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Public Responses


Delta Science

Aug 28, 2018

Dallas Weaver Ph.D. 

All these people are arguing about scientific nonsense. For example, the Biological Opinion on the Delta Smelt is probably pure scientific nonsense.

If you read the 400+ page biological opinion you find more than you will ever want to know about the delta smelt and their fish predators, the clams, the zooplankton food supply, the water clarity, and human water withdraws from the delta over the time period of the 60’s to near present day. They then did a bunch of correlation analysis between the smelt populations of the withdraws giving the results a scientific patina.

However, they totally ignored that fact that in the 60’s DDT was a massively used pesticide that what impacting fish-eating bird populations in the delta (Osprey weren’t the only piscivorous birds impacted). As DDT was banned and the product slowly worked its way out of the Delta system, the birds returned and some of these species like cormorants can eat tons per day of delta smelt sized fish in a decent colony like we have in the bay/delta area. By totally excluding birds and population changes, DDT changes (not even mentioned: the beauty of word search), they were p-hacking the results so it wouldn’t have endangered birds eating endangered fish and could point to farmers as the problem. Deep pocket rather than no-pocket answers.

Whether the scientists who did this were fraudulent or just true believers that natures rebound couldn’t overshoot and crash the smelt populations.

If you want more answers to verify the above see the following link:


Three graphs are for the delta smelt populations and the flow rates over time from the opinion PDF. They are correct in seeing the crash of the smelt population, but you can also see that the correlation with the small change in flow will be poor at best. The correlation with the cormorant population would be far better. This whole delta smelt science is more political science than real science, which is why they don’t publish such nonsense in the real scientific journal with real outside reviewers.