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Old 03-25-2010, 08:37 AM   #1
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Default Scientists' report only intensifies delta debate

Scientists' report only intensifies delta debate
The panel's finding that federal protections of smelt and salmon are scientifically justified, but that factors other than pumping could also contribute to their decline, fuels both sides.
By Bettina Boxall
March 20, 2010

Scientists' report only intensifies delta debate - latimes.com
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Quote:
Charged with evaluating the basis of federal fish protections that are limiting the pumping of water supplies from the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta, the National Academy of Sciences committee concluded the protections were on the whole scientifically justified.
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Old 03-25-2010, 08:38 AM   #2
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Default The Report

A Scientific Assessment of Alternatives for Reducing Water Management Effects on Threatened and Endangered Fishes in California's Bay Delta

http://www.latimes.com/media/acrobat/2010-03/52827149.pdf
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Preface
California, like many states, faces challenges related to water. Much of the state is too dry to support many human activities, such as municipal and industrial water use and irrigated agriculture, without supplementing the natural water supply. It has done this through an extensive series of engineering projects that include reservoirs, canals, levees, and pumps, largely to move water from the more humid north to the more arid and densely populated south. Much of California’s natural surface-water supply flows into and through the Sacramento and San Joaquin watersheds into California’s Bay-Delta, and from there through San Francisco Bay into the ocean. The delta itself is a biologically diverse estuarine ecosystem, and is the main point of diversion for water that is transported to the south.

As California’s population and economic activity have increased, along with water diversions from the delta, conflicts over various water uses have increased as well, especially surrounding the bay-delta. Those conflicts have been brought to a head by restrictions on water diversions that have been required by two biological opinions, one by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, covering delta smelt, and one by the National Marine Fisheries Service, covering salmon, steelhead, and sturgeon, to protect those fishes, which are listed as threatened or endangered under the federal Endangered Species Act. In addition, several recent dry years have exacerbated the situation. Conflicts over water are not new in California, but the current conflicts over the baydelta appear to be unprecedented in their scale. Few parts of the state are unaffected by what happens to delta water.

Protecting all the listed species and preserving existing and projected uses of the region’s water is a serious challenge.
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