California's Salmon are Running Out of Water and Time
Send a message today to help protect California's renowned salmon runs
Agricultural interests are spending millions of dollars on lawsuits and campaigns in an attempt to overturn important biological opinions and increase private water rights. Increased water diversion for agricultural irrigation is having a devastating impact on recreational salmon fishing and businesses that depend on the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta's fishery.
Despite the extreme environmental consequences of over-pumping, private interests, notably the San Joaquin Valley agricultural water contractors are attempting to control even more of the public's water. At times this diversion is so high that it can actually reverse the natural flow of the Old and Middle Rivers in the South Delta.
Because of the impacts of high volume pumping rates on salmon, fishery managers closed the salmon fishing season in 2008 and 2009 and severely curtailed the 2010 season. Despite fishery closures, the region's salmon populations will not be able to recover until water management deficiencies are properly addressed. California's salmon fisheries are edging towards a collapse and cannot afford to lose more water to private agricultural interests.
What is the Solution?
Two of the Delta's four salmon runs are currently listed under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration are required to evaluate any project that may impact ESA-listed fish and issue a biological opinion. In response to the recent salmon crash, both agencies issued new biological opinions in 2009. These called for reduced pumping rates and improved upriver habitat conditions. While this is a large improvement from previous policies, more change is necessary if all four runs are to recover.
Send a message to your Members of Congress and the Secretaries of the Interior and Commerce urging them to support and uphold the current biological opinions. California's salmon are an invaluable resource that cannot be sold out to private interests.
Enter your zip code below to send a message today!