Now here’s a silly bit of reasoning from the south-of-Delta water users who never tire of looking for scapegoats to blame when they don’t get all the water they want:
Southern resident Peuget Sound orcas – also known as killer whales – eat Chinook salmon. Chinook salmon runs in the Delta have severely declined. It must be the fault of the orcas. (It certainly can’t be the result of over-pumping.) It must be the fault of the orcas, even though a recent count found that only 86 orcas even still exist. This makes orcas responsible for pumping restrictions. Therefore, orcas should be delisted as an endangered species under the Endangered Species Act.
This is the argument being made by the Pacific Legal Foundation on behalf of farmers in the San Luis, Chowchilla, and Westlands water districts. The Pacific Legal Foundation challenged the listing of orcas by the Bush Administration in 2005 when the population in Puget Sound declined. The court challenge failed in 2006, so now Pacific Legal Foundation lawyers have filed a new petition for delisting with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).
Never mind that this family of Orcas, speak a distinct language, have inhabited these waters for thousands of years, and unlike Orcas who reside further out in the ocean, depend on Chinook salmon as a mainstay of their diet.
In fact, southern resident Peugeot Sound orcas would have a greater chance of recovery if they had more Chinook salmon to eat, which is another reason to create healthier conditions for Chinook in the Delta.
Click here to read the SacBee editorial on the subject.