Skip to comments.CA: State mulls longfin smelt for endangered status; legal battle looms (Where's muh beer batter?)
Posted on 02/07/2008 8:55:57 PM PST by NormsRevenge
The state Fish and Game Commission made the longfin smelt a candidate for the state's endangered species list Thursday, setting off alarms statewide among both water agencies and construction contractors.
The three commissioners voted unanimously to list the tiny fish that ranges from California to Alaska as a candidate species for one year. After a year of study, the fish could be added to the state's list of endangered or threatened species.
During that year-long study, however, the commission will limit the amount of water that can be pumped south out of the fish's habitat in the San Francisco Bay-Delta area.
Opponents said that decision will cost billions of dollars and a loss of jobs in construction as developments in Riverside and San Diego County come to a halt.
The commission also voted 3-0 to allow the incidental take of the species by California water projects, which often collect the fish in their pumping estuaries. The tiny fish die when caught up in the pumping systems.
Was it Mark Twain who said whiskey is for drinking and water is for fighting over? commission president Richard B. Rogers asked.
Twain did say that, and now the fight is on, likely in the courts as water agencies, developers and farmers line up to battle over what little water will trickle out of the Delta after this monumental decision.
We all need to get on with this, Rogers added. People will lose their jobs because we weren't able to fix this thing before this.
The commission's decision could lead to further reductions in water pumped from Northern California to the thirsty south.
A federal judge already has ordered reduced pumping of water from the Delta to protect a relative of the longfin, the delta smelt.
Both the longfin and delta smelt, as well as other fish that inhabit the delta, have seen their numbers decline in recent years due to a variety of environmental woes, including pollution; the introduction of non-native fish species to the Delta that have altered its habitat and cut into its food supply; and diversions of water from the Delta to California farms and major population centers up and down the state.
In the Murky news
State considers another Delta fish for endangered status
State regulators took steps to add yet another Delta fish to the list of endangered species Thursday and implemented emergency regulations that could further cut into state water supplies.
The president of the state Fish and Game Commission said the new rules could exact a “monster” hit on the state economy, though exactly what the impact will be was unclear.
“We have a plumbing problem that is going to cost billions of dollars in a very short period of time. It’s an absurd position to be in,” said the commission president, Richard Rogers.
Meeting in San Diego on Thursday, the commission designated longfin smelt as a candidate for the list of threatened and endangered species, meaning it must decide within a year whether to add it to one of those lists.
Then the commission enacted emergency measures that give Department of Fish and Game biologists new authority to cut deliveries from massive pumps near Tracy that supply water to 25 million people, including in Santa Clara, Alameda, Contra Costa and Los Angeles counties.
The new regulations come on top of court-ordered restrictions issued in December after a federal judge determined regulators were allowing water agencies to drive Delta smelt to extinction.
One judge and three appointed commissioners decide fish are more important than people, jobs and financial security. Makes perfect sense to me.
It’s all the fault of Alton Brown - his Food Network show tonight featured a whole mess o’ smelt!
I remember smelt feeds as a kid, loads of ‘em caught in lake superior, breaded and dipped in beer batter and deep fryers.. I don’t think we’re talking endangered species for those, but I’m sure the recipe would be the same.
alton is a character .
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