We support scientific research to improve water resources management and policy with the ultimate objective of improving the lives of Californians and protecting California’s natural resources. Investigators who receive funding from the Center for California Water Resources Policy and Management carry out studies using data on the imperiled native fishes and environmental factors in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta to evaluate management-relevant hypotheses, quantitatively relating the performance of species listed under state and federal endangered species acts to their dynamic, degraded habitats. The Center also funds research aimed at providing guidance to the fish and wildlife and water-resource agencies regarding standards of conservation practice.
Conservation science has offered one widely appreciated truism above all others. Habitat loss and fragmentation is the primary cause of imperilment and extinction for very many species. This is certainly the case for the delta smelt, which has seen its habitat diminished and transformed by human activities dating back to California’s gold rush era. Congress recognized the importance of habitat when it enacted the federal Endangered Species Act nearly five decades ago, declaring as its purpose — “to provide a means whereby the ecosystems upon which endangered species and threatened species depend may be conserved” — in other words, to protect and restore the habitats that support imperiled species. The