Center for Biological Diversity

Help Save California's Salmon Runs

Chinook salmon
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To the delight of his corporate agribusiness campaign contributors, Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) has introduced legislation aimed at gutting environmental protections in the San Francisco Bay-Delta estuary and blocking planned restoration of the San Joaquin River. Help us stop this attack on environmental protections and the Central Valley's declining salmon runs.

The Nunes bill would override recent Endangered Species Act protections put into place to prevent the extinction of salmon and other native Central Valley and Bay-Delta fish species. It would shield water contractors who export water from other federal and state environmental laws as well, extend federal irrigation contracts, limit legal challenges from conservation groups, and torpedo ongoing efforts to develop an ecosystem-protection and water-supply solution for the Delta. The bill would also prevent implementation of a negotiated settlement between conservationists and water agencies restoring water flows and salmon to the San Joaquin River below Friant Dam.

Amidst record water diversions and exports from the Delta for corporate agribusiness and fabricated claims of a "man-made drought" due to minimal pumping restrictions to prevent fish extinctions, pumps at the federal Central Valley Project in the Delta are currently killing huge numbers of federally protected spring-run chinook salmon as well as Sacramento splittail, a critically imperiled fish species that has been improperly denied Endangered Species Act protections.

Help us protect the beleaguered Bay-Delta ecosystem and urge your U.S. congressional representative to oppose HR 1837.

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Please take action by August 31, 2011.

Chinook salmon photo courtesy Flickr Commons/RJL20.

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Background
The Nunes bill (HR 1837) is a doozy. It would overturn and invalidate the hard-fought San Joaquin Settlement Act, which shows promise of actually restoring water and salmon to the San Joaquin River for the first time in 50 years. It would override federal and state environmental laws with the discredited and abandoned "Bay-Delta Accord" — the very agreement that allowed the recent record levels of Delta water diversions that nearly eliminated all Central Valley salmon runs. It would entirely eliminate, by congressional fiat, Endangered Species Act protections for fish entirely in the state and federal water projects in the Delta. It would suspend currently required salmon flows indefinitely and overturn numerous California water and species-protection laws. It would mandate construction of more ecologically destructive water-storage dams in California. As a final insult, it would require all anadromous hatchery fish in the Sacramento and San Joaquin rivers to be considered legally equivalent to wild fish for all future Endangered Species Act listing purposes.