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Delta Smelt Fail To Rebound, Despite End To California Drought

US Fish and Wildlife Service
Delta smelt (file photo)

The 2016-2017 water year was one of the wettest on record in California. While all that water in the system was enough to officially end the state’s drought, its impact on endangered species is another story, especially when it comes to the Delta smelt. A survey conducted in October 2017 by state and federal agencies found only 2 of the fish, the lowest number on record.

The low number even surprised one of the state’s leading experts on the fish, UC Davis professor emeritus Peter Moyle. He joined us on Valley Edition to talk about the challenges facing efforts to save the species, from water flows in the delta to rising temperatures, and invasive species like a smelt species from Japan that may be breeding with native fish. Amid new developments, like a pending revision of the state’s “twin tunnels” plan and the Trump administration’s desire to increase delta pumping, Moyle says the health of the entire delta ecosystem needs to be a priority. 

Joe Moore is the President and General Manager of Valley Public Radio. During his tenure, he's helped lead the station through major programming changes and the COVID-19 pandemic, while maintaining the station's financial health. From 2010-2018 he served as the station's Director of Program Content. In that role, he also served as the host of Valley Edition, and helped launch and grow the station's award-winning local news department. He is a Fresno native and a graduate of California State University, Fresno.