Smelt getting a lifeline?

Feds consider boosting the fish species’ status to endangered

Currently listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act, delta smelt, the tiny fish species whose population is quickly dying off in the San Joaquin-Sacramento Delta, may get a boost from federal officials.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has announced it is considering raising the species’ status to endangered. Over the next 60 days, the agency is taking in information from scientists that could be critical to the decision, which is expected early next year, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.

Scientists consider the smelt’s decline as an indicator that the waterway is in peril. Experts say the species could be wiped out within the next two years, and largely blame massive pumps that divert water throughout the state.