For Immediate Release: March 17, 2021
San Mateo County Harbor District Approves Resolution Aimed at Rebuilding Salmon Runs
District calls on State Water Board to resume work balancing Central Valley, Delta water uses
Pillar Point Harbor, EL GRANADA – On March 17, 2021 the San Mateo County Harbor District adopted a resolution to support the ailing salmon fishery. The resolution calls on the State Water Resources Control Board to resume work on the Bay Delta Water Quality Control Plan which is tasked with balancing water uses of Central Valley rivers that feed the Delta and Bay. The resolution was unanimously adopted, and can be viewed at: https://www.smharbor.com/in-support-of-the-bay-delta-plan.
State law requires the State Water Resources Control Board to update the plan every three years. The last major update occurred 25 years ago. During that time, six different fish species that live part or all of their lives in the Delta and its tributaries, including winter and spring run salmon, have fallen to such low levels that they’ve received protection under the federal Endangered Species Act.
The Harbor District’s resolution urges the use of science to establish required levels of flow in the rivers, which is essential to restoring the ecological health of salmon and other wildlife. Further, the adopted resolution acknowledges that commercial and recreational salmon fishing industries in San Mateo County provide many jobs across a variety of sectors including boatyards, harbor operations, and income to nearby restaurants and fish processing facilities. The local economy benefits from off-boat sales of salmon at Pillar Point Harbor, one of the few places in the Bay Area where the public can buy fish directly from fishermen and learn firsthand the connection between coastal waters and a local, sustainable food source.
“Salmon fishing draws people from all over California and beyond to fish salmon out of Pillar Point Harbor,” said Virginia Chang Kiraly, President of the San Mateo County Harbor Board of Commissioners. “By adopting this resolution to protect freshwater resources inland, to help keep California’s commercial fishing industry thriving, specifically its salmon industry, the Harbor District is proactively working to ensure the economic recovery of Pillar Point Harbor and the coastside while protecting the fragile and endangered salmon-based ecosystem throughout California.”
The Harbor District’s resolution also urges the Bay Area Water Supply and Conservation Agency (BAWSCA), a group representing peninsula cities that get their water from the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission, to abandon litigation against the State Water Board and instead work with stakeholders to restore the salmon populations that are such an important part of San Mateo County’s history and economy.
“Most water agencies in San Mateo County purchase water from the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission (SFPUC), of which 85 percent comes from Hetch Hetchy Reservoir on the Tuolumne River in Yosemite National Park,” said Peter Drekmeier, Policy Director of the Tuolumne River Trust. “In some years as much as 90 percent of the Tuolumne River is unsustainably diverted, greatly harming salmon, both in the river and downstream, and as recently as 1985, there were 40,000 salmon returning to spawn there. Last year there were only 1,000.”
“We’re proud of the Harbor Board for recognizing the direct connection between the salmon fishery that helps fuel our harbor and the water salmon need in the Central Valley rivers they come from to thrive, especially this year when our commercial and recreation salmon fishing seasons are being slashed due to low salmon numbers,” said John McManus, Executive Director of the Golden State Salmon Association.
Salmon fishing has been part of Pillar Point’s “local commercial fishing heritage and economy for more than 100 years,” said Frank Sousa, President of the Half Moon Bay Seafood Marketing Association. “That’s why we supported the Harbor Board’s resolution.”
“The Harbor District is very grateful to collaborate with stakeholders like the Tuolumne River Trust, the Golden State Salmon Association, and the Half Moon Bay Seafood Marketing Association, that are helping to rebuild local economies and protect our environment and healthy lifestyle,” said Chang Kiraly.
#####Press Release - Harbor District Resolution for Bay-Delta Plan 2021.pdf2021_03_17_Item_12_Att_2_Resolution_21-05_Water_Resource_Control_Board.pdf