THIS JUST IN … Reclamation requests changes to Fall X2 action

The Golden Gate Salmon Association has issued a statement responding to a memo from the US Fish and Wildlife Service to the Bureau of Reclamation, the upshot of which is that Reclamation is proposing changes to the Fall X2 adaptive management action.  X2 is the location in the Bay-Delta where the tidally averaged salinity is 2 parts per thousand; it is generally considered the best habitat for Delta smelt.  Click here for more on X2.

The objective of the Fall X2 action is to improve conditions for Delta smelt by maintaining X2 at 74 km in wet years and 81 km in above-normal years. The modification that was approved will allow Reclamation to operate to an X2 of 80 km.  According to the Golden Gate Salmon Association, the effect of this is that Reclamation will not be contributing water towards the Fall X2 action.   You can read the memo here.

Here’s the statement from the Golden Gate Salmon Association:

Today the Trump administration announced a fresh attack on California’s environment and this one may cost southern California residents some of their water supply. The Trump administration says it won’t contribute its portion of fall reservoir releases required to keep the Delta from getting too salty.

Both state and federal managed reservoirs are required to release water in the fall to protect the Delta food chain from saltwater intrusion.  The federal refusal to uphold their end of the bargain is a violation of federal law and will require the state to release extra water from its reservoirs to avoid violating state law.  The state reservoir water in question would normally be used by residents across southern California, from LA to San Diego, to San Bernardino, and beyond.

“Already this week the Trump administration acted to make the air Californians breathe more polluted and now it is going after our water,” said Golden Gate Salmon Association president John McManus.  “This problem would easily be solved if Governor Gavin Newsom would simply sign Senate Bill 1, a measure that requires the federal water managers to abide by state rules.  SB 1 confirms California’s sovereignty over its own waters, something the Trump administration refuses to acknowledge or abide by.”

The Trump administration is changing Endangered Species Act implementation, with new weaker rules scheduled to take affect September 26.  Soon after, the Trump administration is expected to announce abolishment of current environmental protections that help salmon by limiting water diversions in the Delta and provide other protections.

“Today’s federal confrontation is one in a series of harmful federal water operation actions expected in the months to come,” said McManus. “Without SB 1, Governor Newsom is basically sidelining himself by choice.  He should instead stand up to Trump administration assaults on California’s water supply and environment.  SB 1 gives the state the tools needed to address these environmental assaults and protect both salmon and southern California’s water supply.  Without SB 1, and a facing a full frontal assault by the Trump administration, California’s salmon runs face a grim future with greatly degraded habitat in the Central Valley they need to reproduce.   The loss of California’s salmon industry is entirely preventable if Governor Newsom acts by approving Senate Bill 1.”

The Golden Gate Salmon Association (www.goldengatesalmon.org) is a coalition of salmon advocates that includes commercial and recreational salmon fisherman, businesses, restaurants, a native tribe, environmentalists, elected officials, families and communities that rely on salmon.

GGSA’s mission is to restore California salmon for their economic, recreational, commercial, environmental, cultural and health values.  GGSA serves the sport and commercial anglers, businesses, conservationists and foodies that rely on salmon as a long-term, nutritious, sustainable resource.

Currently, California’s salmon industry is valued at $1.4 billion in annual economic activity in a normal season. The industry employs tens of thousands of people from Santa Barbara to northern Oregon. This is a huge economic bloc made up of commercial fishermen, recreational fishermen (fresh and salt water), fish processors, marinas, coastal communities, equipment manufacturers, tackle shops and marine stores, the hotel and food industry, tribes, and the salmon fishing industry at large.  Salmon are the keystone species that reflect the health of both their fresh and salt water environment.

Stay tuned, more to come, surely!

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