SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) - A new survey from the California Department of Fish and Game finds Delta smelt are hovering at the
brink of extinction.
The department's fall population survey of fish species in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta concluded in December. It found the
smelt at its lowest point in 42 years of record-keeping and two nonnative fish, the American shad and threadfin shad, also at record lows.
The Delta is a freshwater source for two-thirds of California's population and millions of acres of farmland. Drought, pesticides and herbicides, invasive species and state water pumping are some of the factors contributing to the region's troubles.
Smelt are finger-length fish that serve as a crucial food source for sportfish. To protect them, the state has cut water diversions by a third.
Information from: The Sacramento Bee, http://www.sacbee.com
(Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)