A bit of good news for California's salmon fishermen

Today, the federal court in Fresno denied a motion to relax pumping restrictions in the Bay-Delta estuary, finding that the restrictions were necessary to protect endangered fish species, and would also benefit salmon and the salmon fishery.  The Court also acknowledged that salmon fishermen have faced economic ruin the past two years, as a result of the salmon fishery being shut down. 

Delta pumping will continue, but the pumps will be turned down a bit to protect migrating salmon, smelt and other species.  Even with salmon pumping restrictions in place last week (before the temporary restraining order), the CVP and SWP were pumping about 14,000 acre feet of water each day – enough to cover about 14,000 football fields with water one foot deep.  While pumping levels are likely to be reduced somewhat from those levels, there will still be a lot of water moving through the pump; though as I wrote earlier this week, perhaps not as much as if Westlands had never asked the Court to stop all pumping restrictions for endangered salmon and other species. 

Today’s ruling is a bit of good news for salmon, salmon fishermen, and the health of the Bay-Delta estuary.  After having sacrificed the past two years, they deserve some good news.  Ultimately, as fishermen know (and as Mike Hudson, a commercial salmon fisherman, blogs about here) Endangered Species Act protections in the Delta protect fishing jobs and communities as well as the environment.