Report Says Delta Is Like A Fish Out of Water

Delta needs twice the fresh water that now flows through it

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It’s official, the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta, which feeds into the West Coast’s most important estuary, the San Francisco Bay, needs twice as much water as it’s getting if the wetlands and wildlife are to survive.

The state’s Water Resources Control Board staff recently issued a report confirming that water diversions are killing the Delta. They found that to restore balance, twice as much water needs to flow through the Delta and out to sea as currently happens in an average year.

The place was in great shape until politicians serving development and big agriculture interests decided to divert much of the Delta’s water with giant pumps that send it to desert parts of the state. Now the delta is in a state of free fall ecological collapse.

This free fall has taken down the West Coast’s second biggest salmon production area and all the businesses scattered throughout California and Oregon that rely on salmon.

Earthjustice has been in court trying to save the Delta and the fisheries, but we’re up against very powerful forces that want not only to protect the status quo, but to take even more of the Delta’s water.

The recent state report supports the findings of two recent court-ordered federal plans won by Earthjustice attorneys calling for increased flows to prevent the extinction of protected fish species. Indeed, some of the state recommendations exceed those required in the federal plans.

John was Earthjustice’s Media Director and chief press wrangler from 2001 until 2013. He came to Earthjustice in 2001 to defend freshwaters and public land—and salmon.