SOURCE: California Natural Resources Agency

California Natural Resources Agency

March 19, 2010 13:30 ET

Statement of California Secretary for Natural Resources Lester Snow

On the National Research Council's "A Scientific Assessment of Alternatives for Reducing Water Management Effects on Threatened and Endangered Fishes in California's Bay Delta"

SACRAMENTO, CA--(Marketwire - March 19, 2010) -  Secretary for California Natural Resources Lester Snow today issued the following statement on the National Research Council's report, "A Scientific Assessment of Alternatives for Reducing Water Management Effects on Threatened and Endangered Fishes in California's Bay Delta."

"We appreciate the work of the National Research Council in its report released today. The Council has reaffirmed how complex and long standing the issues are that involve the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta. We agree that there is no easy solution -- no single fix -- that can balance the complex and competing needs of restoring the Delta's ecosystem and its ability to function as California's water supply hub.

"That said, while the report generally found that the conceptual basis for the regulatory actions of the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service and National Marine Fisheries Service are scientifically justified, it also noted that the scientific support for specific flow targets were less certain. We believe this points to the need for further work and flexibility in the implementation of the regulations and potential modification of the federal Biological Opinions.

"Two areas specifically identified in the report as needing more work than others were the fall X2 action and the San Joaquin River Inflow/Export ratio. We look forward to working with the federal fish agencies to help implement these actions in the most flexible way possible to provide appropriate protection for listed fish species while managing California's limited water resources.

"We will continue to work with the federal agencies as they interpret this analysis and with the NRC on its longer study which is due in 2011.

"The state views this report as evidence of the need for a long-term, comprehensive solution for the Delta. The report says that the effects of other stressors including contaminants, nutrient loads, changes in food supply, ocean conditions and climate change are 'potentially large.' It calls for a 'holistic approach' to managing the Delta if specific declines in fishery levels are to be reversed and this is exactly the approach contemplated in the historic water legislation approved last fall and more specifically what has been long under way with our development of California's Bay Delta Conservation Plan.

"Once again, made clear by this report, our continued partnership to complete the BDCP and implement the Governor's comprehensive Delta water solution is just as important now as it has always been to California's future."