SF Bay-Delta Smelt warrants ESA protection
03/30/12 -- The U.S. Fish and Service (USFWS) has found that the San Francisco Bay-Delta Distinct Population Segment (DPS) of longfin smelt warrants protection under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). However, the Service is precluded at this time from proposing to add the species to the Federal List of Threatened and Endangered Species by the need to address other higher priority listing actions.
The finding, which was made after a comprehensive review of the best available scientific information concerning the species and the threats it faces, means the longfin smelt DPS will be added to the list of candidates for ESA protection, where its status will be reviewed annually.
Candidate species do not receive statutory protection under the ESA, meaning finding does not impose any new requirements or restrictions. The longfin smelt species remains listed as a threatened species by the state of California, which means that under State law the species cannot be taken without a permit from the State.
“Large distances between populations, the small size of this fish and potential obstacles to movement posed by ocean circulation patterns in coastal waters make the Bay-Delta population of longfin smelt markedly separate and discrete from other longfin smelt,” said Mike Chotkowski, field supervisor of the Bay-Delta Fish and Wildlife Office in Sacramento. “Our finding indicates that ESA protection is warranted for the Bay-Delta DPS only, not for other longfin smelt populations.”
The annual review and identification of candidate species provides the Service and other federal agencies, states, tribes, and other partners with notice of species in need of conservation, allowing them to address threats and take actions that may preclude the need for protection under the ESA. Any future proposal to add longfin smelt to the federal list of threatened and endangered species would be subject to public review and comment.
The Bay-Delta DPS is one of at least 20 populations of longfin smelt which are found in estuaries, rivers and lakes from Alaska to California. The Bay-Delta DPS is found in the San Francisco Bay-Delta which includes Suisun Marsh and San Pablo Bay. The longfin smelt is a pelagic (lives in open water) estuarine fish that typically reaches four inches in length, although third-year females may grow to almost 6 inches. The longfin smelt can be distinguished from other smelts mainly by its long pectoral fin.
Today’s finding is the result of a 2011 settlement agreement with the Center for Biological Diversity and The Bay Institute, which had challenged the Service’s 2009 finding that the San Francisco Bay-Delta population of the longfin smelt did not meet the criteria to be listed as a DPS under the ESA. Under the terms of the settlement, the Service agreed to conduct a range-wide 12-month finding to be submitted for publication in the Federal Register by March 23, 2012, and to reconsider the San Francisco Bay-Delta population for protection as a DPS.
The latest review of the Bay-Delta DPS found information indicating that the ability of the longfin smelt to move from the Bay-Delta population to another, or vice-versa, is much more limited than previously thought possible – if indeed the movement occurs at all. The review also identified several threats facing longfin smelt in the Bay-Delta, including reduced freshwater outflow, and a food web altered by the invasive overbite clam and ammonium contamination.
Longfin smelt were historically one of the most abundant pelagic fishes in the San Francisco Bay-Delta. However, their numbers have declined significantly in recent years. Abundance indices derived from survey data all show marked declines in Bay-Delta longfin smelt populations. Surveys indicate that longfin smelt abundance over the last decade (2000-2010) is the lowest ever recorded in the surveys’ 40-year history.
Monitoring survey data show there is a direct correlation between the abundance of longfin smelt and the timing and amount of seasonal freshwater flows in the upper estuary. When freshwater flow is decreased, longfin smelt reproduction in the upper estuary is impaired. The non-native overbite clam thrives in the brackish waters of the estuary. The overbite clam consumes large amounts of plankton, a major food source for many fish species – including the longfin smelt – and other aquatic organisms, by sucking in and filtering plankton from the water. The introduction of the overbite clam in 1986 coincides with the decline of the longfin smelt population. The Service found that entrainment, the incidental trapping of fish in water used for irrigation or similar purposes, is not a significant threat at this time to longfin smelt.
America’s fish, wildlife and plant resources belong to all of us, and ensuring the health of imperiled species is a shared responsibility. We are working to actively engage conservation partners and the public in the search for improved and innovative ways to conserve and recover imperiled species. Learn more about the Endangered Species Program at: fws.gov/endangered/.
The mission of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is working with others to conserve, protect, and enhance fish, wildlife, plants, and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. We are both a leader and trusted partner in fish and wildlife conservation, known for our scientific excellence, stewardship of lands and natural resources, dedicated professionals, and commitment to public service. For more information on our work and the people who make it happen.
Fishing ReportsSea Otter Shootings in Santa Cruz County
Going Weedless For Bass
08/29/16 -- Boy, summer is flying by. I’ve managed a couple of trips into the Thousand Lakes Wilderness on the Lassen National Forest, but otherwise it’s been mostly work and just a little play. People keep asking me if...Full Story
Final Leg of Ocean Salmon Season
08/27/16 -- Start counting backwards! Anglers only have one more week to wait until they get to fish the final leg of the general ocean salmon season which takes place in the Oregon Klamath Management Zone (KMZ) from September...Full Story
Collins Lake cats are catch of the day!
