This is the fourth and final in our Earth Month series about some of Met's many environmental activities
To help reach a balance between environmental and urban water needs, Metropolitan supports many science programs and projects in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta.
Recently, Metropolitan joined with UC Davis' Coastal and Marine Sciences Institute to host a Delta Science symposium on pathogens in Pacific salmon.
a biologist in Met's Bay-Delta Initiatives office was one of the event organizers.
Understanding the impacts of pathogens is essential because salmon play key ecological, social and economic roles for our state, and can impact water deliveries to our region. That's because in an average year, about one-third of Southern California's water supply flows through the Delta.
As one of speakers at the symposium,
said, “Information collected by Dr. Scott Foott from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service show there are rivers and years in which pathogens and disease seem to contribute to juvenile salmon mortality. This makes us want to explore linkages between environmental conditions, disease and impacts to population dynamics.”
Learning how other systems use pathogen monitoring and research to manage in-season disease effects on salmon is helpful. For example, in the Columbia River Basin, research shows that if a juvenile salmon displays no signs of pathogens, it is up to 4.5 times more likely to return as an adult. While pathogens may play a similar role in the Delta, the lack of a comprehensive pathogen monitoring program limits our understanding of impacts.
A better understanding of the stressors that contribute to salmon population declines will improve fish management and recovery actions. That's good for the environment and for water supplies.