Fresno Bee Newsroom Blog

Delta Plan is a set of rules for long-term restoration

Readers emailed to clarify a point in my Delta Water Summit story, which referred to seven lawsuits over the Delta Plan that was approved by the Delta Stewardship Council on May 16.

The Delta Plan is not a draft of the Bay Delta Conservation Plan. The Delta Plan, required in 2009 by the state Legislature, contains rules for the longer-term approach or framework for managing the sensitive Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta.

Like the BDCP, it aims to restore the delta and make more reliable water deliveries to farms and cities. Both have been working toward proposed solutions for years in response to continuing ecological delta damage and unreliable water deliveries.

Seven lawsuits were filed against the Delta Plan from many sides on the delta’s issues. The plaintiffs include environmental groups, commercial fishermen, water diverters and local governments.

The BDCP draft should be available for public comment in October, state leaders say.

Smelt numbers change slightly

After I wrote the Sunday story about the water pumps at the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta, federal leaders tweaked their analysis of the delta smelt problem this winter.

The picture is still not good for this protected species, but it’s not quite as bad as it looked in early February. It might help keep the pumps running to provide water for farm and city customers later this year.

The federal analysis released last week says smelt deaths at the pumps  are actually only 64% of the total allowed for the year, not 76% as had been reported.

Two numbers had been adjusted since I first reported on the smelt. The number of fish allowed to die at the pumps was increased from 305 to 362. And the number of fish reported to have died at the pumps is now 230, not 232.