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.
Even that fraction of the public that is the least interested in California’s environmental health likely has heard of the delta smelt — the imperiled fish of the upper San Francisco Estuary. The diminutive fish that’s launched way more than its share of controversy. The fish that appears to be inching closer to extinction by the month. To be sure, the delta smelt’s numbers are in decline. And the apparent causes are many. The most abundant fishes in the Delta are non-native species that both compete with and prey upon the delta smelt. Contaminants known and unknown poison its waters. Summer-time water temperatures, increasing in real time with climate change,