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Salmon Saga on SJ River

You can't believe in climate change and and also believe in bringing back salmon to the San Joaquin River.

Nov 02, 2018

Salmon and other native freshwater fish in California will likely become extinct within the next century due to climate change if current trends continue, ceding their habitats to non-native fish. - According to a study by scientists from the Center for watershed Sciences at UC Davis

You can't believe in climate change and and also believe in bringing back salmon to the San Joaquin River.  Salmon need cold water and climate change predicts warmer water.  Nevertheless the effort to bring salmon back continues, now in its 10th year.  The article below tells us "only time will tell whether the population of spring-run Chinook salmon in the San Joaquin River will be able to sustain itself given the increasingly warm summers in California." 

The article goes on to tell us that in the 10-year effort, "despite year-round flows and hatchery releases of up to 200,000 juvenile fish for the last several years, no adult spring-run Chinook salmon have returned to the Restoration Area below Friant Dam." 

Families Protecting the Valley Board member Kole Upton proposed in 2014 to agree on legislation to establish a 'warm water' fishery calling for a 'live' river 24/7, 365 days/year. It will not provide salmon, but will provide a robust fishery like exists for 40 miles below Friant Dam now.  The current method using artificial means to truck the salmon from one point to another does not qualify as a 'self-sustaining fishery'. 

Remember, the original spirit and intent of the San Joaquin River Settlement had two simple goals: 1. Try to re-establish a self-sustaining salmon run on the S.J. River that had been dried up some 60 years ago by federal legislation, and 2. to mitigate the water losses to the East Side of the S.J. Valley.  The East side water was going to be lost because we were sending it down the river for the salmon.  It had been thought and hoped the water going down the river could be recirculated back to farms.

Senator Dianne Feinstein even had the parties sign a 'blood oath' pledging to work vigorously for these goals with integrity. Frankly, if this was the Settlement we were talking about, we do not know of anyone who would object.  

But, that is NOT the Settlement we are talking about today. Shortly after the signing of the Settlement on Sept. 13, 2006, the environmental parties to the Settlement started filing their Delta lawsuits. These lawsuits had the dual effects of taking water away from the West Side, but also resulted in the federal government not being able to re-circulate the restoration water back to the East Side.

If the State of California believes in climate change, and certainly it does, it must abandon the misguided effort to bring back salmon to the San Joaquin.  Resort to a warm water fishery without salmon where the water can be recirculated to farmers and we can get back to the original spirit of the Settlement.

The Spring-Run Salmon Saga Of The San Joaquin

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