Here’s more from longtime outdoors writer Dan Bacher in the Elk Grove Daily News:
The announcement follows a petition and three lawsuits filed by the Center for Biological Diversity and San Francisco Baykeeper on behalf of the fish. The groups said the agency delayed identification and protection of critical habitat, which will require future action by the groups.
The Service said it has completed a “thorough review of the Bay-Delta population of longfin smelt, its habitat and current threats to determine whether ESA protections are warranted.”
Habitat loss due to the long-term reduction and alteration of freshwater flows into the San Francisco Bay estuary — driven by water diversions from Central Valley rivers and water exports south of the Delta by the State Water Project and Central Valley Project — is cited as the primary threat. Longfin smelt require specific water temperatures and adequate freshwater flows to survive, the Service said.