Zero Delta Smelt Found in Latest Search. New Habitat Hopes To Change That

GV Wire

An annual search for a tiny endangered and contentious fish in the sprawling California Delta has once again come up empty.

The state’s annual Fall Midwater Trawl Survey found no delta smelt in September’s sampling of the critical waterway. The last time the rare fish turned up in a survey was in October 2017 when just two were found.

Hoping to reverse the recent trend, the Westlands Water District and the California Department of Water Resources announced the completion of a Delta habitat restoration project on Wednesday.

Pasture Land Restored to Habitat

The project restored and enhanced approximately 2,100 acres of former cattle pastureland in the Lower Yolo Bypass southwest of Sacramento into tidal marsh, riparian, and upland buffer habitat designed to provide food and shelter for native fish, including smelt and salmon.

But, this doesn’t necessarily mean more water will be pumped through the Central Valley Water Project any time soon for agriculture and residential use.

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