The consolidated salmonid cases and us

Last week in the Eastern District Court in Fresno, Judge Oliver Wanger derided federal biologists for employing “guesstimations” as to how much Sierra snowmelt should be allowed to flow through the San Joaquin and Sacramento rivers and related tributaries into the San Francisco Bay Delta instead of being diverted by pumps to Central Valley farms and Southern Californian cities. The contemptuous conflation was the most quoted part of an 134-page finding in the on-going Consolidated Salmonid Cases, which concluded by intimating that pumping restrictions in place to protect migrating Delta smelt, Chinook salmon, steelhead trout and green sturgeon would soon be relaxed.

Unsurprisingly, the Contra Costa Times and other news outlets report today that pumping restrictions were indeed loosened. Decried by environmentalists and praised by water exporters, the most recent ruling is a temporary call in a game that is far from over.  As this battle for California’s fresh