State Water Resources Control Board – Impact of Salmon Shutdown

Action Alert

It’s clear now that the 2023 California salmon season will be closed. We need you to join GSSA in testifying at the State Water Resources Control Board’s “listening session.” They need to hear from fishermen and women and concerned Californians about the widespread impact of this salmon shutdown.


Date: March 27, 2023 (Monday)

Time: 1pm to 7pm PDT

Register by: 12pm, Friday, March 24, 2023

Zoom registration link (to comment):


The biggest single cause of this salmon disaster is the failure of the State Water Board to require river flows and temperatures to keep fall run eggs and juveniles alive. The big die-offs of salmon eggs and juveniles in recent years were not caused by the drought. They were caused by the Water Board’s failure to protect salmon during the drought.  

The existing State Board rules to protect salmon in the Bay-Delta and Central Valley rivers were adopted in 1995. Those rules have failed dramatically – as the decline in salmon harvest and returns show. The State Board’s work to update these rules has largely been shut down by Governor Newsom. Instead, the Governor is promoting a “voluntary agreement” (VA) process. That process is run by the water users themselves. Fishermen and women – as well as the conservationists, tribal, environmental justice and Delta communities – have been shut out of these back room talks. Not surprisingly, the water user “VA” proposal fails miserably to protect salmon.  


  • The Water Board is the only agency with the legal authority to require temperature and flow protections for Sacramento River basin fall run salmon.
  • You have failed to update your 1998 standards, and failed to require adequate flows and temperatures.
  • This has led to the decline in adult salmon and salmon harvest. The current shutdown is your shutdown. You did this – through your inaction. So did the Governor, by urging you to slow down efforts to protect salmon. 
  • The voluntary agreements lack any credibility. They do not address temperature at all. They provide little new water for salmon in all years, and essentially no new salmon water in the driest years.
  • The voluntary agreement process has been going on for more than a decade. It has failed. And, because the public is excluded from these back room talks, the process is fundamentally unfair.
  • Describe the impact of the shutdown on you, your business, your family and your community. Take a moment to share personal details.  
  • We support the petition by tribal and environmental justice groups for the EPA to take over setting Bay-Delta flow and temperature standards. We agree with them that your failure to protect salmon and the Bay-Delta represents a civil rights violation.


1:00 – 4:30 PM

  • Welcome and Opening Remarks – Joaquin Esquivel, State Water Resources Control Board (State Water Board) Chair; California Department of Water Resources (DWR) Leadership; California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) Leadership
  • Presentation on current efforts to update and implement the Bay-Delta Plan, including possible Voluntary Agreements to update and implement the Bay-Delta Plan
  • Questions and comments from participants

4:30 – 5:00 PM Break

5:00 – 7:00 PM

  • Abbreviated presentation on current efforts to update and implement the Bay-Delta Plan, including possible Voluntary Agreements to update and implement the Bay-Delta Plan
  • Additional questions and comments from participants 


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