Budget Crisis Stops Bay-Delta Research

State-mandated suspension freezes CalFed science research.

Published on: Jan 27, 2009

Because of the state's current fiscal and cash flow crisis, the Department of Finance ordered all state agencies and departments to suspend all projects effective Dec. 19 unless the contracting entity can continue with non-state funding sources. That order affects nearly 5,300 projects and programs, including the Delta's CalFed Science Program's bond-funded research projects.

As required by the state of California, CalFed issued suspensions on December 19, 2008, to recipients of 52 research grants and fellowships totaling $22 million. Research was suspended for management-relevant Bay-Delta priorities such as Chinook salmon and delta smelt population modeling, ammonium effects on Delta food webs, climate change modeling, mercury effects and the impacts of invasive species. Twenty-eight postdoctoral and doctoral students have had their funding suspended. Research teams and groups have had to disband and young scientists are seeking alternative employment.

Scientific research is critical for expanding and improving our understanding of the Bay-Delta ecosystem, which is crucial to inform and support water and ecosystem management actions. An extended break in this research could have tremendous impacts on our ability to continue this learning process and support decision-making.

"We're not sure when this fiscal crisis and cash-flow problem will ease, but we are working diligently to ensure projects can continue as soon as possible," says a spokesman. "CalFed is committed to keeping grantees and contractors informed as new information becomes available. We sincerely regret the hardships that this suspension has placed on the research community that we support."