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    Delta and Statewide Planning Processes

    many_ways_to_go_400_clr_7107-1Currently, there are three major planning processes focused exclusively on the Delta, two broader statewide plans, and multitudes of smaller plans and programs that affect the Delta in some way.  Some plans are in the implementation stage while others are still in the planning stages.

    What are all these different plans and processes? This page will help sort them all out for you.  On this page, the various plans and programs are organized and summarized and links are provided for more information. Delta-focused planning processes are covered first, followed by the statewide plans, and lastly, brief summaries of the various smaller plans and programs which affect the Delta in some way.

    This page is meant to be a reasonably complete listing of plans and programs underway; however, with so many agencies at work with a hand in the Delta, not every plan or program may be listed here.  Did I miss something important?  Let me know.  Your comments and suggestions welcome.  Email Maven

    On this page: (Click on to jump to a section or scroll down to browse):

    Major Delta Planning Efforts:

    Statewide Planning Efforts:

    Other Plans and Programs:

    MAJOR DELTA PLANNING EFFORTS

    Bay Delta Conservation Plan (BDCP)

    bdcp logoThe Bay Delta Conservation Plan (BDCP) is a 50-year road map for the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta that proposes new water infrastructure along with extensive habitat restoration and is intended to meet the dual goals of restoring the Delta’s ecosystem while providing reliable water supplies for the 25 million Californians and three million acres of irrigated agriculture that depend on Delta water.

    The centerpiece of the BDCP is the construction of water intakes and two 30-mile long tunnels that will carry the freshwater flows of the Sacramento River from the north Delta to the existing facilities in the south Delta.  The new conveyance facilities are intended to improve water supply reliability and restoration of the Delta by creating a more natural flow pattern in the Delta that will benefit fish species.  The BDCP specifies a suite of other measures that are meant to protect, restore, and enhance the Delta's ecosystem, as well as expand the extent and quality of intertidal, floodplain, and other habitats; some measures address the effects of various stressors such as toxic contaminants, predators, invasive species, and illegal harvest.

    Officials say that the plan is needed to shore up foundational water supplies that underpin the state's economy as well as restore habitat and reduce stressors to improve conditions for native fish species.  Delta stakeholder and advocates insist the Plan is too expensive and say that depriving the estuary of needed flows will hasten the collapse of the Delta's ecosystem and fish populations.

    The Bay Delta Conservation Plan will contribute to improving water supply reliability by modifying the Delta's current conveyance facilities to create more natural flow patterns in the Delta that will benefit fish species and allow for more flexibility in water project operations.  The BDCP will protect, restore, and enhance the Delta's ecosystem by expanding the extent and quality of intertidal, floodplain, and other habitats, as well as other specific measures to reduce the effects of various stressors, such as toxic contaminants, predation, non-native invasive species, and non-project water diversions.

    To navigate the Bay Delta Conservation Plan documents, use the BDCP Road Map – the Notebook guide to getting around the massive documents.  Click here for the BDCP Road Map.

    The Bay Delta Conservation Plan: A habitat conservation plan

    The Bay Delta Conservation Plan is often criticized for not being comprehensive enough, but what the BDCP is, really, is just an enormous application for an Incidental Take Permit, which is a permit issued to private, non-federal entities who undertake projects that might result in the take of an endangered or threatened species.  “Take” is defined by the ESA as harass, harm, pursue, hunt, shoot, wound, kill, trap, capture, or collect any threatened or endangered species.  The parties seeking these permits are the Department of Water Resources, Metropolitan Water District, Kern County Water Agency, Santa Clara Valley Water District, Zone 7 Water Agency, Westlands Water District, and the State and Federal Contractors Water Agency.

    The Bay Delta Conservation Plan is being developed as a Natural Community Conservation Plan (NCCP) under California’s Natural Community Conservation Planning Act (NCCPA) and in accordance with the state's endangered species regulations, and as a Habitat Conservation Plan (HCP) under the federal Endangered Species Act.

    DWR Delta birds & patterns #7An NCCP has a higher conservation or recovery standard for protection of species and habitat than California's endangered species regulations.  NCCPs are designed to recover listed species to the point where they no longer need to be listed; for unlisted species, NCCPs are designed to maintain or enhance them.  In contrast, state endangered species standards require only a ‘no jeopardy’ standard; those holding permits must keep listed species from going extinct or declining, but no affirmative contributions need to be made to aid in recovery.

