National Research Council Concludes Bay-Delta Protections Are "Scientifically Justified"?
Tomorrow, the National Academy of Sciences' National Research Council will publicly release its interim report on the science behind environmental protections in California's Bay-Delta estuary. Apparently, however, someone leaked a copy of the executive summary of the report to Mike Doyle of McClatchy News, whose posted his story here.
It sounds from Doyle’s article that the National Research Council's report confirms that the agencies used the best available science in developing protections for endangered salmon and other fish in the Delta (Doyle writes that the committee concluded that the protections are “scientifically justified" and have a “sound conceptual basis,” and that “The conclusion undercuts a common farmer criticism”).
Scientific reviews are supposed to be critical, and undoubtedly, there is some criticism of the biological opinions in their report. But if Doyle's story is accurate, it appears that the National Research Council has concluded that the pumping restrictions and other protections for salmon, steelhead, and delta smelt are scientifically justified. If that's indeed the case, it would be good news for the fishing communities, tribes, and businesses who depend on the health of the delta and our state's salmon fishery.
We still haven't seen the report itself, which is supposed to be made public tomorrow. But now I really can't wait to read it...