What Flows Do Delta Fish Need to Recover?
They need a lot more than they're getting now, many scientists and C-WIN's senior research associate Tim Stroshane wrote the State Water Resources Control Board in February 2010 before hearings on Delta flow criteria.
And Delta fish need even more flows to come from the San Joaquin River, scientific witnesses told the Board.
Substituting marsh or wetland habitat for fresh water flows through the Delta will not bring back the plummeting populations of estuarine fish and migratory salmon, several witnesses including C-WIN's Stroshane told the State Water Resources Control Board in prepared testimony. River flows are themselves key habitat, they said.
Moreover, Stroshane said, the State Water Board heard this from estuary and fisheries biologists 20 years ago and actually developed water quality control plans in the late 1980s and a draft water rights decision in the early 1990s that would have significantly increased flows and done more to protect Delta ecosystems—before two governors shelved them after water contractors balked.
The Delta Flow Criteria Proceeding held this March in Sacramento was mandated by the state legislature when it passed Senate Bill 1 (extended session 7) in November 2010, creating Water Code Section 85086(c)(1). This section required the State Water Board to "develop flow criteria for the Delta ecosystem necessary to protect public trust resources" using the "best available scientific information" with input from the public. The legislature also intended that these flow criteria would be used for planning decisions that are required for the upcoming Delta Plan, also required by the new state water legislation last November.
For more information about the Delta Flow Criteria Proceeding visit the State Water Board's web page.