    If the BDCP meets NCCP and HCP standards, then the Department of Fish and Game, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) and the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) will issue fifty-year permits that include regulatory assurances. Sometimes referred to as ‘no-surprises,’ regulatory assurances mean that if everything is implemented as specified in the approved plan and unforeseen circumstances occur that adversely affect a covered species, no additional land, water, or financial compensation will be required, nor any additional restrictions placed on the use of land, water, and other natural resources.

    However, regulatory assurances only apply if the Plan is being properly implemented.  If the plan fails to provide for adequate funding, fails to maintain rough proportionality between conservations measures and the impacts on species or habitat, or if the level of take of covered species exceeds the authorized amount, the permits can be revoked.

    Components of the Plan

    The Bay Delta Conservation Plan provides for the conservation of 57 species (11 fish, 28 wildlife, and 18 plant species) that are found in the Plan area and are currently considered to be rare, sensitive, threatened or imperiled, or likely to be so in the future.  The BDCP proposes to restore or protect approximately 145,000 acres of aquatic and terrestrial habitat over the term of the project with 30,000 acres of aquatic habitat to be restored in the first 15 years of the plan.  By restoring wetland habitats, reconnecting floodplains and rivers, and returning degraded riverbanks to a more natural state, the BDCP proposes to reverse the trend of habitat loss and contribute to the recovery of the Plan's covered species.

    There are four components to the Plan:

    Biological Goals and Objectives: The Plan’s 214 biological goals and objectives define the desired outcomes of the plan and set the benchmarks for evaluating the effect of the Plan on the ecological health of the Delta.  For a list of the Plan's biological goals and objectives, click here.

    Conservation Measures:  Twenty-two conservation measures specify the actions that will be taken to achieve the Plan's biological goals and objectives.  Conservation measures include the construction of new water facilities (“Conservation Measure 1”), as well as extensive habitat and restoration, invasive aquatic vegetation control, methylmercury management, urban stormwater treatment and other measures to address the Delta's many stressors.  For a list of the Plan's 22 Conservation Measures, click here.

    Effects Analysis:  The Effects Analysis chapter is a systematic, scientific evaluation of the effects of the BDCP's conservation measures and covered activities on the Delta’s ecosystem, natural communities and covered species.  The Effects Analysis makes use of extensive models, such as hydrologic and hydrodynamic models, temperature models, biological life cycle models, habitat models, and conceptual models to describe how implementation of the plan will achieve the stated biological goals and objectives.  For more on the Effects Analysis, click here.

    Adaptive Management:  Adaptive management is the process of continually improving management and operational policies and practices by learning from the outcomes and having an administrative mechanism in place so the Plan can be modified in response to evolving information, data, and analyses.  Since there is considerable uncertainty as to how the Delta might respond to the implementation of conservation measures, the Plan will rely on a robust adaptive management program which will include scientific research and extensive modeling.  For more on how the BDCP will use adaptive management, click here.

    To navigate through all of the plan documents, visit the BDCP Road Map by clicking here.

    The BDCP’s Environmental Review:

    The Department of Water Resources and the Bureau of Reclamation are the lead agencies for the preparation of environmental impact documents.  Whereas the Effects Analysis evaluated the effect of the Plan's measures on the Delta's biological resources, the EIR/EIS evaluates the impact of the Plan on the Delta's environmental resources, such as surface water, groundwater, agriculture, recreation, transportation, cultural resources, socioeconomics, air quality and more. A draft environmental impact statement was released by the state in May of 2012.

    • Click here for a highlights document draft environmental impact report.
    • For more on the impacts of the proposed twin tunnel project, click here.

    How much will it cost and who will pay?

    According to the draft documents released in March of 2013, the total cost to implement the BDCP is $24.7 billion – $19.9 billion for capital costs and another $4.8 billion for operations and maintenance.  The new facilities and infrastructure ($16.8 billion, or 68%) would be paid for by the water contractors, while the habitat restoration and other stressor reduction measures ($7.9 billion, or 31%) would be paid for by a mix of federal and state sources, including future water bonds.

    • For more on the costs of implementing the plan, click here.

