Tag Archives: Delta smelt

These California and Oregon farmers lost water in 2001. Now they want to be paid.

Northern California and Oregon farmers who lost irrigation water in 2001 for the sake of fish are plunging into a climactic courtroom battle for tens of millions of dollars in compensation. Years in the making, the trial set to start Monday in the U.S. Court of Federal Claims near the White House involves a lot of money, but that’s not all. For other Westerners, too, it can have broader implications, clarifying what the government may owe for water steered away from crops toward environmental protection. “It’s a civil rights case, at bottom,” farmers’ attorney Nancie Marzulla said in an interview. “It involves the protection of private property. We all expect the government to respect private property rights.” The same court ruled in 2001, for instance, that the federal government had taken water without paying compensation to California’s Tulare Lake Basin Water Storage District and others that had been deprived of water for the sake of the delta smelt and the winter-run chinook salmon. The judge later concluded the water districts were owed $13.9 million plus interest, and the case is still cited. Read the rest of the story here 15:10

Our biggest water hog is Delta Smelt

Slam man all you want but he is part of the environment.  Man has both altered and enhanced the environment. The bottom line is simple: In a natural drought with no water storage, the Delta Smelt population would typically be near extinction levels. With stored water, their numbers are still thin but are more robust. Read [email protected]  08:10

Bay Delta Conservation Plan: Will it help, or hurt? Fate still unclear for nine species in Delta water tunnel plan

Those nine species include some of the same imperiled fish that are symbolic of the Delta’s environmental troubles and which originally prompted the plan: Delta smelt, longfin smelt, three runs of chinook salmon, green and white sturgeon, and steelhead. The last is the greater sandhill crane, a majestic bird that roosts on land where tunnel construction is proposed. The project is overseen by the California Department of Water Resources. But the “not determined” findings come from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and National Marine Fisheries Service. They are cooperating with DWR in preparing the document and are guided by federal law, the National Environmental Policy Act. [email protected]  05:30