The governor has taken direct aim at our salmon and we need to let him know he needs to change course

The governor has taken direct aim at our salmon and we need to let him know he needs to change course

by John McManus

In a harsh blow to salmon recovery efforts, Governor Gavin Newsom has bowed to the will of factory farm operators in the Central Valley and invited his water managers to waive state law aimed at protecting salmon and other species, which they have now done.  Since Newsom issued his executive order on February 13 authorizing a drastic cut to required freshwater flows through the Delta, Delta outflow has fall by almost half. Without this water, salmon survival will plummet. We are losing baby salmon in the Delta right now. 

The state’s Dept. of Water Resources (DWR) admits that granting their request will harm salmon in a number of ways including pulling juveniles off their natural outmigration route to their deaths in the interior Delta.  

The governor made his move just as some of the two million fish released at Coleman were expected to be entering the Delta on their way to the Bay and ocean.  They are part of an experiment intended in part to restock the upper Sacramento Basin with salmon after recent disastrous returns to the upper Sacramento Basin and now they’re probably lost.

Newsom’s capitulation to the state’s powerful agricultural industry comes as most of the state’s reservoirs are at or above where they’d normally be this time of year and a record 186% of normal snowpack in the Sierras will soon fill them further.  The executive order states explicitly that rules protecting salmon can now be waived simply because powerful Central Valley interests are demanding more water supply.  State and federal water managers are ramping up diversions to big agricultural water districts across the Central Valley and have told many of them to expect 100% of their annual water allocation.  This isn’t fair or balanced to those who fish or rely on salmon. 

Only 61,200 fall run Chinook salmon returned to the Sacramento River last fall, far below the target of 180,000 fish.  Many are worried we may not have a salmon fishing season this year.    Salmon numbers have dropped dramatically during Governor Newsom’s time in office while water-guzzling almond orchards have grown by 300,000 acres. 

So please take a moment to let the Governor know you disagree with his action and support reinstating salmon protections and a more fair balance.  Your voice is strongest if you call the governor’s office at (916) 445-2841.  

Tell them you’re calling to ask the governor to rescind his executive order waiving salmon protections regarding water flowing through the Delta.  Or, click here and we’ll make it easy for you to add your name to a petition we’ll send to the governor’s office.   Please share this call to action as far and widely as you can.  

Sign The Petition Here

GGSA president John McManus is a long-time salmon fisherman and salmon advocate. He comes from a varied background that includes ten years of commercial salmon fishing in southeast Alaska, 15 years producing news for CNN and more recently, 11 years doing publicity and organizing for the public interest environmental law firm Earthjustice. Work at Earthjustice included organizing and publicity supporting restored salmon fisheries in the Columbia, Klamath and Sacramento rivers. 

A San Francisco native, Muni Pier and Lake Merced were the places where he first learned to tie a fishing line, bait a hook, and cast. He’s a long time member of the Coastside Fishing Club and keeps a boat part of the year in Half Moon Bay. 

From the 1970s on he spent a lot of time in the north coast salmon communities of Bodega Bay, Pt. Arena, Fort Bragg and Eureka. As salmon runs declined in the 1990’s, he got a front row seat to the demise of these communities, something that fuels his advocacy for salmon and salmon communities to this day. 

The Golden Gate Salmon Association is a coalition of salmon advocates that includes commercial and recreational salmon fisherman, businesses, restaurants, a native tribe, environmentalists, elected officials, families and communities that rely on salmon. 

GGSA’s mission is to restore California salmon for their economic, recreational, commercial, environmental, cultural and health values.

Currently, California’s salmon industry is valued at $1.4 billion in economic activity annually in a regular season and about half that much in economic activity and jobs again in Oregon. The industry employs tens of thousands of people from Santa Barbara to northern Oregon. This is a huge economic bloc made up of commercial fishermen, recreational fishermen (fresh and salt water), fish processors, marinas, coastal communities, equipment manufacturers, the hotel and food industry, tribes, and the salmon fishing industry at large.

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