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Denhams Save Our Salmon Act Passes Through Congress

The U.S. House of Representatives has passed H.R. 4582, the Save Our Salmon (SOS) Act, introduced by area Congressman Jeff Denham (R-Turlock).

Denham’s bill would remove the fish doubling provision in the 1992 Central Valley Project Improvement Act (CVPIA) for non-native, predatory striped bass, thereby protecting native salmon and steelhead and reducing nonessential water usage.

“One of the greatest threats facing the Central Valley is drought, and this bipartisan legislation would provide a common sense solution to wasteful fresh water usage,” said Rep. Denham. “Predation of endangered fish in California continues to be one of many factors in the complex equation of California drought. By eliminating this unnecessary provision that threatens our salmon and steelhead populations, native species will again thrive without wasting the massive amounts of fresh water and taxpayer dollars currently required to do so.”

“In California, contradictory statutes have caused millions of dollars and billions of gallons of water to go to waste. This is unacceptable, especially as Californians face historic drought conditions. This bill is an effort to prevent even more critical water resources from being needlessly wasted,” Chairman Rob Bishop (R-UT) said. “I look forward to working with Rep. Denham to advance a companion bill in the Senate.”

The CVPIA currently mandates population doubling for anadromous fish, including both native species and non-native predator fish, specifically striped bass. Native salmon and steelhead populations have suffered as a result, and millions of acre-feet of water have been sent through local waterways in an attempt to help these native species migrate to the ocean. The SOS Act would remove the striped bass from the doubling requirement, giving native species a better chance of survival without unnecessary use of water reserves and wasting taxpayer dollars.

Since its introduction in February 2016, the SOS Act has received support from 15 water agencies and irrigation districts throughout California. During testimony in front of the Natural Resources Committee in April 2016, the Department of Interior also stated its support for Rep. Denham’s SOS Act.