    The state and federal water contractors have agreed to pay the costs of the new infrastructure and facilities and the associated mitigation, but just how those costs will be divided  among the various contractors has not yet been determined.  There are a few factors to consider:

    • The split between state and federal projects:  The state and federal water projects are two separate facilities with different capacities which export different amounts from the Delta.  Historically, cost shares at other joint state and federal projects have been split unevenly, such as San Luis Reservoir, which is split 55% state and 45% federal.
    • The split between the contractors themselves: How these costs will be divided and who will participate still is yet to be determined. Not all contractors who receive water from the state and federal projects will benefit from the BDCP, such as the state and federal water contractors who receive their water before it reaches the Delta, or those who receive Delta water through other facilities, such as the Contra Costa Canal.  There also has been much speculation about the ability for agricultural contractors to pay the full costs of the project on an acre-foot by acre-foot basis; with critics saying urban water contractors will have to bear more of the costs.

    What are the economic benefits?

    On August 5, 2013, the state released a draft Statewide Economic Impact Report that evaluated the economic impacts of the BDCP on a statewide basis.  The study concluded that the BDCP would have significant benefits to the state, including improving the economic welfare of residents by $4.8 to 5.4 billion over the 50-year term, generating $84 billion in additional business output and creating 1.1 million jobs.

    • For more on the economic analyses performed for the BDCP, click here.

    How the Bay Delta Conservation Plan relates to the Delta Plan

    The Delta Reform Act requires the BDCP to do many things, such as meet the requirements and be approved by DFW as an NCCP; consider a reasonable range of conveyance alternatives including through-Delta, dual conveyance, and isolated conveyance; consider a reasonable range of operating criteria, including flow criteria, rates of diversion, and flows necessary for ecosystem recovery and fisheries restoration; and the effects of climate change and sea level rise up to 55″.  If the California Department of Fish and Wildlife determines that the BDCP has met the requirements of the Delta Reform Act (including the requirements of an NCCP) and the BDCP is also approved  as a federal Habitat Conservation Plan (HCP), it will be incorporated into the Delta Plan.  DFW's decision can be appealed to the Delta Stewardship Council.

    The Delta Reform Act also named the Delta Stewardship Council is a ‘responsible agency' in the development of the EIR, and requires the Department of Water Resources to consult with both the Council and the Delta Independent Science Board during the development of the BDCP.

    • Read the Delta Reform Act by clicking here.  Specific provisions pertaining to the BDCP are found in Part 4 (Chapter 2).
    • The Delta Stewardship Council's appeals process is laid out in Appendix D of the Delta Plan, which you can find by clicking here.

    Timeline for completion:

    The public review draft of the Bay Delta Conservation Plan and the accompanying environmental documents is scheduled to be released on December 13, initiating a formal public review period which will extend until April 14, 2014.  A series of public meetings are planned during January and February to provide information and accept formal comments.  For the latest updates and news posted on the Notebook blog, click here.

    For more information:

    • Click here for the Bay Delta Conservation Plan website.
    • Click here for links to all Bay Delta Conservation Plan outreach materials.
    • Dig in even deeper!  Click here for the BDCP Road Map, the Notebook guide to navigating the Plan documents.
    • For the latest updates and news posted on the Notebook blog, click here.

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    Bay Delta Water Quality Control Plan (Bay Delta Plan)

    waterboard_logoThe San Francisco Bay/Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta Estuary Water Quality Control Plan, also known as the ‘Bay-Delta Plan’ for short, was last updated in 2006.  It is a water quality control plan developed by the State Water Resources Control Board (State Water Board), the state agency charged with protecting water quality as well as allocating water rights.  The State Water Board develops statewide policies and regulations for California’s water bodies under the authority of the Federal Clean Water Act and the state’s Porter-Cologne Water Quality Control Act.

    The State Water Board's update of the Bay-Delta Plan is  focusing on evaluating the impact of insufficient freshwater flows as one of the stressors that may be contributing to the plummeting fish populations in the estuary.  Given that the State Water Board stated in a 2010 report, (pg. 15) “the best available science suggests that current flows are insufficient to protect public trust resources,” it is widely expected that the water board will adopt flow objectives that will require increased freshwater flows through the Delta.

