The Council then heard from Dr. Anke Mueller-Solger , Lead Scientist for the Interagency Ecological Program (IEP – the team of State and Federal agencies and university and private scientists that monitors and does scientific research in the Delta). Meuller-Solger announced the development of three new IEP work teams:
- Yolo-bypass group – focused on restoration projects
- Migratory fish telemetry team – tracking salmon and sturgeon as well as predatory species. IEP also has funded a pilot study to develop Passive inductive Transponder (PIT) tags that were small enough to utilize in the monitoring of Delta Smelt.
- Salmon Genetics – this work group was revived and their focus will be on identifying the genetic identity of the various runs of salmon, as well as further delving into the genetic implications of hatchery reared fish vs. wild fish.
Meuller-Solger discussed adaptive management of Fall outflow required for Delta Smelt protection, “which some people consider wasted water.” DSC Chair Phil Isenberg suggested that smelt protection could be achieved with better timing of pulse flows and wasn’t solely dependant on the amount of flow; but Meuller-Solger countered that as part of an adaptive management plan it would be best to observe the conditions of the upcoming biological opinion to be released from Judge Wanger’s court and then develop a scientifically-based adjustment to operations. She did acknowledge that the biological opinion is expected to “cost water” in the months of September and October, except in a year such as this when dam releases to make way for flood capacity will undoubtedly meet the flow requirements.