Delta and Longfin Smelt Symposium - March 29, 2016

Delta and Longfin Smelt: Is Extinction Inevitable?

March 29, 2016 - 8:30-4:30 - University of California Davis - Activities & Recreation Center Ballroom A

Finalized program available here.

Click here to view the speaker videos from the symposium.

Is extinction inevitable for the delta and longfin smelt?  Despite extensive effort being spent on investigating potential causes of their decline, their numbers have reached an all-time low; particularly for delta smelt. These Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta fishes are protected by the federal endangered species listing (the endemic Delta smelt) and the State's threatened species listing (longfin smelt). Water supply “take restrictions” are directly influenced by their presence near the pumps, and river flows are regulated based on their life-cycle and known distribution.

As species near extinction, research and management priorities must keep pace.  This day-long symposium will feature panels updating the species' status, links to population declines, and the exploration of how recovery planning, restoration efforts and decision-making efforts intersect to devise a way to sustainably manage Delta and longfin smelt.

Click to here to read background paper by Moyle et al. (draft chapter currently under peer-review), "Delta Smelt: Life History and Decline of a Once Abundant Species in the San Francisco Estuary"

Agenda (click here for finalized PDF version)

8:20                  Sign-in

8:30                  Welcome

                                Nann Fangue, UC Davis Coastal and Marine Science Institute

                                Cliff Dahm, Delta Stewardship Council, Delta Science Program

Theme 1:       What do we know about Delta smelt and long fin smelt? (Moderator: Nann Fangue)

8:45-9                The Ecology and Management of Delta Smelt: New insights into the most important non-game fish in the United States (Ted Sommer, CA Department of Water Resources)

9-9:15                Longfin Smelt wonder "Will humans evolve a spine before we fishes go extinct?"  (Jon Rosenfield, The Bay Institute)

9:15-9:30           Slippery slope - Documenting the declines of smelts in the San Francisco Estuary (Randy Baxter, CA Department of Fish & Wildlife)

9:30-9:45           Evaluation of effective population size in Delta smelt provides hope for recovery (Mandi Finger, UC Davis)

9:45-10       Break

Theme 2:      Causal links to population declines and data gaps (Moderator: Jim Hobbs)

10-10:15           Putting pieces together - MAST conceptual model for investigating the decline of Delta smelt (Randy Baxter, CA Department of Fish & Wildlife)

10:15-10:30      Why thinking mechanistically matters: teasing apart multiple and interacting abiotic stressors (Nann Fangue, UC Davis)

10:30-10:45      Contributing cause of smelt decline: water exports (Tom Cannon, CA Sportfishing Protection Alliance)

10:45-11           What have we learned about predation on Delta smelt? (Brian Schreier, CA Department of Water Resources)

11-11:15           Over under sideways down; inertia of a transforming food web and extinction debt for smelt (William Bennett, UC Davis)

11:15-11:30      Sublethal effects of contaminants regularly detected in the delta: risks to smelt (Richard Connon, UC Davis)

11:30-11:45      The role of ocean conditions on Delta smelt and longfin smelt in the San Francisco Estuary (Fred Feyrer, US Geological Survey)

11:45-1       Lunch Break (on your own)

1-1:15               A 3-year study of environmental stress on health of endangered Delta smelt (Swee Teh, UC Davis)

1:15-1:30          Drought: is this the ‘final straw’  (Louise Conrad, CA Department of Water Resources) 

1:30-1:45          How will climate change induced warming affect Delta smelt? (Larry Brown, US Geological Survey)

1:45-2               Synthesis of the current biology, ecology and status of smelt in the San Francisco Estuary (Jim Hobbs, UC Davis)  

Theme 3:      Intersection of species’ recovery planning, restoration efforts, and decision making: Addressing hard questions  (Moderator: Richard Connon)

2-2:15               Extinction in California fishes: ecological, biological, legal, real (Peter Moyle, UC Davis)

2:15-2:30          Rearing habitat of larval and juvenile Longfin smelt in the San Francisco Estuary: A case to move into uncharted waters

                         (Lenny Grimaldo, ICF International)

2:30 -2:45         Are tidal wetlands the new miracle cure? (Rosemary Hartman, CA Department of Fish & Wildlife)

2:45-3        Break

3-4:30               Where do we go from here: a path forward among considerable uncertainty?  Panel discussion moderated by Peter Moyle


                         Shawn Acuña (Metropolitan Water District of Southern California)

                         Dan Castleberry (US Fish and Wildlife Service)

                         Scott Hamilton (Center for California Water Resources Policy & Management)

                         Ted Sommer (CA Department of Water Resources)

                         Christina Swanson (Natural Resources Defense Council)

                         Erwin Van Nieuwenhuyse (US Bureau of Reclamation)                        

                         Carl Wilcox (California Department of Fish and Wildlife)

Planning committee:

Nann Fangue (Chair, UCD), Jim Hobbs (UCD), Richard Connon (UCD), Peter Moyle (UCD), Shauna Oh (UCD), Marina Brand (Delta Science Program)