08/26/16 -- Catfish were #1 this past week and it didn't matter what the bait was, they seem to like it all, tarting with Amelia Burton who fished off the dock with her Daddy, they caught two nice Cats (biggest was 4 lbs.) and they...Full Story
Lower Klamath quota reached quickly
08/25/16 -- Just after the additional water released from Iron Gate Dam hit the mouth of the Klamath River, controversial news broke from the California Department of Fish and Wildlife. On Tuesday, the CDFW determined the...Full Story
Fish the incoming tide for superperch
08/20/16 -- Surf fishing for surfperch isn't just a May thing - it's a summer thing! Actually it's a thing-thing! Surfperch are available all year long for those who know how to fish the tides, and fishing the proper part of the tide means...Full Story
Buoy 10 Book Release
Buoy 10 salmon fishery opens August 1
August 1 brings changes to Sac River By Gary Heffley
07/26/16 -- A couple of major fishing regulation changes for the Sacramento River in Shasta and Tehama Counties will take effect on August 1, opening a couple of popular stretches of water to both trout and salmon anglers...Full Story
Gravel Bar Anglers-Bridge Closure Alert By Gary Heffley
07/26/16 -- Jelly's Ferry Rd. Bridge across the Sacramento River which provides access to the Gravel Bar from the Red Bluff area and points south from the Jelly's Ferry exit off Hwy 5 is closed due to a recent fatal vehicle accident...Full Story
A Hot Summer’s Day on Chico Creek
07/25/16 -- I’ve been exploring Northern California’s streams -- above and below the surface -- for most of my life. One of my most memorable adventures took place on a hot summer’s day in 1964, not long after my sixteenth...Full Story
July 2 is Free Fishing Day in California
Disregard the story’s title. I don’t really have a “first” name. If I did, it would probably be something like Leviathan or Behemoth or maybe Lunker. Officially, I’m a trout. A brown trout. A giant, brown trout. Possibly the biggest, fattest...Full Story
11/14/15 -- Adjacent to both Lake Almanor and Mountain Meadows, between the towns of Westwood and Greenville, is a seemingly forgotten piece of backcountry; Keddie Ridge – aka Ridge World – where ancient rocks... Full Story
Let’s check out the Upper Sac
09/06/15 -- The Upper Sacramento River – The Upper Sac – begins at Lake Siskiyou’s Box Canyon Dam and continues ~37 miles downstream to Lake Shasta. It is a classic freestone river born from the Mt. Shasta and Mt. Eddy... Full Story
How to make Tuscan Tuna Salad with Fennel By Frank Galusha
05/04/15 -- OK, you went ocean fishing. If your fish is fresh or if you have processed, vacuum packed and frozen your catch properly, there are many ways to enhance your meals. Almost everything taken from the ocean is not... Full Story
Fishing the Klamath below JC Boyle Dam
03/02/15 -- Year round trout action can be found on the Klamath River within the 20 or so miles of free flow within Oregon and California. While fishing below the flumes at the JC Boyle powerhouse, it can be difficult to know just when...Full Story
The Mystery of the Middle Fork, Part IV
11/10/14 -- This trip was to be the final chapter in the saga that began three years ago but is actually over 20 years in the making. As Bruce, Tuck and I journeyed back to the Middle Fork of the Feather River we made...Full Story
Climbing Terms for the Fisherman
German brown trout afternoon in Modoc
09/04/14 -- Catching a German Brown Trout from the creeks in Modoc County is a fine way to spend an afternoon. There are many creeks in this part of California that drain the Warner Mountains. Stream trout fishing in this region opens...Full Story
Throw the kitchen sink at them
08/20/14 -- Our wilderness areas are special, where Mother Nature is landlord and natural forces operate freely. Within the wilderness you will find no roads, shelters, picnic tables, toilets, or other conveniences. You enter at...Full Story
Humboldt Bay: Busy port, excellent fishery
Pulled into the pipes: Green Sturgeon
03/04/14 -- [Posted with permission of FISHBIO] Living in the Sacramento River can be a risky business for juvenile green sturgeon (Acipenser medirostris). The young fish must swim through a gauntlet of water... Full Story
Not Just Any Fish
02/14/13 -- Trout have inhabited California waters from the Sierra Nevada and Warner Mountains to the Pacific Ocean since prehistoric times. However, most of the trout caught by anglers are either hatchery raised fish...Full Story
Fishing with Phideaux
01/26/14 -- Meet Phideaux, a 110-pound neurotic chocolate Lab. His name is pronounced “Fido” but it is spelled “Phideaux” because he is a Cajun dog. Anyway, last summer Phideaux took his human (that’s me) on a trout hunt up into...Full Story