In 2007, when the abundance index of Delta Smelt had declined to worrisome levels and stayed low, the state Department of Fish and Game and the US Department of Fish and Wildlife Service, suggested it was time to culture the species under genetically sound management and thus began the refuge population. The goal of the refuge population is to maintain a population in culture that is very close to the wild population both in terms of phenotype and genotype. The refuge population also serves as a safeguard against extinction. Meanwhile, the culture technique is continuously improved over the years and the survival rate of cultured endangered Delta Smelt at the FCCL is high. The new director of the FCCL, Dr. Hung, has initiated new research and is collaborating on new projects of benefit to the smelts. Projects have been conducted by the researchers at the FCCL or collaborated with other research groups as well.
The FCCL is currently expanding and renovating existing facilities, increasing the capacity for culture and research purposes. One of the recent tasks is to develop culture methods for a new listed species, the threatened Longfin Smelt, Spirinchus thaleichthys.