This quote from a story on the San Joaquin River restoration caught my eye:
An intense fight is emerging on the Valley’s west side between farmers and activists who seem to have the same goal — protecting the San Joaquin River.
Activists say toxic irrigation drainage from the farms could undermine river restoration by poisoning newly restored salmon … .
Farmers, who have been voluntarily cleaning up the drainage since 1995, say the fish will be fine, because high restoration flows will dilute possible contaminants. (Emphasis mine)
I want to be sure I understand this. On the San Joaquin River, high flows can be used to dilute contaminants enough to make the water safe for fish? But in the Delta, high flows are useless in the face of trace nitrites from the Sacramento Regional Wastewater Treatment Plant? But the San Joaquin River flows into the Delta. Where does the magical power of dilution making the water safe for fish stop, I wonder? Where Interstate 5 crosses the San Joaquin River? I looked at my Delta map, but it doesn’t mark the spot where the magic of dilution stops working.
Look, “farmers” in the Fresno Bee story. Either big flows that dilute pollutants are good for fish, in which case designating minimum flows for the Delta helps save smelt. Or, fish can’t be made safe from pollutants by big flows, in which case you need to clean up your selenium drainage before salmon are reintroduced to the San Joaquin River. Me, I’m happy to believe that fish need large flows (for coolth and stuff) and no pollutants. This makes my life easy, because I don’t have to change my story as I canoe down the new San Joaquin River.