California’s Delta Ecosystem Is Healthier, For Now

Photo retrieved from: www.nytimes.com

“High flows of water from the melting of deep snow in the Sierra provided enough for both the tiny fish known as the delta smelt, long considered on the brink of extinction, and for the farming communities that have chafed under legal rulings requiring them to give up water to keep the smelt and its ecosystem going.

Mike Taugher reported in The Contra Costa Times that an index reflecting the smelt’s abundance had seen a 10-fold increase, from a score of 29 in 2010 to 343 in 2011. The index was at its highest level in a decade, though still less than a quarter of the levelsrecorded in 1970 and 1980.

The high water levels were not necessarily the main or the only cause of the rebound — a representative of the Natural Resources Defense Council said that changes they had pushed for in the management of the estuary could also be responsible. But there was no question that the populations of fish besides the smelt — particularly the striped bass population — also did well, although shad did not.”

Read more: New York Times

 

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