It starts with a broken levee at Prospect Island in the northern section of the California Delta between Miner Slough and the Sacramento Deepwater Channel. After the levee break in 2006, CalFed said to leave the levee like it was but later on five boats capsized when entering the levee break. Two of them required Coast Guard assistance. Then it was decide there was a lot of trees and vegetation creating hazards for boats. The National Marine Fisheries Service and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service were consulted as to what to do. It was decided to drain and repair the levee so a contractor was hired and the pumping began. Now the ugly.
A local farmer went out scoping out the ducks and found the fish stranded and dying. We are no talking a few catfish here either. The death toll includes large salmon, sturgeon, bluegill, steelhead, stripped bass and carp. Delta smelt may be stranded also. The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation said the agency after being alerted by anglers have ordered the pumping suspended. and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will reevaluate this situation to see if they can salvage the fish.
Uglier yet, representatives of the agencies said that probably no decision about this would be made until Monday because of the absence of many personnel over the Thanksiving Holiday weekend.
This is big – really it is. We let a lot of fish go trying to respect nature and allow them go forth and survive into the future. These fish are a beautiful and important part of the deltas ecological system. Last I heard the fisher-persons, bass clubs, and other volunteers were working with buckets trying to save the fish.
I urge people concerned about the stranding of thousands of fish on Prospect Island call the following numbers and urge the federal and state governments to do something about saving the fish:
Bureau of Reclamation, Public Affairs Office, 916-978-5100
Richard B. Rogers, California Fish and Game Commission, 916-653-4899
Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, 916-445-2841