Last week’s story about Delta fish species’ return to near-record-low levels in 2012 muddied the water (so to speak) on one point.
I reported that pumping from the Delta was curtailed about 12 percent last year due to rules to protect “smelt and salmon.” That’s an over-simplification. The reduction was, in fact, related to rules specifically to aid salmon.
A separate set of rules to protect smelt was not triggered until December.
To some degree this distinction is splitting hairs, because the rules to help salmon supposedly also benefit smelt.
Nevertheless, we’ll make that distinction here.
Bottom line: Last year’s pumping curtailments were not intended specifically to help smelt.
And based on the new numbers, water exporters would argue, most certainly did not.