Okay, so regarding the whole Prospect Island fish kill mess, the good news is this:
Thanks to the efforts of everybody who came out Dec. 1-3, over 1,800 striped bass and another several thousand other fish of various kinds are back swimming in the Delta right now, saved from certain death. The fish were rescued from Prospect, where they’d been stranded by the Bureau of Reclamation when it fixed a broken levee and pumped the water off the island.
But the bad news is this: we still have tens of thousands of dead fish like this 18 pounder that I found hanging from a tree…kind of says it all, doesn’t it? The headline could be: California Fisheries…Hung Out to Dry by our Government.
Who’s to blame? Well, the Bureau, of course, though I believe that they did all the proper permitting and jumped through all the hoops. Still no excuse for this, however!
But we also have to get some answers from NOAA Fisheries, the US Fish & Wildlife Service and the Department of Fish and Game. I kinda expect this kinda stuff from the Feds, but the DFG is supposed to be the guardian of our fish and wildlife resources.
Is it just me that DFG is sending mixed messages with this whole thing…by signing off on this pumping project, they were, in effect saying “We don’t care about stripers.” So, what’s the deal with having any angling regulations at all governing stripers for sport anglers then? How is it that a sport guy can get a ticket for keeping a 17-inch striper yet it’s okay for the Bureau to murder thousands of fish? A bit of a double standard,don’t you think?
I get the whole thing about stripers being a non-native apex predator but just letting and estimated 40,000 of them die in the muck doesn’t make sense considering the fact that we paid millions over the years to the DFG’s Striper Stamp program to keep them around. Now, of course, if you want to fish for stripers in the Delta and rivers, you need to purchase a Bay-Delta Fisheries Enhancement Stamp from (yep you guessed it) the DFG.
The DFG says it’s got a criminal investigation going into the matter and said that they advised the Bureau on how to do the project but BOR didn’t listen.
My guess is some intragency squabbling takes place and, eventually, the whole thing gets dropped…
Perhaps the silver lining to this whole thing is that the public caught on to what was happening and blew the whistle.
Since our government agencies aren’t big fans of bad PR splashed all over the TV and papers, maybe, just maybe, this won’t happen next time a levee breaks…Maybe in the future we won’t have to see more dead, rotting stripers like this dandy