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Zero Smelt

Mar 31, 2019

There have been just two delta smelt found after seven months of trawling surveys in the delta. Guess what? The canary in the coal mine died and the delta ecosystem is not crashing. But I'm not surprised "verge of collapse" continues to be used. This fearful phrase has a history of success. In 1992 the State Water Resources Control Board used it to take an annual 1.2 million acre-feet of water through the Central Valley Project Improvement Act. The delta was on the "verge of collapse" again in 1993 when 250,000 to 800,000 acre-feet was taken for salmon. In 1995 The CalFed Bay Delta Program took another 1.1 million acre-feet to, you guessed it, "save the delta from total collapse". Now we have the recently approved Bay Delta Water Quality Control (“State Water Grab"), and again the familiar urgent phrase. One water grab after another for the past 27 years has been legitimized on the basis of imminent emergency and given the green light to "save the delta from the verge of collapse". If something was on the verge of dying in 1992, and 27 years later it's still alive, was it ever really on the verge of collapse? And if it was, and is, and will be, how much water does it take to realize more water isn't the answer?



Kristi Diener

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