California Trout’s work throughout the state is demonstrating that endangered fish populations are not an inevitable consequence of development. Instead, fish species declines are a direct result of a water system built before people knew much about river ecosystems or cared much about fish.
As Central California director, Jacob Katz, makes clear in this recent news article, solutions to California’s current drought crisis, our upcoming flood crisis (El Niño is on the way), and the state’s relentless extinction crisis (over three-quarters of California fish are headed toward extinction) all depend on our ability to work together to integrate a 21st century scientific understanding of river systems into the way we manage California’s water.
Katz says it would be more appropriate to blame any environmental consequences on the way river systems were overhauled in the 20th century. The major rivers were rerouted into narrow channels and bracketed with levees that separate the moving water from natural floodplains. This has accelerated storm runoff during rain events, and it shortens the duration of time in which water remains in a watershed. The result, Katz says, is a landscape that floods more easily during storms and dries out more rapidly afterward.”
Click to read the full article “Big Winter Rains? There’s a Hidden Risk to Wildlife” by Alastair Bland on waterdeeply.org