February 25, 2009

California water news

By California water news

Yesterday's San Diego Union Tribune discussed the drought and the impact it is having and may have on the state's wildlife. Things are particularly challenging for salmon:

Federal water managers have had to limit cold water releases for salmon returning upstream – a move that makes 20 miles of the Sacramento River too warm for the fish and their eggs to survive.

Illustrating the desperation, federal and state officials are pleading with regulators to ease water quality standards in the Sacramento delta. If granted, the emergency application would save some cold water for salmon, but potentially sacrifice flows that help a rare fish, the delta smelt.

The delta smelt is not only rare, its listed as a threatened species under the Endangered Species Act.  As we pointed out last week, sacrificing smelt flows for salmon would be frustrating for farmers throughout California, as they have been told that their water supply needs to be limited to protect the smelt.

In any event, it looks like the easing of water standards won't happen, as the Sacramento Bee reports that the State Water Resources Control Board "ruled there is no longer need for the action because recent rains provided enough natural outflow to meet Delta requirements."

For more, visit Aquafornia, which also has others posts on drought conditions and the impact of the drought Central Valley farmers.

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