Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility
Zero Delta Smelt Found in Latest Search. New Habitat Hopes To Change That.
TLBBHMAP3-U010ALB5ANM-348f959abae2-512-300x300-1
By Jim Jakobs, Digital Producer
Published 4 years ago on
November 18, 2020

Share

An annual search for a tiny endangered and contentious fish in the sprawling California Delta has once again come up empty.

The state’s annual Fall Midwater Trawl Survey found no delta smelt in September’s sampling of the critical waterway. The last time the rare fish turned up in a survey was in October 2017 when just two were found.

Hoping to reverse the recent trend, the Westlands Water District and the California Department of Water Resources announced the completion of a Delta habitat restoration project on Wednesday.

Pasture Land Restored to Habitat

The project restored and enhanced approximately 2,100 acres of former cattle pastureland in the Lower Yolo Bypass southwest of Sacramento into tidal marsh, riparian, and upland buffer habitat designed to provide food and shelter for native fish, including smelt and salmon.

But, this doesn’t necessarily mean more water will be pumped through the Central Valley Water Project any time soon for agriculture and residential use.

“I would say that the regulations that govern the operations of both the Central Valley Project and the state water project will continue.”Westland Water District Chief Operating Officer Jose Gutierrez

Lower Yolo Restoration Project

The Lower Yolo Restoration Project has four primary objectives.

  • Provide ecosystem functions associated with the combination of Delta freshwater aquatic/tidal marsh/floodplain/seasonal wetland/lowland grassland interfaces that existed historically,
  • Enhance regional food web productivity in support of Delta smelt recovery,
  • Provide rearing habitats for out-migrating salmonids,
  • Support a broad range of other aquatic and wetland-dependent species, including Sacramento splittail and Swainson’s hawk.

“Westlands Water District has long believed that restoration of water supplies for large areas of California requires that we address all of the factors that limit the abundance of native, at-risk fish species in the Delta,” said Tom Birmingham, Westlands’ General Manager in a press release.

Central Valley Water

“I would add that, as you said, the focus of this project is on really restoring habitat for the benefit of the fish and other wildlife species in the delta.”Ted Craddock, DWR deputy director

GV Wire℠ joined a virtual press conference announcing the completion of the project.

When we asked whether this new habitat for delta smelt will now allow the state of California to send more water to the Central Valley, the collective answer seemed to be ‘no.’

“I would say that the regulations that govern the operations of both the Central Valley project and the state water project will continue,” said Westlands Water District Chief Operating Officer Jose Gutierrez.

“I would add that, as you said, the focus of this project is on really restoring habitat for the benefit of the fish and other wildlife species in the delta,” said DWR Deputy Director Ted Craddock.

Lower Yolo Ranch Property

Westlands purchased the Lower Yolo Ranch property in 2007 with the intention of restoring the property for rearing, breeding and providing refuge habitats for native species, including smelt and salmonids.

Although it took approximately 13 years to plan and permit the project, the construction work to restore the property was completed in just about three months. Westlands invested nearly $9 million to construct the project.

In total, the project comprises:

  • 1,682 acres of tidal marsh restoration
  • 364 acres of transitional upland buffer habitat
  • 47 acres of enhanced existing riparian habitat
  • 35 acres of existing tidal marsh enhancement

DON'T MISS

Fresno Man Charged with Throwing Meth into Mendota Prison Yard

DON'T MISS

Porchfest Victims Use Fresno Council Meeting to Demand That DA File Hate Crime Charges

DON'T MISS

CA Home Prices Near $1 Million Average. What do Central Valley Homes Cost?

