Bad news for salmon, and for fish generally

Congressman Jim Costa has introduced legislation that would modify rules laid out in the biological opinions in order to increase the amount of water that could be pumped from the Delta.  Costa says it would send an additional 200,000 acre feet of water to the southern Central Valley.  But it would also increase the level of reverse flow allowed in Old and Middle rivers.  That will interfere with seasonal fish runs and reverse progress on increasing the salmon population.

Jeff Miller of the Center for Biological Diversity called the proposal “nothing more than an end run around the Endangered Species Act.”

Costa continues to blame unemployment in the Central Valley on reduced water deliveries, although there is ample evidence that a three-year drought and construction job losses due to the foreclosure crisis have been the major drivers of economic hardship.

Costa’s bill, HR 3, would also block stronger protections for listed species or critical habitat under California law.   This prohibition appears to be designed to block stronger protections under the California Endangered Species Act, Porter-Cologne, the public trust, and other state laws. Click here for article.

We guess someone forgot to tell the Congressman that the drought has been declared over by Governor Jerry Brown.  Perhaps Congressman Costa has not been made aware that Federal interference with State laws isn’t well thought of these days by voters, or that commercial salmon fishing is an important part of California’s economy.  For sure, someone forgot to tell him that Delta farmers need fresh water to grow crops on over 500,000 acres of prime Delta farm land, and that Delta farmers feed Californians rather than exporting the bulk of their crops to China.

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