Few native species are as controversial as Delta Smelt. It is a 3-4 inch translucent fish that lives only in the California Delta, where the Sacramento and San Joaquin rivers meet. This place also happens to be the heart of California’s complex water supply system which provides fresh drinking water to 35-million Californian’s and supports a multi-billion dollar agricultural industry. As water demand increased over the years, the smelt declined, approaching extinction. This blog probes into lessons we can learn from the failure of efforts to protect the smelt, laid out in the 1990s.