Report: Delta Water Grab Could Devastate Bass Fishery

Really good story from the San Francisco Chronicle’s Curtis Alexander today about how water diversion plans could affect the Delta’s productive bass fishery. Here’s a sneak peek:

State water officials have a fix in mind. They want to build a $500 million marsh to reduce saltwater intrusion in the delta, essentially creating a blanket of wetlands that would deflect salty flows even as San Francisco Bay rises 2 feet, what’s widely expected sometime after mid-century.

This is where the bass fishermen come in. The site of the proposed marsh is Franks Tract, where prime boating and fishing ground would be lost. Many anglers say it’s a step too far.

The project, like Gov. Gavin Newsom’s even larger vision of a tunnel to carry Sacramento River water to the south, has renewed questions about what must give, and who must sacrifice, when it comes to protecting this coveted estuary and providing fresh water to 30 million Californians.

“They call this area the heart of the delta and they’re going to fill it in,” griped Chuck Russo, 63, owner of Russo’s Marina, as he gazed across Franks Tract from his boat launch, where the bass tournament began. “They’re going to destroy a beautiful piece of nature and they’re going to destroy a community.”