "entrainment" is just another word for "trapped and removed from natural habitat" (Rivers, Delta, etc.) and applies to those fish in the bucket or sucked through the pumps.

The picture of the shad in the bucket are as alive as any of us would be under the situation. They are taken from the bucket and dumped into a tanker truck, hauled over to Sherman Island and alternatively dumped into the Sacramento or the San Joaquin rivers where there are congregations of Squawfish, black bass and striped bass, who eat most of them. The estimated survival rate of these shad is about 1%..The Bay/Delta Stamp Committee and the Striped Bass Stamp Committee have both been working on a better way of doing this so called "salvage operation" because the same thing happens to stripers, salmon, steelhead and all other game fish in the delta. We have so far, been stymied by the Fed and State bureaucracies. (Fish and Wildlife and DFG).. there is a very good way to increase their survival by simply dumping them into net pens and let them get acclimated the tow them around while they release them. Its a no brainer and all of the fisheries biologists agree but we can't get the management side to make a commitment to doing this. Its a real shame!!

As far as the survival rate of any shad sucked into the pumps, ( or any other Baitfish, salmon, steelhead, stripers, American Shad or any of the Black Basses, each at certain times of the year) which is probably the majority of the 600,000+-, there are a lot of them that find new lives in the Canals and reservoirs and tons of them end up in irrigated fields as fertilizer. With respect to the natural waterways where these fish belong, their mortality rate is 100%!!

Dans response is correct about the origin of the photo...

Hope this answers your questions..

Mike

FISHSTALKER
10-22-2007, 10:28 AM
Dan - So this information and photo is not available on the Web yet and the scientists who supplied it is incognito? Or is this at least until he agrees to an interview with you? And for another Sniffers benefit, will this scientific report/analysis be in the form of a pier review? Who supplied the grant or what organization is payroling this Scientist?

Vance Staplin
10-22-2007, 03:06 PM
Hi Mike,

The net pen program is not a new idea. Tom Hampton did it for a few years and the Striper recovery was huge.

Then he was required to re-bid the program and I don't know what happened after that.

This all falls back to the DFW and DFG not caring for some reason. I'm certain that it is not the employee's at the lower levels; they just have to provide the task. It is coming from the higher ups where the politics are thick.

Those pumps and the water flows to those pumps are clearly the reason for the demise of all of the bay, river, and delta species. The lack of caring by the Bureau of Reclamation DWR, DFW, and DFG is the frustrating part of the puzzle. If we don't force them to care our fisheries will be lost for certain as we now see with our Salmon return for this year.

There is just too much doggone desert down south that they want to develop!


Vance

YakMotor
10-22-2007, 03:30 PM
Thanks Mike

I've seen that "bucket" before, or one that looks much like it, but that was way back when it was filled with Chinese mitten crabs which were clogging the whole fish "salvage" system at the Bureau of Reclamation's Tracy Fish Facility. I'd been called down to shoot video to document the problem. It was at that time I was able to witness and learn the basics of the fish recovery program.

You did a good job explaining and refreshing my memory. The fish in the bucket are alive and have been saved at the salvage facility to prevent them from being sucked into the downstream pumps that send our precious delta water south. I'd forgotten about how they end up as squawfish food when they are placed back in the river.

My perspective is from the bottom of the food chain so to speak. The critical problems of water export and the complexity of politics that stirs the pot are beyond my comprehension. I'm sure glad there are folks with better understanding, like you, who act upon and voice their concerns.

... all of the fisheries biologists agree but we can't get the management side to make a commitment ...

I pulled that from your comment because I think it hits the heart of the problem. The biologists and other employees I met at the fish (salvage and study) facilities all were making their best effort to save the fish they captured ... mitton crabs excepted! It's at the management level ears fall deaf to practicality but bend obediently to the politics that rule them.

"Politics" ... gives me a cold cringe up the back of my neck so easily related to repulsion of deceit.

A powerful photograph like you posted should be used to get attention and help promote positive change. but in my opinion it needs to be presented in proper context lest the whole message descend to the level of ... ARGH! ... politics.

Dan Bacher
10-22-2007, 03:33 PM
Fish Stalker

"Dan - So this information and photo is not available on the Web yet and the scientists who supplied it is incognito? Or is this at least until he agrees to an interview with you? And for another Sniffers benefit, will this scientific report/analysis be in the form of a pier (I think you meant "peer") review? Who supplied the grant or what organization is payroling this Scientist?"

You're jumping to conclusions.

Here's what I know so far about this issue. The email and photo comes from Ron Silva of the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation. The U.S. government is funding this scientist. The POD Team - a team of state and federal scientists - have their studies periodically peer reviewed by other scientists.

Just for your information, the federal government doesn't normally jump up and send out a press release when something like the entrainment of shad happens. In the real world, it usually takes a reporter to uncover the facts in a situation like this. I'm still waiting for a return call. Unfortunately, again in the real world, agency supervisors usually suppress "bad news" like this; that's why "whistle blowers" are so important to keeping the state and federal governments honest.

Regarding the photo not being "on the Web yet," I'm not clear what you're talking about, since you're now looking at the photo "on the Web!"

I didn't post the photo myself because I was trying to gather more information before I did. It was posted by another board member before I got a chance to get more information. But the photo is genuine and came from a Bureau of Reclamation scientist working at the federal salvage facilities. *

Vance Staplin
10-22-2007, 03:43 PM
Hi Dan,

I think you need a clarification. That photo is from a Bureau of Reclamation soon-to-be "ex"scientist. He will definitely be gone now.

He forgot where his paycheck came from and then forgot to lie and cover up the problem.

Vance

Dan Bacher
10-23-2007, 07:06 AM
I just talked to the scientist and it turned out that 270,000 shad were actually entrained in the pumps that day, so the earlier projected figure of over 600,000 fish was incorrect. He said that the shad are returned successfully to the water alive (I didn't get the mortality percentage). We can't jump to conclusions on this issue unless we get all of the facts in. I'm doing some further research on this issue today.