DON'T MISS

American Airlines Retreats After Blaming a 9-Year-Old for Not Seeing a Hidden Camera in a Lavatory

DON'T MISS

Explorers Find What They Believe Is World War II Ace Richard Bong’s Downed Plane in South Pacific

DON'T MISS

Giants Rally From a Big Deficit Again and Spoil a Solid Start by Paul Skenes in 7-6 Win Over Pirates

DON'T MISS

This Sweet Tradition Is Sure to Bring Out the Crowds at Fresno State’s Farm Market

DON'T MISS

Long-Term Mortgage Rates Ease for Third Straight Week, Dipping to Just Below 7%

DON'T MISS

General Sherman Passes Health Check but World’s Largest Trees Face Growing Climate Threats

DON'T MISS

Sheriff’s Memorial for Fallen Officers: In Valor There Is Hope

UP NEXT

Porchfest Victims Use Fresno Council Meeting to Demand That DA File Hate Crime Charges

UP NEXT

American Airlines Retreats After Blaming a 9-Year-Old for Not Seeing a Hidden Camera in a Lavatory

UP NEXT

General Sherman Passes Health Check but World’s Largest Trees Face Growing Climate Threats

UP NEXT

Sheriff’s Memorial for Fallen Officers: In Valor There Is Hope

UP NEXT

Carr Brothers Donate $250K to Valley Children’s Hospital

UP NEXT

Cal Chamber’s Job Killer List Shrinks, but Does Its Influence?

UP NEXT

Apartment Builder Says Denied Fresno Project Meets Code. He Wants Mayor to Appeal Decision.

UP NEXT

California Advances Legislation Cracking Down on Stolen Goods Resellers and Auto Theft

UP NEXT

Portland Nurse Returns Home After Treating Gaza Burn Victims

UP NEXT

People Are Like Magnets for This Kitty Named Goose

American Airlines Retreats After Blaming a 9-Year-Old for Not Seeing a Hidden Camera in a Lavatory

3 hours ago

Explorers Find What They Believe Is World War II Ace Richard Bong’s Downed Plane in South Pacific

3 hours ago

Giants Rally From a Big Deficit Again and Spoil a Solid Start by Paul Skenes in 7-6 Win Over Pirates

4 hours ago

This Sweet Tradition Is Sure to Bring Out the Crowds at Fresno State’s Farm Market

4 hours ago

Long-Term Mortgage Rates Ease for Third Straight Week, Dipping to Just Below 7%

4 hours ago

General Sherman Passes Health Check but World’s Largest Trees Face Growing Climate Threats

4 hours ago

Sheriff’s Memorial for Fallen Officers: In Valor There Is Hope

5 hours ago

Charlie Colin, Founding Member of Train, Dies at 58 After Slipping in Shower

6 hours ago

Cavaliers Fire Coach J.B. Bickerstaff Despite Making Second Round of Playoffs

6 hours ago

Carr Brothers Donate $250K to Valley Children’s Hospital

6 hours ago

Fresno Man Charged with Throwing Meth into Mendota Prison Yard

A federal grand jury has indicted Garrett Scott Wheelen, 33, of Fresno, on one count of possessing methamphetamine, U.S. Attorney Phillip A....

1 hour ago

1 hour ago

Fresno Man Charged with Throwing Meth into Mendota Prison Yard

1 hour ago

Porchfest Victims Use Fresno Council Meeting to Demand That DA File Hate Crime Charges

2 hours ago

CA Home Prices Near $1 Million Average. What do Central Valley Homes Cost?

3 hours ago

American Airlines Retreats After Blaming a 9-Year-Old for Not Seeing a Hidden Camera in a Lavatory

3 hours ago

Explorers Find What They Believe Is World War II Ace Richard Bong’s Downed Plane in South Pacific

4 hours ago

Giants Rally From a Big Deficit Again and Spoil a Solid Start by Paul Skenes in 7-6 Win Over Pirates

4 hours ago

This Sweet Tradition Is Sure to Bring Out the Crowds at Fresno State’s Farm Market

4 hours ago

Long-Term Mortgage Rates Ease for Third Straight Week, Dipping to Just Below 7%

MENU

CONNECT WITH US

Search

Send this to a friend