Delta Blues Trailer

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

New rules will cut delta water pumping by up to 33 percent

This article describes the release of the long-awaited biological opinion by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service concerning the future of the Delta Smelt.

Additional water cuts to the Central Valley and water rationing in parts of California now seem likely unless Northern California receives record snow and rainfall this winter.

Environmentalists called Monday's news overdue.

"The delta smelt is a bellwether for the health of the delta," said Doug Obegi, an attorney with the Natural Resources Defense Council in San Francisco. "What has happened to the smelt is indicative of what has happened to salmon and other species. We have increased pumping from the delta over the past decade and seen dramatic reductions in their numbers."

Others called the order a travesty.

"California's primary water supply has just taken another big hit," said Laura King Moon, assistant general manager of the State Water Contractors, an association of 27 farm and city water districts.

SF Chronicle coverage here

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Baby Fish in Polluted San Francisco Estuary Waters Are Stunted and Deformed

This study by UC Davis researchers is not only more bad news about the future of fish in the Delta, but includes larger ramifications:

"This is one of the first studies examining the effects of real-world contaminant mixtures on growth and development in wildlife," said study lead author David Ostrach, a research scientist at the UC Davis Center for Watershed Sciences. He said the findings have implications far beyond fish, because the estuary is the water source for two-thirds of the people and most of the farms in California.

"If the fish living in this water are not healthy and are passing on contaminants to their young, what is happening to the people who use the water, are exposed to the same chemicals or eat the fish?" Ostrach said.