Stop press: Fish need water

As reported last night by McClatchy Newspapers, and today by everyone, a scientific panel appointed by the National Academy of Sciences to review controversial federal protections for endangered California coastal fish has concluded that fish need water.

Or, in newspeak, the panel has reported that assessments by federal scientists that led to reductions of water diversions from the Sacramento-San Joaquin Bay Delta for Central Valley farms and Southern Californian cities were “scientifically justified.”

The protections for Delta Smelt, Chinook Salmon, Steelhead Trout and Green Sturgeon recommended in 2008 and 2009 by biologists from the US Fish and Wildlife Service and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration fisheries division were put to the academy panel for scrutiny last year at the behest of members of the powerful California congressional delegation. Led by Senator Dianne Feinstein, the delegates who demanded the review repeatedly suggested that the federal scientists had over-emphasized

“Huge Signal” of Change from Columbia River Salmon

MAY 30, 2009. BONNEVILLE DAM  – Run of small salmon on the Columbia River baffles anglers, scientists, Seattle Times. ”Just looking at the Bonneville Dam count, it’s extraordinary,” says Brian Beckman, a National Marine Fisheries Service biologist in Seattle. “It’s just kind of jaw-dropping … There is a huge signal from the fish that something has changed.”…

Green Sturgeon New Smelt for Bay-Delta Pumps?



A federal biologist holds a green sturgeon caught and released in San Pablo Bay, Calif., in 2002. Photo: NOAA

THE SAME day that Central Valley farmers filed suit over pumping stoppages to protect the Delta smelt, the spectre of additional protections for another fish, this time the green sturgeon, rose from government scientists. Reports Thursday May 21 from AP and Fresno Bee followed today (May 22) by a better report in Aquafornia.

For the full story, go to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration announcement as to why its  Fisheries Service “is seeking public comment on a proposed rule that generally prohibits acts that would kill or harm a distinct group of North American green sturgeon that spawn in the Sacramento River. 

Listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act, this distinct segment of green sturgeon is found from Alaska to California but is only known to reproduce

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