Saving the California Delta and Striped Bass by Loren Elliott

Saving the California Delta and Striped Bass: Letters to DFG are Urgently Needed

Hello friends and fellow fly fishers, I am writing to you at a time of urgency in regard to California water and wildlife management. As you might already know, the CA Dept. of Fish and Game has recently made public a regulation change proposal that is essentially aimed at eradicating the striped bass from our waters. I am writing to ask each of you to write a letter to the DFG during this time of proposal review and public input to contest these regulation changes, and to also forward this email to all fellow fishers, naturalists, or anyone who cares about a healthy delta.

For some background: this has been an ongoing battle, but to do my best at giving you the “short and simple” for those of you who do not already know, the DFG has essentially been acting as a puppet for corporate agriculture interests in the San Joaquin Valley, who see striped bass fishers as a major threat to their mission of diverting as much water from the delta as possible. As a result they have been pushing under the grossly misleading and disgustingly inaccurate organization name “Coalition for a Sustainable Delta” to have striped bass eradicated under the pretense that they are a non-native species and therefore prey on salmon and steelhead smolt in addition to delta smelt, all native species. Although at first glance this argument seems logical, as an environmental studies major in my senior year of university study I can say that I thoroughly feel the science to support this hypothesis is bogus for a number of reasons, and completely overlooks the fact that striped bass were introduced in the 1800s to this state and yet stripers, salmon, and steelhead were all at very high population numbers 100 years after the striped bass introduction! Since the major water diversion in the delta, all three species in addition to others have plummeted in numbers.

The bottom line: our problem is water diversion, not striped bass. Money and efforts need to go towards fighting corporate agriculture (please not the distinction from family farmers who have been there for generations) and not eradicating a species of fish that has successfully co-existed with native species for well over a century. If striped bass go then so will striped bass fishers, some of the best lobbyists for the health of the Delta, and next it will be the salmon and steelhead that will be gone.

To continue reading up on this: here is a link to friend Dan Blanton’s bulletin board with a recent post containing an article on the issue.

What I am asking of you: If you have not already done so, please go to the following link from Dan’s board (home of “Striperfest”, a fantastically successful fundraising event to restore the Delta and fight for its preservation as an ecosystem) and read the model letter to draft a letter of your own to be sent to the California Fish and Game commission. Next, please forward this email to as many folks as you can, this is a time for public input that can really make a difference and the more letters the better. We have the chance to halt in its tracks the current progression towards disaster…right now is a pivotal time in ensuring or losing the future health of the delta. This is very much a time sensitive matter so please do not wait in taking action.

link for model letter to make a letter of your own easy:

link to sample letters written by most prominent members of the fly fishing and delta conservation community to take a look at before writing your own:

Please feel free to email me with any clarifications, questions, or follow-ups on the matter. CCed in this email are Dan Blanton, Dave Sellers: both friends, mentors, and critical advocates for the delta. For further assistance they may be reached at the emails listed above, though all three are working hard on this issue and putting in more hours than I am able to at the moment, so please let me try and answer or help with any questions or clarifications first.


I think we are all personally vested in this issue at some or many levels, whether you make your living on the Delta or just hope to visit and enjoy its beauty and wildlife one day. Striped bass and a healthy delta ecosystem are the backbone of my guide business that allows me to finance an education in environmental studies, an education I plan to use to fight environmental threats like the one we are facing right now.

Thanks for your time, your letters, and your voice in passing on the word about this issue. -Loren Elliott

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