Positive signs this year include good salmon returns to the Mokelumne River largely due to a 10-day closure of Delta diversion gates from 4-14 October; salmon counts in the Feather River, the Sacramento River's largest tributary, already higher than 2010’s; and a rise in the highly endangered Delta smelt population, indicating that better water management may have hindered the Delta-estuary ecosystem's rapid decline.
"In the middle of the economic recession facing the whole nation, we've got many of our salmon industry jobs back this year, and for that we're thankful this year," said GGSA President Victor Gonella.
These are mostly the result of factors including key court rulings in 2008 and 2009 won by Earthjustice and Natural Resources Defense Council attorneys representing GGSA member group Pacific Coast Federation of Fishermen's Associations (PCFFA), and other salmon advocates.
After devastating the Delta and fish species by taking too much water, water managers were forced under court order to cut their diversions. In 2009 and 2010, new and improved federal rules limiting diversions were adopted.
"These science-based, common-sense Delta protections are starting to work," said GGSA director and Pro Troll tackle owner Dick Pool. "It's absolutely vital that we keep these protections in place to allow the rebuilding of our salmon runs and the return of the tens of thousands of jobs our industry supports."