Temporary gates could help Delta smelt

July 6, 2009 6:56:23 PM PDT
Federal water officials in Sacramento said building temporary gates in the Delta may allow agencies to draw more water from Northern California, while preserving endangered fish species. Fish losses in the Delta have prompted federal judges to cut water allocations from the delta to central and southern California. The pumping runs counter to the delta's natural flow, killing delta smelt and other species. Officials say temporary gates dropped into a delta slough could help reduce the counter flow. "The beauty of this system is if they don't work in one area the can be voted to another location," said Peter Lucero from the Bureau of Reclamation. The gates would cost $30 million and water officials want to build them by December, which would require speeding up the required environmental review.