    The update of the Bay-Delta Plan takes on added importance as the Delta Reform Act of 2009 specifically mandates that construction of any new conveyance facilities cannot begin until the State Water Board approves the change in the point of diversion, and that such an approval must include appropriate flow criteria. Additionally, the Delta Stewardship Council’s Delta Plan recommends that the State Water Board develop and implement flow objectives for the Delta watershed by June of 2014.

    At the center of the plan: setting objectives

    Bird in the brush at Three Mile Slough #2 04-2008 smallerThe Bay-Delta Plan identifies beneficial uses of the Delta’s waters and then sets water quality objectives to protect those uses. In determining water quality and flow objectives, the Board is required by law to balance the competing uses of water to protect public trust uses, including fish and wildlife, while also considering the public interest in drinking water, hydropower, agriculture and other beneficial uses. The State Water Board then determines how to achieve those objectives, usually by setting conditions on water right permits or licenses, or through actions such as regulation of discharges of pollutants or projects that manage agricultural drainage. The review, development, and adoption of water quality and flow objectives require public participation, as well as consideration of alternatives and preparation of environmental documents in accordance with CEQA.

    The Bay-Delta Plan sets specific objectives for constituents, such as salinity or dissolved oxygen;  inflows to the Delta from the Sacramento and San Joaquin rivers as well as for Delta outflow into the San Francisco Bay, and limits on the amount of water that is exported from the Delta.

    Going with the flow …

    The Delta Reform Act of 2009 directed the State Water Resources Control Board to develop new flow criteria for the Delta’s ecosystem necessary to protect public trust resources in order to better inform planning decisions for the Delta Plan and the Bay Delta Conservation Plan, as well as the State Water Board’s processes.  In August of 2010, the State Water Board adopted the report, Final Report on the Flow Criteria for the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta Ecosystem, which specifies the volume, quality, and timing of water necessary for the Delta under different hydrologic conditions to protect fish and wildlife.  The flow criteria does not consider other beneficial uses and has no regulatory effect.

    Cross Channel #4 July 2010 35pctFelicia Marcus explained the reason behind the development of the flow criteria in her speech at the UC Davis California Water Policy Seminar Series: “It basically was if the fish could talk, what would the fish ask for, and was a counterpoint to what the water suppliers had been asking for, so that as we moved into this planning process, both at the BDCP and the water board, that the fishes voice would be thrown into mix rather than ignored.”

    Flow criteria is just one factor that the State Water Board will take into consideration when setting flow objectives as they are required by law to consider and balance all the beneficial uses, which include protection of the public trust resources of fish and wildlife. but also all of the Delta's other beneficial uses, such as  municipal and agricultural water use, hydropower, and recreational uses.  Given how contentious water issues can be, this balancing of competing uses generally means that if the State Water Board had done a good job of it, no one stakeholder group is going to be completely satisfied.

    • Read the report. Final Report on Development of Flow Criteria for the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta Ecosystem, by clicking here.
    • Cassie Aw-Yang of Somach Simmons and Dunn summarizes the flow criteria report here.

    The update process

    The Bay Delta Plan is being updated in four phases:

    • Phase 1: The first phase of the update considers potential changes to the San Joaquin River flow objectives in order to protect fish and wildlife beneficial uses in the San Joaquin River and its salmon bearing tributaries, as well as salinity objectives to protect agricultural beneficial uses in the southern Delta. To visit the State Water Board's webpage on Phase 1, click here.
    • Phase 2: The second phase focuses on the other parts of the Bay-Delta Plan that aren’t covered in phase one.  This includes Delta outflow objectives, export and inflow objectives, and schedule for closure of the Delta Cross Channel gates.  The Board will also be considering new reverse flow objectives for the Old and Middle Rivers as well as potential new floodplain habitat flow objectives.  To visit the State Water Board's webpage on Phase 2, click here.
    • Phase 3: The third phase, implementation, will include determining the changes to water rights and other measures needed to implement the plan, and will begin once final objectives for phase 1 and/or phase 2 have been adopted.
    • Phase 4: Phase four of the update process involves developing flow objectives and implementation plans for high-priority tributaries to the Delta that currently are not specifically regulated in this way.    The process will begin by first determining the flow criteria for the protection of fish and aquatic life with an emphasis on protection of threatened or endangered species; this criteria will be then taken into consideration as the objectives are tailored to each tributary to address it’s unique characteristics, public trust resources, and beneficial uses.  To visit the State Water Board's webpage on Phase 4, click here.

