The San Francisco Bay is perhaps one of the most diverse ecological areas in the world. The convergence of both the Pacific Ocean and fresh water runoff that flows from the Sierras through the Sacramento and San Joaquin rivers blend together to create a habitat unlike any other. However, according to a new report by the Bay Institute, thousands of dams and ditches that supply irrigation and drinking water to industrial farms and cities are now depriving the estuary of 70 percent of freshwater flows. 
In the report, Jonathan Rosenfield, a conservation biologist and lead author, points to sharp declines in critical species such as shrimp and salmon populations due to the increased salinity and frequent algae blooms. The report also suggests that without these species, commercial fisheries could ultimately fail, leading to thousands without jobs.
“Looking at all the signs, “Rosenfield says in an interview with Pacific Standard, “it is clear the ecosystem will collapse.” 
However, the excessive diversion of freshwater may soon stop as the California State Water Resources Control Board begins to revise regulations that control how much water is removed from the Sacramento and San Joaquin watersheds – the primary rivers that provide freshwater from the Bay area.
The current proposal is not without critics. Lobbyists for agricultural groups have denounced the draft as a threat to the state economic stability. “To try and return a major portion of these rivers to in-stream uses after developing an economy and lifestyle and a livelihood for so many people will be bad for just about everybody but the fish”, says Chris Scheruing, a farmer and lawyer for the California Farm Bureau Federation. 
Along with agriculture, cities are beginning to stand in opposition to any bill that removes water supplies from their system. In an October op-ed in the San Francisco Chronicle, Bay Area water officials commented on the draft. “With the proposal, we can expect more severe and more frequent water rationing”. 
Although the health and future of the San Francisco Bay is at the forefront of the current bill, it remains a subset of a larger environmental crisis in the state. California’s freshwater resources have been under assault for years, and with it, the state’s ecological diversity. In a 2015 study published by PLoS One, the precarious future of the state’s native species is described in a stark and brutal reality, regardless of the passage of any bill.
“Water allocations are currently five times the state’s mean annual runoff and, in many of the state’s major river basin, rights to divert water lay claim to up to 1,000% of natural surface water supplies. Recent studies have highlighted dramatic declines of California native fishes with 80% either extinct of threated with extinction within 100 years.”
Published December 29, 2016
 Tobias, Jimmy. As Californians Fight Over Fresh Water, the San Francisco Bay Barely Survives. Pacific Standard, November 3, 2016. Web. https://psmag.com/as-californians-fight-over-fresh-water-the-san-francisco-bay-barely-survives-6c31b5cda63c#.76k27rd6r  Jeanette K. Howard, Kirk R. Klausmeyer, Kurt A. Fesenmyer , Joseph Furnish, Thomas Gardali, Ted Grantham, Jacob V. E. Katz, Sarah Kupferberg, Patrick McIntyre, Peter B. Moyle, Peter R. Ode, Ryan Peek, Rebecca M. Quiñones, Andrew C. Rehn, Nick Santos, Steve Schoenig, Larry Serpa, Jackson D. Shedd, Joe Slusark, Joshua H. Viers, Amber Wright, Scott A. Morrison. Patterns of Freshwater Species Richness, Endemism, and Vulnerability in California. PLOS, July 6, 2015. Web. http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371%2Fjournal.pone.0130710  Harlan L. Kelly Jr. and Nicole Sandkulla. San Francisco to state on water-use cutbacks: How low can we go? San Francisco Chronicle, October 7, 2016. Web. http://www.sfchronicle.com/opinion/article/San-Francisco-to-state-on-water-use-cutbacks-How-9940351.php