Skinner Fish Facility
The John E. Skinner Delta Fish Protective Facility east of San Francisco Bay is a State Water Project facility that works to protect fish in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta.
Operated by the California Department of Water Resources just upstream of the Banks pumping plant, the Skinner Facility contains devices known as louvers that attempt to divert fish from pumps that lift water into the California Aqueduct.
Prior to the facility’s construction in 1970, researchers had found that early young Chinook salmon and Delta smelt were being caught in the Banks pumps in the South Delta. This discovery resulted in litigation filed by environmental groups and ultimately led to a federal court ruling that water managers must limit Delta exports at certain times of the year.
According to DWR, approximately 15 million fish are saved annually from the pumps and returned to the Delta.