With the Delta Stewardship Council expected to adopt the final “Delta Plan” at its May 16-17 meeting in Sacramento, the Natural Resources Defense Council and the Golden Gate Salmon Association say a new analysis shows that the prized Central Valley salmon fishery is “limping along” at only 20 percent of the population goal required by state and federal law.
The Delta Plan recommends improved efficiency, more storage, the development of other local water supplies, protection of Delta farmlands and communities, and the improvement of Delta levees. It will also incorporate as state law the yet to be completed Bay Delta Conservation Plan.
That plan, urged on by Gov. Jerry Brown, is expected to call for construction of massive 35 mile long twin tunnels buried 150 feet beneath the heart of the Delta to siphon water out of the Sacramento River before it can flow naturally into the Delta. At peak flow, the tunnels could ship enough water to the San Joaquin Valley and Los Angeles to fill the Rose Bowl to the brim every 20 minutes.
Critics question whether that would help restore the Delta as a fishery.
The Central Valley Project Improvement Act, passed by Congress in 1992, set a goal of rebuilding salmon runs to almost a million adult fish by 2002, the NRDC notes in its report.