Drought and Recession | Ecosystem Health | Jobs from the Delta | Water Allocations
Although much of the focus of the debate has been on farming jobs in the Central Valley, protecting endangered species in the Bay-Delta protects farming jobs in the Delta, fishing jobs across the state, and the economic health of communities throughout California. The collapse of salmon populations and subsequent closure of the state's salmon fishery resulted in economic losses of $270M and nearly 2,700 lost jobs in 2009 alone.
The Central Valley historically has been the second-largest salmon producing river system in the lower 48 states - second only to the Columbia. Its salmon include four runs of chinook, the most valuable of the five runs of Pacific Salmon.
From a recent statement: "We feel the pain of unemployed farm workers. Salmon fishermen have been out of work for two years now because of the total closure of the fishery," said Zeke Grader, Executive Director of the Pacific Coast Federation of Fishermen's Associations (PCFFA), which represents working men and women in the West Coast commercial fishing fleet. "But don't make the fish or their protections a scapegoat for the problems of the San Joaquin Valley."
In the 1990's, many efforts were put in place to help recover salmon, following another time of drought. Salmon populations rebounded, but those gains have been lost as pumping and other stressors have taken their toll recently, as seen in the graphs below (developed by Water 4 Fish ).