    How the Bay Delta Water Quality Control Plan fits with the Bay Delta Conservation Plan and the Delta Plan

    The Delta Reform Act specifies that no construction of any conveyance facilities can begin until the State Water Board approves the new point of diversion, and that such approval must include appropriate flow criteria.  The Act also specifies that the flow criteria shall be subject to modification through adaptive management.

    Besides approving any changes in the point of diversion, the State Water Board will need to issue a water quality certification pursuant to the Clean Water Act, as well as other permits for construction.  Once approved, the Bay Delta Conservation Plan will be regulated by the State Water Board and subject to meeting the water quality objectives as determined by the Bay Delta Water Quality Control Plan.

    • To read the Delta Reform Act, click here.  The portion pertaining to the State Water Board is found in Chapter 2.

    The Delta Plan's recommendation ER R1 calls for the State Water Resources Control Board to adopt and implement updated flow objectives for the Delta that are necessary to achieve the coequal goals by June of 2014, and for the Delta's high priority tributaries by 2018.  Until the new objectives are established, the existing Bay Delta
    Water Quality Control Plan objectives are used to determine consistency with the Delta Plan. After the flow objectives are revised, the revised objectives will be used to determine consistency with the Delta Plan.

    Timeline for completion:

    The Delta Stewardship Council’s Delta Plan recommends that the State Water Board develop and implement flow objectives for the Delta watershed by June of 2014; the Board is working towards that goal, but is unlikely to have the the process completed by then.  Phase 1, the San Joaquin River flow objectives, could possibly be completed by 2014; workshops are being scheduled and information is still being collected to inform Phase 2 process.  Phase 3, the implementation phase, can only begin once the first two phases are complete.  Phase 4, setting the flow objectives for the Delta's priority tributaries, is just beginning and is hoped to be completed by 2018.  For the latest updates and news on the Bay-Delta Plan posted on the Notebook blog, click here.

    For more information:

    • State Water Board webpage:  You will find fact sheets, frequently asked questions, and more resources regarding the update at the State Water Board's webpage by clicking here.
    • Status of the Plan:  For the latest updates and news on the Bay-Delta Plan posted on the Notebook blog, click here.

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    Delta Plan

    DSCLogoThe Delta Plan is California's long-term comprehensive plan for managing the water and environmental resources of the Delta as well as dealing with the multiple stressors that impact its ecosystem.  Fundamentally different than any previous attempt to solve the Delta's myriad of problems, the Delta Plan represents a new era in governing the Delta by setting a legally-enforceable path forward – both for the Delta and for the state.

    The Delta Reform Act of 2009 defined the coequal goals of providing a more reliable water supply and protecting, restoring and enhancing the Delta ecosystem as overarching state policy; the legislation also specified that the coequal goals shall be achieved in a manner that protects and enhances the Delta as an evolving place.  In addition, the Act set a state policy of requiring reduced reliance on the Delta through a statewide strategy of improved regional supplies, conservation, and water use efficiency.

    Delta Feb 2013 #30 smallerIn order to facilitate coordination across multiple entities with responsibilities in the Delta, the Delta Reform Act created the Delta Stewardship Council as an independent state agency and was directed, among many other things, to develop, adopt and implement a Delta Plan that furthers the coequal goals.  Recognizing the importance of science to effective management of the Delta, the Act also established the Delta Independent Science Board and mandated the use of ‘best available science’ and ‘adaptive management’ in the Delta Plan, as well as activities that occur under the Plan.

    The Delta Plan, adopted in May of 2013, is the state's plan for meeting the coequal goals. The Delta Plan contains 14 regulatory policies with which State and local agencies are required to comply; any plan, project or program that meets the criteria of being a ‘covered action' as specified in the Delta Reform Act will be subject to the Delta Plan's regulations.  The Delta Plan also specifies 73 non-regulatory recommendations that identify interconnected actions essential to achieving the coequal goals.  Key objectives of the Delta Plan include reducing reliance on the Delta, successful completion of the Bay Delta Conservation Plan, updating Delta water quality standards, addressing multiple Delta stressors, and protecting the Delta as a unique place.  The Delta Plan's policies and recommendations address emergency preparedness in the Delta, flood risk reductions and priorities for state investments in levee maintenance and improvements.

