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GGSA Comments On Delta Stewardship Council Reports
by Dan Bacher
Wednesday Oct 24th, 2012 11:33 AM
A GGSA analysis has found that since year 2000 over one hundred million fish (102,856,027) have been sucked into the delta pumps. This figure includes twenty six million valuable game fish, many of which are endangered.

“GGSA believes this system kills more fish annually than any other man made facility or process in North America,” said GGSA president Victor Gonella.

Aerial photo of the Tracy Fish Collection Facility (TFCF) on the South Delta courtesy of the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation.
aerial-view-of-tfcf.jpg
aerial-view-of-tfcf.jpg

GGSA Comments On Delta Stewardship Council Reports

Plan correctly ID’s flow problems as main killer of salmon

October 22, 2012 --PETALUMA, CA – The Golden Gate Salmon Association (http://www.goldengatesalmonassociation.com) filed comments telling the authors of the Delta Stewardship Plan they are correct to identify lack of through delta flows as the main cause of salmon decline.

However, the stewardship plan wrongly concludes that restoration of delta wetlands can mitigate for the lack of flows. GGSA points out that juvenile salmon transiting the delta spend little time there and the emphasis on wetlands restoration may be good for other native delta fish but is likely to do little to address the salmon problem.

GGSA also says in its comments that modification of some delta channels currently straightened and lined with large boulders on the banks could benefit juvenile salmon. Salmon have few places to hide from predators in these gauntlets.

View comments here: http://goldengatesalmonassociation.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/10/GGSA-Comments-on-The-Final-Delta-Draft-Plan.pdf

“The Delta Stewardship Plan correctly places much of the current problems faced by salmon on the over pumping of the delta to move salmon water south to San Joaquin Valley agriculture operations and others,” said GGSA Secretary Dick Pool. “The stewardship plan goes off course by suggesting restoration of delta lands can make up for the steep loss of salmon caused by the pumps, which reverse the natural flows of the delta and suck juvenile salmon to their deaths.”

The stewardship plan is one of the pieces of a puzzle all leading to construction of a peripheral canal designed to move water from the Sacramento River around the delta to be delivered to the pumps, instead of the current flow of water through the delta to the pumps.

Proponents of the canal hope to seize even more water than they currently take, all of which harms salmon. Water users took so much water in the last decade that they drove the salmon fishery into total collapse.

All ocean fishing for salmon was shut in 2008 and 2009 as a result. Restrictions on the pumps, mandated by court rulings won by salmon advocates, have since allowed for a rebound in salmon numbers. But the pumping restrictions are being hotly contested by the agricultural operators in court and through politicians favorable to their interests.

A GGSA analysis has found that since year 2000 over one hundred million fish (102,856,027) have been sucked into the delta pumps. This figure includes twenty six million valuable game fish, many of which are endangered.

“GGSA believes this system kills more fish annually than any other man made facility or process in North America,” said GGSA president Victor Gonella.

GGSA is proposing a statewide salmon restoration plan that addresses many of the issues in the stewardship plan. Among these is a proposal to modernization the process where fish are captured at the pumps and trucked to release sites in the bay. Under current practices, most of these “salvaged” fish die. GGSA’s proposal calls for modern recovery techniques and release pens to acclimate stressed “salvaged” fish until they can survive.

The Golden Gate Salmon Association is a coalition of salmon advocates that includes commercial and recreational salmon fisherman, businesses, restaurants, tribes, environmentalists, elected officials, families and communities that rely on salmon. Their mission is to protect and restore California’s largest salmon producing habitat comprised of the Central Valley river’s that feed the Bay-Delta ecosystem and the communities that rely on salmon as a long-term, sustainable, commercial, recreational and cultural resource.

Currently, California’s salmon industry is valued at $1.4 billion in economic activity annually and about half that much in economic activity and jobs again in Oregon. The industry employs tens of thousands of people from Santa Barbara to northern Oregon. This is a huge economic bloc made up of commercial fishermen, recreational fishermen (fresh and salt water), fish processors, marinas, coastal communities, equipment manufacturers, the hotel and food industry, tribes, and the salmon fishing industry at large.