Predation Work Shop at UC Davis July 22-23

[Bulletin Board]

Posted by Mike McKenzie on 2013-07-10 21:43:58

ADVISORY / 7.9.13

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife, the Delta Stewardship Council’s Science Program, and the National Marine Fishery Service have announced their convening of the “State of the Science Workshop on Fish Predation on Central Valley Salmonids in the Bay-Delta Watershed” to be held in the U.C. Davis Conference Center on July 22-23, 2013.
Here’s a link to details:
A copy of the agenda is available on the web site.

As we hope you recall, the DFW and the “Citizens for a Sustainable Delta” (AKA water contractors) entered into a Settlement Agreement following a summary judgment filed on 07/21/10 by the Fresno Federal Court that their litigation was without legal merit. That litigation claimed the management of the striped bass fishery by the DFW was in violation of federal Endangered Species Act. The Wanger Court noted that CSD had failed to demonstrate that the peer reviewed science on predation in the estuary had a population level impact on listed salmon or Delta smelt. Because the best science available showed that such predation did not reduce the populations of these listed species, the court ruled against CSD.

The DFW then entered into a Settlement Agreement with the CSD (filed on 04/06/11) over the strenuous objections of the Defendant Interveners in the litigation (the California Sportfishing Protection Alliance, the California Striped Bass Assoc., and the Northern California Council Federation of Fly Fishers funded by Striperfest) who had top level meetings with the then DFW Director McCammon and his staff and discovered that the Department’s position on a Settlement Agreement was political reality.
This Settlement Agreement called for the Department to submit a request to the California Fish and Game Commission to significantly modify striped bass sportfishing regulations. These regulations that would have decimated the little that remains of the fishery contrary to state and federal law. The AFG, with incredible support from many of its member organizations as well as finacial support by Striperfest, lead the effort to have the Commission reject the regulation proposal which the Commission did by a unanimous vote..
As an outcome of that defeat, the CSD used the settlement agreement to leverage the DFG into putting this Workshop on with a group of scientists selected by U.C. Davis, who will review the existing predation science with respect to the estuary’s salmonids and make recommendations as to what additional scientific information is necessary to better understand the impacts associated with predation.

In AFG meetings with the DFW we argued that:

1)Regional, state and federal water development projects have had huge population impacts on salmonids while exporting massive amounts of fresh water out of the Delta and its tributaries;

2)The government does not have enough money or the will to properly correct these impacts;

3)It would be far better to use any funding available to correct the problems that do have a significant impact on these fisheries than to spend it on additional predation studies as predation is the lowest level stressor in the estuary.
Several panels of scientists, both at the state and national levels and Federal Court Justice Wanger have said that predation in the estuary is the least important of the impacts to fish in the Bay-Delta estuarine system including listed species.

The AFG representatives (supported by Striperfest) will attend and if given the opportunity, will express our concerns to the Scientific Panel. Given the lack of a level playing field and what we know about the deep pockets of those behind the effort to destroy the fishery, you might want to attend this “Workshop” and represent your own interests.

Mike McKenzie

For the Allied Fishing Groups and Striperfest

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