It’s been a busy and discouraging ten days for those interested in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta as either an ecosystem or a water source.
- The San Francisco Chronicle reported that the return of fall chinook salmon to the Sacramento River hit a record low last year.
- The Pacific Fishery Management Council released a gloomy preseason estimate of 2009 stock abundance, leading to speculation that there might again be no commercial ocean salmon fishing this year.
- The Bureau of Reclamation forecast that agricultural contractors would get no water from the Central Valley Project this year. And despite recent rains, the Governor on Friday declared a statewide drought emergency, calling on all residents to reduce water use by 20%.
- Judge Wanger agreed to give the National Marine Fisheries Service another 3 months to finalize its biological opinion on operations of the Central Valley Project and State Water Project. (Hat tip: Aquafornia) When finished, the BiOp is expected to conclude that project operations jeopardize not only salmon but also, as Rick explained here, the Puget Sound orca population.
- The State Water Resources Control Board declined to waive Delta water quality standards as requested by the Bureau of Reclamation and Department of Water Resources. Ever fearless, the Board decided that recent rains had made a waiver unnecessary, and declined to punish the water agencies for having violated the standards while their petition was considered.
- The Coalition for a Sustainable Delta, the same group of farmers that brought you the striped bass lawsuit against the Department of Fish and Game, added yet another layer to Delta litigation, suing Stockton over urban runoff and sewage overflows that are allegedly harming the Delta. (Hat tip: Aquafornia)