April 10, 2014
A decision last week by state and federal agencies to increase the amount of water being pumped from the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta has environmentalists and fisheries advocates outraged. The move came on April 1 after several politicians—including Sen. Dianne Feinstein and six San Joaquin Valley congressmen—urged the federal government to allow more freshwater than is normally allowed to be pumped from the two large pumps near Tracy and into San Joaquin Valley for use by farmers in that parched region.
But critics say the Central Valley’s chinook salmon are seriously threatened by the pumping increase, which has boosted the volume of water being drawn from the Delta from 1,500 cubic feet per second to 6,500.
“[The state’s Department of Water Resources and the federal Bureau of Reclamation] are apparently willing to sacrifice the future of the Sacramento River’s salmon runs for the sake of a few export crops, like lemons and almonds,” said Jim Brobeck, water policy analyst with the Chico-based group AquAlliance.