    The Delta Plan is the subject of seven lawsuits challenging the Plan's EIR, objecting to the Plan's regulations, or simply arguing that the Council lacks authority to do anything.

    How the Bay Delta Conservation Plan, the Bay Delta Water Quality Control Plan, and the Delta Plan fit together:

    According to the Delta Reform Act, if the Department of Fish and Wildlife determines that the BDCP has met all the requirements set forth in the Act, which include meeting the requirements of an NCCP, and if the BDCP is approved as a federal HCP, the BDCP must be incorporated into the Delta Plan.  The Delta Stewardship Council is required to hold at least one public hearing concerning the incorporation of the BDCP into the Delta Plan.  DFW's decision that the BDCP has met these requirements can then be appealed to the Delta Stewardship Council.

    The Delta Plan's recommendation ER R1 calls for the State Water Resources Control Board to adopt and implement updated flow objectives for the Delta that are necessary to achieve the coequal goals by June of 2014, and for the Delta's high priority tributaries by 2018.  Until the new objectives are established, the existing Bay Delta
    Water Quality Control Plan objectives shall be used to determine consistency with the Delta Plan. After the flow objectives are revised, the revised objectives shall be used to determine consistency with the Delta Plan.

    • Read the Delta Reform Act by clicking here.  Governance is covered in Part 3.  Specific provisions pertaining to the planning processes are found in Part 4.
    • The Delta Stewardship Council's appeals process is laid out in Appendix D of the Delta Plan, which you can find by clicking here.

    Timeline for completion:

    The first Delta Plan was adopted by the Council in May of 2013.  The next update, scheduled to be every 5 years or sooner, if need be, would occur in 2018.

    For more information:

    • To read the final version of the first Delta Plan, click here.
    • To visit the Delta Stewardship Council online, click here.

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    STATEWIDE PLANNING PROCESSES

     

    California Water Plan

    PRD-banner-474pxThe California Water Plan is the state's long-term strategic plan for guiding the management and development of water resources.  Updated every 5 years, the Plan is developed with extensive stakeholder involvement, from individuals and groups to government agencies, nonprofits and NGOs that represent multiple disciplines and tribal, regional, and local interests as well as environmental, agricultural, and urban concerns.

    The Plan describes current water resource conditions, identifies potential future conditions and the factors driving those changes, recognizes the challenges and impediments to effective solutions, and lays out an extensive list of potential actions that are intended to move California toward more sustainable management of water resources and more resilient water management systems.  Seventeen objectives and over 250 related actions are identified; however, the Plan does not create mandates, prioritize actions, or allocate funding, although funding is discussed.  The Plan is intended to inform legislative action as well as planning processes and decision making at all levels of government.

    The California Water Plan has five volumes:

    Volume 1: The Strategic Plan

    Volume 1 provides an overview of issues and challenges, as well as details the Plan's strategies which are built around three themes:  advancing integrated water management, strengthening government agency alignment, and investing in innovation and infrastructure.  Chapters describe current and future conditions, financing options, and managing an uncertain future, as well as a Road Map for Action.

    Volume 2: Regional Reports

    The regional reports detail the current conditions of the area's resources such as watersheds, groundwater, ecosystems, as well as provide information on demographics, water supplies, water quality and uses.  The reports also discuss the region's accomplishments and challenges, as well as define future conditions, such as population growth, water demand, and climate change.

    Most of the regional reports follow a standard format that varies, depending on the region. The Mountain Counties report includes details on the region's importance to statewide water supplies; legacy issues such as abandoned mines, abandoned railroad beds, and historic cattle grazing; and regional needs, opportunities, and desired future conditions.  The regional report for the Delta includes a discussion of its unique challenges and drivers of change, as well as current resource planning efforts.

    Volume 3: Resource Management Strategies

    recycled waterThe third volume identifies 30 Resource Management Strategies (RMSs) that can be used to help meet the water resource needs of the different regions in the state.  A Resource Management Strategy is defined as a “technique, program or policy that helps local agencies and governments manage their water and related resources.”  The strategies are narratives that are written by subject matter experts and include a definition of the strategy, its current use, the potential benefits and costs, implementation issues and recommendations, as well as additional references for more information.  Strategies identified in the California Water Plan include actions such as agricultural and urban water use efficiency, conjunctive management and groundwater, desalination, watershed management, forest management, and urban stormwater management.

