Something fishy is going on in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta. Thanks to plentiful run-off from heavy winter snow in the Sierras, the pumps of the State Water Project have been running at levels we haven’t seen in years – yet the Delta smelt refuse to go along with the predictions of the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service and its environmentalist suitors (as in lawsuits by the truckload), whose “science” would have us believe increased pumping would cause smelt corpses to be piling up quicker than debt in DC.
My piece on this fascinating mystery ran today in The Daily Caller. Here’s the set-up:
In Tracy, California, where the massive California Water Project pumps stand ready to move up to 15,450 cubic feet of Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta water southward every single second, it’s been a busy spring.
The pumps have been a mere shadow of their old selves ever since U.S. District Court Judge Oliver Wanger began ratcheting them down in 2007 in response to environmentalist lawsuits brought under the auspices of the Delta smelt. The environmentalists blamed the pumping for the precipitous drop in the smelt population, ignoring any number of other Delta ills that could be decimating the little fish, including ammonia from Sacramento’s sewage plant, farm chemical runoff and hungry non-native bass prized by the very sports fishermen who joined the environmentalists in blaming the pumps.
But the 2010-2011 storm season has been a wet one, with about twice the average rainfall and snowfall. That, and his growing skepticism of the adequacy of the science justifying restrictions on pumping, has loosened Judge Wanger’s grip on Southern California’s spigot, and the pumps have been running at up to 80 percent of their capacity.
For the very interesting kicker, read on here.