Dead fish wash up near $6.3
million passageway designed to protect them. Why didn’t it work? Sacramento
“The optics of the dead fish rotting next to the new facility raises fresh questions about whether habitat restoration programs championed by former Gov. Jerry Brown’s administration, through his controversial Delta tunnels project, will be completed in time to make a difference. The programs are designed to prevent the extinction of numerous species of fish whose plummeting numbers in recent years have lead to wide-ranging cuts to California’s water supply.
“The erosion and design problem at the Fremont Weir facility comes after the Department of Water Resources has faced more than two years of withering criticism for allowing problems to fester at Oroville Dam, which suffered catastrophic damage when its spillways failed in 2017. Investigators cited decades of faulty design and maintenance.”
Barbara Barrigan-Parrilla, executive director of Restore the Delta notes the following:
“The proposed intakes for California WaterFix include fish screens that are experimental in design. During recent hearings before the State Water Resources Control Board, testimony by California Sportfishing Protection Alliance revealed design flaws with the experimental screens as presently proposed.The failure of the Fremont Weir, a much simpler project, does not inspire our confidence that experimental screens costing billions will help save fish populations.
“The Department of Water Resources needs to handle these design flaws as it prepares a new Delta conveyance proposal for public review. Delta fisheries cannot afford many more project failures.”