Monday December 12, 2016

Manteca Bulletin –

Spawning adult salmon on the Stanislaus River — the linchpin of what irrigation districts within the Northern San Joaquin Valley describe as a massive water grab proposal by the state — have increased by a factor of five since 2007 when work started on the 3,500-page State Water Control Board plan.

Research data shows spawning numbers in 2015 were the 12th highest since 1950. How that is tied into hatchery practices, predators, and water temperatures and how they collaborate with surviving juvenile fish forms the foundation of the South San Joaquin Irrigation District’s — and that of its Stanislaus River partner the Oakdale Irrigation District — scientific argument against the state plan.

The state plan calls for commandeering 360,000-acre feet of water between February and June each year to bump up the unimpaired flows on the Stanislaus, Merced, and Tuolumne rivers to 40 percent. The state contends that will lead to a maximum of 200 more fish on each of the three rivers on an annual basis.

In exchange roughly 240,000 acres of farmland will be permanently fallowed under drought conditions that exist today, 2,000 to 3,000 jobs tied directly to agriculture would vanish, and annual losses to the economies of San Joaquin, Stanislaus and Merced counties will hit $260 million.

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