Friday, June 5, 2009

Sacramento River BiOp

With Sacramento River chinook salmon stocks experiencing severe short term decline, federal regulators issued a new biological opinion Thursday demanding changes in the water management practices in the basin. Currently the Sacramento provides water for much of the irrigation in the Central Valley as well as Southern California. The plan calls for about a 5 percent reduction in the amount of water being diverted from the delta and sent to consumers. While some oppose the plan because of its percieved economic impacts, the recent severe collapse of Chinook in the Sacramento has lead to a full closure of salmon fishing the past two years and has alarmed biologists and anglers alike. While the Sacramento was once one of the most productive chinook systems in the world over the last century and a half it has been severely impacted by habitat degradation, overharvest, dam buidling, waterdiversion, and the impacts of invasive species. Hopefully the measures outlined in the new biop will serve as a foundation for recovery of wild chinook and steelhead in the system. See the article in the San Francisco Chronicle here

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