Drought and Recession | Ecosystem Health | Jobs from the Delta | Water Allocations
The threatened Delta Smelt is an "indicator" species. Its decline demonstrates problems throughout the Delta ecosystem, the health of which is vital to protecting this water resource for tens of millions of Californians. Hundreds of other species also rely on the Delta. As Rod Mcinnis, southwest regional director for NOAA's Fisheries Service, recently stated, "What is at stake here is not just the survival of species but the health of entire ecosystems and the economies that depend on them."
In addition to the smelt, threatened and endangered species affected by the Delta's decline include two types of Chinook salmon, green sturgeon, Central Valley steelhead and even a population of killer whales that rely on salmon as their primary food in the ocean. The closure of California's salmon fishing for a second year in a row will result in the loss of $279 million and 2,700 jobs this year alone.