While everyone agrees the Delta is no longer an optimal environment for its native species, parties continue to disagree on its root cause. The estuary is impacted by a variety of stressors that have made the estuary unreliable for both fish and water supply.
Read below for further details on each stressor.
- The Coalition filed a lawsuit against the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (DFW) for violating the ESA through its enforcement of State sport fishing regulations. The lawsuit was successfully settled requiring DFW to collaborate with the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) to develop a joint regulatory proposal addressing the impacts of sport-fishing regulations on listed species. However, the California Fish and Game Commission decline to accept the recommendation at that time.
- Since then, the Coalition has successfully worked with the Commission to update their outdated striped bass policies and institute new Delta Fisheries Management Policies that appropriately prioritize the management of native endangered fish in the Delta.
Other StatesWashington and Oregon are both home to endangered Columbia River Salmon populations whose conditions have been exacerbated by drought conditions and non-native predator species.
- In 2019 the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) removed size and bag limits on non-native bass and walleye in the state.
- The decision came in response to legislation aimed at increasing chinook survival in hopes of helping struggling orca populations in the Puget Sound.
- In 2015 the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife removed bag limits for warmwater fish (including bass and walleye) in the Columbia, John Day and Umpqua rivers.
- Every day, up to one billion gallons of partially treated sewage is flushed into the Sacramento San Joaquin Delta.
- There are at least 52 wastewater discharge sites in the Delta and an additional 25 stormwater discharge sites, each contributing to the pollution of the estuary.
- A 2008 investigation by the Associated Press revealed the presence of pharmaceuticals in the drinking water of major metropolitan areas. Scientific evidence suggests even small amounts of such substances – including estrogen, antibiotics and heart medications – may adversely affect habitat and fish species. A 2014 study detected concentrations of pharmaceuticals, including carbamazepine, fluoxetine, and trimethoprim, near main Delta wastewater facilities in concentrations that could be chronic to aquatic organisms within the Delta.
- As a result of Coalition efforts, Sacramento Regional Sanitation District is in the process of updating their wastewater treatment facilities.