The TRUMP ADMINISTRATION ADDRESSES CALIFORNIA’S WATER CONSERVATION CONUNDRUM in a “biological opinion” report released Tuesday, October 22nd.
The report outlines changes to previous assessments and decisions. Overall, the plan gives water agencies more flexibility on how much water they can pump out of rivers.
“An analysis completed by NOAA Fisheries biologists in July found the administration’s proposed plan jeopardized the future of endangered fish. Under federal law, they are then required to impose limits restricting how much water can be pumped to farms from the state’s rivers.
Instead, the administration removed those biologists from the project and brought in other staff to rewrite their decision.
“We’ve been able to create a much smarter approach that focuses on real-time management,” says Paul Souza, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Pacific Southwest regional director. “Our commitment is that we will be as, or more, protective than we have been in the last 10 years.“”
Here’s what’s at stake:
1) Seasonally, the farming industry obviously relies on water. Reduced water availability directly impacts produce yield. Annually, and possibly “naturally,” there seems to be less rain and less snow melt to keep California’s streams flowing. The industry is at risk of shrinking in California; jobs could be lost. The law(s) of supply and demand dictate that retail prices could be affected.
2) California’s fish and wildlife obviously depend on the water to survive. Both threatened and endangered species of fish reside in affected streams. For instance, salmon will only spawn in their natal streams. Several have already dried up. Others are at high risk. The Smithsonian reported vast disappearance of California salmon in 2008. NPR reported in 2017 “Many Of California’s Salmon Populations Unlikely To Survive The Century.”