It's always astounding to us how environmentalists and fish scientists look at all the evidence and never seem to come to the obvious conclusion.
Jan 05, 2018
You may have seen the latest story about pumping water out of the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta (As fish disappear, Trump administration seeks to pump more California water south) and the reaction of fish scientists and environmentalists. Doug Obegi of the Natural Resources Defense Council was quoted in the story as saying "the Trump administration is saying damn the fish and damn the rivers and let’s get more water to Westlands.” Jay Lund, director of the UC Davis Center for Watershed Sciences warned, “I don’t know that they’re going to find a lot of extra water without doing violence." Violence? Wow.
It's always astounding to us how environmentalists and fish scientists look at all the evidence and never seem to come to the obvious conclusion. If we poured more water on a crop year after year and never got a bigger crop we'd probably figure more water wasn't the answer. Common sense. But, fish scientists and environmentalists pour more and more water on the Delta Smelt year after year, watch the fish decline and always come to the conclusion that it needs more water.
Last year was a record flood year, with more water flowing through the Delta for the endangered smelt than anyone could imagine. What happened? According to the Stockton Record, "even Northern California’s wettest winter wasn’t enough to help the poor Delta smelt avoid ping to another record low in 2017...
Not only was there no rebound, but the number of fish found in the surveys actually declined slightly."
Other Delta fish did a lot better. "While a population index for the infamous Delta smelt declined from 8 to 2, the index for the striped bass — a valued sport fish — climbed from 124 to 470, the highest since 2001 (though still far lower than historic levels). Longfin smelt, a cousin of the Delta smelt, rebounded nicely from 7 last year to 141 this year. And American shad soared from 313 last year to 3,086 this year."
We'd like to point out that striped bass is a predator and likes to eat smelt. In our world if you have a lot more striped bass, you'll have a lot fewer smelt. Doesn't that make sense? One solution would be to reduce the striped bass population. Striped bass are not endangered. They eat endangered smelt and endangered salmon. The daily bag limit for the bass is 2. Back in 2011 there was a proposal to increase it to 6. It was rejected by the Department of Fish and Game.
So, what's more dangerous to the smelt and salmon populations? "Twenty years of data show that pumping has had no long-term impact on salmon populations. However, a federal study released in 2013 demonstrated that 93 percent of juvenile salmon on the Tuolumne River are consumed by predators while attempting to migrate to the ocean."
The conclusion seems obvious to us.
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