Monster Seminar JAM - The future of California's freshwater and anadromous fishes
Dr. Peter B. Moyle, Center for Integrated Watershed Science and Management, University of California, Davis
The past 10 years, which have co-incided with the creation of CALFED and the Bay-Delta Authority, have been a rather benign climatic period. CALFED-sponsored restoration projects and strategies consequently have often had positive results and various declining native fish species have been delisted, proposed for delisting, or had petitions for listing denied. The long-term future of Californias inland fish fauna is nevertheless cloudy given the certainty of long-term drought, climate change, sea-level rise, collapse of levee systems (especially in the Delta), new invasive species, and increasing human populations. With such drastic environmental change, most native species, including anadromous species, are likely to decline, while alien species will expand. If we do not plan for the major changes in Californias aquatic ecosystems that are likely within the next 25-50 years, we will need expensive and temporary emergency measures to fix the water supply system following each successive disaster. Measures that are likely to be considered in the future to assure Californias water supply include re-operation of all water projects as a unified system, building more and larger reservoirs, construction of the peripheral canal, large scale restoration of active floodplains, and taking marginal farmland out of production. Even maintenance of native fishes at their present status will require such things as expanded use of the Public Trust Doctrine, assurances of water for native fish in regulated rivers, restoration of the San Joaquin River and other streams, operation of floodplains for ecological values, and strong measures to prevent the establishment and spread of invasive species. Environmental and fisheries interests should be taking leadership roles in implementing such large-scale measures, recognizing that major forms of environmental protection can be acquired in exchange for water supply security. If large-scale changes in the water distribution system of California are made on an emergency basis, it is likely that native fish populations will suffer and many may go extinct.
Date and Time:
November 18, 2004,
11:00 am - 12:30 pm