The horrific counts of pelagic and anadromous fish “consumed” by the predator water export pumping facilities continue unabated. As of 11 June 2011, 8,830,515 splittail, 246,833 striped bass, 33,822 large mouth bass, 35,435 salmon, 60,822 bluegill, 50, 634 white catfish, 17,514 channel catfish, 44,011 threadfin shad, 65,763 American shad and 1,614 steelhead had been documented by the Department of Fish and Game as “salvaged” by the State Water Project and Central Valley Project export facilities this year. And these “salvage” numbers represent only the tip of the iceberg.
According to A Review of Delta Fish Population Losses from Pumping Operations in the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta, prepared by Larry Walker Associates in January 2010 for the Sacramento Regional County Sanitation District, overall loss of fish in and around project facilities is believed to dwarf the actual salvage counts.
The Walker report cites DFG and DWR studies as showing that 75% of fish entering Clifton Court Forebay are lost to predation in project facilities before they reach the salvage facilities. An additional 20-30% are lost at the salvage facility louvers. Of the remaining fish actually salvaged, 1-12% are lost during handling and trucking operation and another 10-30% are lost to post-release predation because there are only 4 release sites. The numbers are far worse for delta smelt, as 94-99% are lost to predation in project facilities and virtually no salvaged delta smelt survive trucking and handling.
Fish losses at export facilities represent a staggering embezzlement of public trust resources belonging to all Californians.
DFG’s 2010 Fall Midwater Trawl survey revealed that fisheries were at or near historic lows. The 2010 survey documented that splittail were 0% of their 1998 population, striped bass were 0.2% of 1967 numbers, threadfin shad were 0.8% of 1997 numbers, American shad were 7.3% of 2003 numbers, longfin smelt were 0.2% of 1967 numbers and Delta smelt were 1.7% of 1970 numbers. FinalPOD2010Workplan12610