I have to disagree with Allen Short’s ‘For Your Information’ piece on March 3, 2010, “Limit Predation Saves Salmon.”
Striped bass have coexisted with Sacramento River Chinook Salmon for over 100 years. There were 132 stripers introduced into the delta near Martinez in 1879. A decade later they were so abundant they were commercially harvested, and the salmon thrived. I find it strange that he and Assembly Member Jean Fuller feel that stripers have all of a sudden become a problem.
The two main reasons for the decline of the salmon, sturgeon, and striper populations are drought, and freshwater habitat loss. The pumps in the delta play a large role in that loss. As recently as eight years ago the fall salmon run in the Sacramento River was over 800,000. This year the run was 39,500. Before pumping more water to a very arid area, we should require that all farmers meter their water usage, and at least nut and citrus farmers convert their irrigation systems to drip. Drip systems would work on a lot of other crops too. And do we really need to grow cotton in California?
Installing and maintaining those systems and meters would create a lot of jobs and save a lot of water. There’s a lot more to lose than just fish if the delta dies too. Most of the people that live in the delta depend on it for their drinking water, and some of the farms in the delta can’t irrigate now because of the salinity of the water. If Allen and Jean want to eliminate non-native predators, they should take a look at all the farmers down there in that desert.