Act Now: Hands Off Our Delta Smelt & Delta Flows!
The Trump Administration’s recent announcement to increase Delta exports to Central Valley farmers poses an imminent threat to the emblematic California fish species under the watch of Governor Brown. With only two Delta smelt identified in the last fish survey, state and federal agencies need to focus time, money, and energy on restoring smelt populations instead of turning up the pumps.
If the Delta smelt are gone, it will be that much easier for tunnels proponents to build CA WaterFix—a system that when operated will usher in the extinction of Delta smelt if they are not completely wiped out during the project’s construction. The Delta smelt is our small but mighty canary in the coal mine; it is an indicator of the health of the Delta ecosystem. If it goes, the future impacts to the health of humans and to other Delta fish and wildlife would be devastating.
Thank you for joining us on January 23rd to express opposition to Trump Administration’s plan to “maximize” Delta exports, you can view the press conference here. Please make sure to get your opposition on the public record by sending comments to the USBR opposing this plan.
Send in your written comments by 2/1: Instructions here.
The Delta smelt could be the first fish species to become extinct in the United States since the Endangered Species Act was signed in 1973. We can’t let this happen under our watch. In the wake of this environmental crisis, we need to push our elected officials, regardless of their past or current behaviors, to speak up against the Trump Administration’s plan. If we remain silent, we become complicit in the first extinction of a fish species since the enactment of the Endangered Species Act.
Can you also contact our Californian elected leaders to let them know that the Delta is worthy of protection? When you call your elected officials, let them know that:
‣ The people of California want state and federal government entities to invest time and money into researching how to improve management of the Delta cross channel and how to create non-physical barriers that direct fish back to Suisun Marsh, instead of the continued pursuit of the costly Delta Tunnels. The tunnels will NOT save the Delta smelt, and if no other solutions are pursued, we will lose this tenacious fish forever.
‣ Taking more water out of the Delta is a direct violation of the Delta Reform Act of 2009 which mandates that all future water solutions MUST reduce reliance on the Delta.
‣ We refuse to be complacent in the extinction of Delta smelt which could be the beginning of a collapsing food chain for the Delta, the San Francisco Bay-Delta estuary, and coastal fisheries at large. Protecting the Delta smelt does not mean sacrificing the needs of humans—it is a necessary act to maintain the ecosystems that shape our livelihoods.
‣ If the Delta smelt are gone, it will be that much easier for tunnels proponents to build CA WaterFix—a system that when operated will usher in the extinction of Delta smelt if they are not completely wiped out during the project’s construction.
Stay tuned to our alerts for next steps on how you can protect Delta smelt!
Some background on the Delta smelt:
Before the 1980s, this silvery blue 2-2.8 inch fish species, endemic to the SF Bay-Delta estuary, was hugely abundant, numbering in nearly a million individuals. Unfortunately for the Delta smelt, this tiny and secretive fish prefers the upstream, fresher waters of the Delta part of the Estuary, putting them in the direct pathway of the 1% of special water interests and exporters.
According to Tom Cannon, what the Delta smelt needs is sufficient numbers with which to court and mate. However, they are so few and scarce, it’s hard for them to find each other in open waters of the Delta. Interestingly, due to their introverted nature, no scientist has ever witnessed Delta smelt spawning in the wild.
Despite the massive amount of damage that human activity has inflicted onto the Delta, a dwindling number of small but mighty smelt have persisted and are fighting to reach the Sacramento River in time for spawning season (March-May). To give their eggs and offspring a fighting chance, pumping cannot and should not be increased.