What is in this article?:
- Salmon controversy jeopardizes California water supply
- Problems identified
- Regulations have made minimal impact on the salmon controversy that continues to jeopardize California's fragile water supply and undermine its economy.
Among the problems identified by the study are:
• Disagreement on basic recovery actions. The CDFG, in particular, was consistently out-of-sync with the federal agencies. Of the 76 total recovery actions identified by the CDFG, for example, less than 12 percent overlapped with actions proposed by NMFS, and 14.5 percent overlapped with the USFWS.
• Conflict between agency recovery goals. Ignoring fall and late fall-run Chinook for comparative purposes, the minimum recovery goals for NMFS and for the USFWS and CDFG conflict, with targets ranging from a doubling of the salmon population to de-listing of the fishery as endangered.
• No evaluations of the population-level benefits of recovery actions. While evaluating the population-level benefits of specific actions in concert with other actions on a specific stream may be difficult, it’s a critical step from a cost/benefit perspective and for setting priorities based on the expected return.
• No consistent timeline for implementing or completing conservation actions.
• Failure to identify a long-term funding source for recovery projects.
• Absence of integrated performance measures to gauge the success or failure of actions.
The report does identify some achievements made by the agencies, noting, for instance, that the listing status for the Central Valley salmon population has remained unchanged despite population growth, habitat degradation and other dynamics.
But, as the study notes, “holding steady does not lead to recovery, and if a more comprehensive coordinated approach is not taken, it would appear that the resource agencies will continue developing independent management strategies,” leaving California’s salmon at risk.
To avoid that fate, the report’s experts say, all agencies responsible for management of anadromous fish in the Central Valley need to be under the same “restoration umbrella,” working from the same, science-based blueprint – one that outlines a clear strategy with specific objectives.
Members of the San Joaquin Tributaries Authority include Modesto Irrigation District, Turlock Irrigation District, Oakdale Irrigation District, Merced Irrigation District, the City and County of San Francisco, and the South San Joaquin Irrigation District.