    Adapting to new challenges as well as coping with continuing ones requires local agencies and governments to develop diversified portfolios of water resources and management programs that will achieve sustainable uses and benefits while balancing the risks of an uncertain future. The California Water Plan’s strategies are to be considered tools in a toolkit for water managers to choose from with the understanding that regional and local water managers have the best perspective on which strategy or strategies are most cost-effective and productive for meeting the needs and priorities of their region.

    Volumes 4 and 5: Reference and Technical Guides

    The Reference and Technical Guides, as well as a glossary, will be released with the final Plan documents in January of 2014.

    Timeline for completion:

    The public comment period on the draft of the California Water Plan will close in November of 2013, with the final plan to be released in January of 2014.  The California Water Plan is updated every 5 years in a continuous process that will begin immediately after the release of the final 2014 Plan documents.

    For more information:

    • Click here for the California Water Plan documents.

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    California Water Action Plan

    jerry brownThe California Water Action Plan is Governor Brown's 5 year plan to move California toward more sustainable water management by providing more reliable water supplies for farms and communities, restoring important wildlife habitat and native species populations, and to take actions that will help the state’s water systems and environment become more resilient in the face of future changes. The Plan is a joint effort between the California Natural Resources Agency, the California Department of Food and Agriculture, and the California Environmental Protection Agency.

    The non-regulatory Plan lists 50 specific actions that are critical to moving the state forward, such as expanding agricultural and urban water conservation and efficiency beyond SB7X7 targets, supporting and expanding funding for Integrated Water Management Planning, increasing the use of recycled water, streamlining water transfers, expanding water storage, improving flood protection, and developing a water financing strategy.  The Governor's Plan also calls for continued work on the San Joaquin River Restoration project, local partnerships to protect key habitat at the Salton Sea, and continued restoration efforts in the Klamath Basin.

    Timeline for completion:

    A draft of the Plan was released at the end of October 2013 for public review and comment.  A final plan was expected to be released in December of 2013.

    For more information:

    • To read the California Water Action Plan, click here.

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    OTHER PLANS AND PROGRAMS

    Central Valley Flood Protection Plan

    cvfpb_logoThe Central Valley Flood Protection Plan (CVFPP) is a system-wide flood management approach to reduce the risk of flooding for about one million people and $70 billion in infrastructure, homes and businesses with a goal of providing 200-year (1 chance in 200 of flooding in any year) protection to urban areas, and reducing flood risks to small communities and rural agricultural lands.  The CVFPP proposes physical and system improvements in the Sacramento and San Joaquin River basins to address urban, small community and agricultural area flood protection while integrating ecosystem restoration opportunities and climate change considerations.  Only portions of the Delta that are covered by the State Plan of Flood Control are included in the CVFPP, which amounts to about a third of the Delta's levees.  For more information on the Central Valley Flood Protection Plan, click here.

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    Central Valley Regional Water Quality Board’s Water Quality Control Plan for the Sacramento River and San Joaquin River Basins

    waterboard_logoThe Central Valley Regional Water Quality Control Board designates beneficial uses of water bodies, establish water quality objectives to protect those uses, and defines an implementation plan to achieve the objectives, much as the State Water Board does.  Whereas the State Water Board's Bay-Delta Plan sets objectives for salinity and water project operations, the Central Valley Regional Water Board's basin plan sets objectives for contaminants such as toxic chemicals, bacterial contamination, pesticides and methylmercury.  The State Water Board's Bay-Delta Plan is intended to be complementary to the Central Valley Regional Water Board's basin plan, but supersedes the regional water board's plan to the extent there is any conflict.  For more on the Central Valley Regional Water Board's water quality control plan, click here.

