Biologists’ Calculations Give Cali Salmon Some Hope In Water Fight

Thomas Dunklin/NOAA

Farmers want Central California’s water. Conservationists think the state’s iconic Chinook salmon would be doomed without most of that water. President Donald Trump is siding with the farmers and not the fish.

Now, a study completed by federal biologists has given those who want to protect kings some hope. Here’s the Los Angeles Times with more:

According to information provided to The Times by Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility, federal sources familiar with the work said the fisheries service met the deadline. On July 1, it completed a biological opinion that was signed by multiple staffers and cleared by service attorneys.

The opinion concluded that the proposed delta pumping would jeopardize the continued existence of endangered winter-run Chinook salmon, threatened spring-run Chinook and threatened Central Valley steelhead, as well as endangered Southern Resident killer whales that dine on salmon.

Not only would a so-called jeopardy opinion make it difficult to shed pumping limits imposed under Obama-era opinions, it might impose new ones.

Paul Souza, the regional fish and wildlife director who is coordinating work on the salmon opinion and a separate one for delta smelt, said “it’s premature for us to talk about conclusions.”