CSPA has prepared a short fact sheet on fish losses at the State and Federal Project water export facilities in the South Delta. Proponents of the Bay Delta Conservation Plan (BDCP) and its peripheral tunnels suggest that only by diverting water from the Sacramento River can the Delta be restored because of immense fishery losses at the South Delta export pumps.
While it’s true that that the present diversion facilities have a devastating impact of fisheries, BDCP is not the solution. Slightly more than 51% of Delta exports will continue to come from the existing facilities, more in drier years. The fish screens at the proposed North Delta are problematical because they’re experimental, have never been employed anywhere else and will require a variance from present DFG and NOAA fish screening criteria. Indeed, some 22 studies are required to determine if the proposed screen design concept will work; half of them post-construction.
Regardless of whether the peripheral tunnels are ever constructed, the State and Federal Projects will continue to significantly rely on South Delta diversion facilities for water exports. Consequently, massive fish losses at the South Delta diversions will continue to occur.
New state-of-the-art fish screens in the South Delta are necessary. Construction of North Delta diversions should not be initiated until BDCP makes a commitment to construct new fish screens in the South Delta and it can be established that the proposed experimental fish screens are feasible, protective and can meet screening criteria.