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    Delta Science Plan

    DSCLogoCurrently, science is conducted in the Delta by numerous public agencies, organizations, and academic institutions, each with its own mission and agenda with little coordination and oftentimes no plans to share data and information.  Absent a common vision and strategy, Delta science will continue to occur in these programmatic silos with limited integration and scientific conflict will likely continue.  The Delta Science Plan, a product of the Delta Science Program, seeks to address the fragmentation of science in the Delta by developing shared agendas, priorities, and data, and by creating a plan to build more effective interactions between the scientific community and policy and decision makers.  The vision is to build an open science community, “One Delta, One Science,” that will work together to build a shared body of scientific knowledge that will have the capacity to adapt and inform management decisions across multiple organizations and programs.  The Delta Science Plan defines 28 specific actions to achieve the stated objectives of managing scientific conflict, coordinating and integrating Delta science, promoting and performing science synthesis, building more effective policy-science interactions, providing support for adaptive management and advancing the state of Delta knowledge.  The first Delta Science Plan was completed and accepted by the Delta Stewardship Council in October of 2013.  For more information on the Delta Science Plan, click here.

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    Ecosystem Restoration Program

    ERP_focusThe Ecosystem Restoration Program (ERP) is an effort by CDFW, USFWS and NMFS to recover endangered and at-risk species, protect and restore habitats and ecological processes, address non-native invasive species, and improve water and sediment quality both within the Delta and in the major rivers and tributary watersheds that are directly connected to the Delta below major dams and reservoirs.  Current projects in the Delta include riparian, upland, floodplain, and marsh habitat restoration projects; fish screens and fish passage projects; environmental water quality projects, and species assessments.  The ERP coordinates with the many other programs and activities in the Delta including the Delta Conservancy, CVPIA, Fish Restoration Program Agreement, Fish Passage Improvement Program, State Wildlife Action Plan, the California Water Quality Monitoring Council, and the Central Valley Regional Water Board.  For more information on the Ecosystem Restoration Program, click here.

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    Fish Restoration Program Agreement

    dwrlogoThe Fish Restoration Program Agreement is an agreement between the Department of Fish and Wildlife and the Department of Water Resources to address and implement the habitat restoration requirements and related actions in the Delta, Suisun Marsh, and Yolo Bypass as mandated by the biological opinions.  The actions taken by the FRPA will mitigate impacts to delta smelt, longfin smelt, and winter-run and spring-run Chinook salmon as a result of SWP operations in the Delta. The primary objective of the program is to restore  8,000 acres of intertidal and associated subtidal habitat in the Delta and Suisun Marsh to benefit delta smelt, 800 acres of low salinity habitat to benefit longfin smelt, and a number of related actions for salmonids.  For more on the Fish Restoration Program Agreement, click here.
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    Land Use and Resource Management Plan

    delta protection comm logoThe Delta Protection Commission is the agency responsible for maintaining and implementing a resource management plan for the Primary Zone of the Delta, which includes includes approximately 500,000 acres of waterways, levees and farmed lands.  The Management Plan guides projects that impact land use, agriculture, natural resources, recreation, water, levees, and utilities and infrastructure within the primary zone.  The Plan extends over portions of Solano, Yolo, Sacramento, San Joaquin and Contra Costa counties, who are required to be consistent with the Management Plan.  For more on the Land Use and Resource Management Plan, click here.

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      3 comments

      1. Adan Ortega

        Thank you very much for doing this. Seems like all the plans except BDCP (for the most part) skirt the question of who pays. The statewide plans lack milestones or any organizing principle other than “overcoming the crisis,” “reducing dependence on the delta,” or “improving water quality.” How about setting milestones for system-wide efficiency where all the conservation projects and water quality remediation projects have to yield demonstrated flexibility for the whole system? This means not just ascribing value to the concept of “reducing dependence on the Delta” but monetizing the value of actual water saved that can move within regional systems once that reduced dependence is quantified. If that idea doesn’t cut it, who has ideas for adding all this planning up to something real and meaningful? We’ve known for years what to do, the answer may rest in understanding why despite all this planning we are not doing them. I suspect it has to do with money.

      2. Rich Holland

        Wow, thanks for this. The concept of this all being one massive “take” permit is a good way to get a handle on the immensity of the resources at stake. Getting a grip on seven concurrent lawsuits against the Delta Plan is something I have found very hard to do. Perhaps you could help (or already have and I just haven’t found it). Thanks again.

      3. Rich Holland

        Found http://deltacouncil.ca.gov/litigation which has links to latest action in Delta Plan lawsuits.

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