Pelagic Organism Decline

The Interagency Ecological Program (IEP), a consortium of nine state and federal agencies, has been monitoring aquatic organisms and water quality in the San Francisco estuary for decades. Since late 2004, scientific and public attention has focused on the unexpected decline of several pelagic (open-water) fishes (delta smelt, longfin smelt, juvenile striped bass, and threadfin shad) in the freshwater portion of the estuary known as the Delta. This decline has collectively become known as the Pelagic Organism Decline (POD). In 2005, the IEP formed a multi-agency POD Management Team tasked with designing and managing a comprehensive study to evaluate the causes of the decline and to synthesize and report the results. The causes under investigation include stock-recruitment effects, a decline in habitat quality; increased mortality rates; and reduced food availability due to invasive species.



IEP logo

IEP POD Management Team

Current Members (Dec. 2008)

  • Randall Baxter, Senior Biologist, California Department of Fish and Game
  • Richard Breuer, Environmental Program Manager, California Department of Water Resources
  • Larry Brown, Research Biologist, U.S. Geological Survey
  • Mike Chotkowski, Fishery Biologist, U.S. Bureau of Reclamation
  • Frederick Feyrer, Fishery Biologist, U.S. Bureau of Reclamation
  • Marty Gingras, Supervising Biologist, California Department of Fish and Game
  • Bruce Herbold, Environmental Protection Specialist, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
  • Peter Hrodey, Supervisory Fish Biologist, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
  • Stefanie Fong, Senior Environmental Scientist, Central Valley Regional Water Quality Control Board
  • Anke Mueller-Solger, IEP Lead Scientist, CALFED Bay-Delta Program
  • Ted Sommer, Senior Environmental Scientist, California Department of Water Resources
  • Kelly Souza, Environmental Scientist, California Department of Fish and Game

Past Members:

  • Chuck Armor, Regional Manager, California Department of Fish and Game
  • Matt Nobriga, Staff Environmental Scientist, California Department of Fish and Game
  • Steve Culberson, Staff Environmental Scientist, CALFED Bay-Delta Program
  • Pat Coulston, Supervising Biologist, California Department of Fish and Game