"To extirpate" means to destroy completely or to extinguish. It is a fancy word used by resource-agency biologists in the past participle, "extirpated," as professional jargon for "extinction". Agribusiness, Southern Californa water agencies and state and federal resource agencies have been working together for years to extirpate the Delta smelt because it is the principle endangered species that obstructs agricultural corporations and urban water agencies from unlimited use of Delta water. Exstirpation of the Delta smelt would render moot the entire ediface of official biological opinion and state and federal judges' rulings that tend to limit the amount of water that primarily corporate agricultural interests (which use 80 percent of California's water) can legally take from the Delta.
The federal Bureau of Reclamation may be able to guarantee at least some water to junior water-rights holders in the Westlands Water District after the Delta smelt disappears from memory. If so, the gamble that west side growers took -- to plant permanent crops without a guarantee of receiving water in dry years -- will pay off and a new "balance" will be achieved.Read More »