State Water Resources Control Board to begin Phase II of the update to the Bay-Delta Plan *Revised dates*

Note: This post has been updated with the State Water Board’s revised schedule for the workshops.

The State Water Board has begun Phase 2 of its Bay-Delta Plan update by scheduling three workshops in the fall to collect scientific and technical information for considering changes to the plan.

The workshops, conducted over three separate days, will cover ecosystem changes and the low salinity zone, Bay-Delta fishery resources, and analytical tools for evaluating water supply, hydrodynamic and hydropower effects.  The workshops will be facilitated by Dr. Brock Bernstein and will include a presentation by an invited panel organized by the Delta Stewardship Council’s Science Program.  Following the workshop, a summary report will be drafted by Dr. Bernstein.

The Bay-Delta Plan, last updated in 2006, identifies beneficial uses of water in the Delta, sets water quality objectives for those uses, and determines a program of implementation for achieving those objectives.  In developing the Plan, the Board will attempt to balance the competing uses of water by determining what flows are necessary to protect public trust uses, including fish and wildlife, while also considering the public interest in drinking water, hydropower, agriculture and other uses.  The Plan will be implemented by subsequent water rights decisions and water quality certifications for hydropower facilities that are subject to FERC relicensing.  When implemented, the Plan will determine the amount and timing of water entering and moving through the Delta.

This update of the Bay-Delta Plan takes on particular importance as the Delta Reform Act of 2009 requires the State Water Board to develop flow criteria for the Delta ecosystem.  The legislation also specified that no facilities for the Bay-Delta Conservation Plan can be constructed until the State Water Board approves changes in the points of diversion, and that any change in the point of diversion must also include Delta flow criteria.  Additionally, the Delta Stewardship Council has recommended the State Water Board adopt and implement Delta flow objectives by June of 2014.

The workshop topics and dates are as follows:

  • Ecosystem Changes and the Low Salinity Zone, September 5, and 6 if necessary:  This workshop will examine the effects of the low salinity zone on various species, the interaction of salinity with non-flow related factors, and the identification of modeling or other tools available for monitoring.
  • Bay-Delta Fishery Resources, October 1st and 2nd, continuing on October 3rd, if necessary:This workshop will focus on the flow, cold water pool, habitat and water project constraints necessary to reasonably protect pelagic species, steelhead, and salmonids.  The first day  will focus on pelagic fishes and the second day will focus on salmonids.
  • Analytical Tools for Evaluating the Water Supply, Hydrodynamic, and Hydropower Effects of the Bay-Delta Plan, November 13 and 14: This workshop will focus on analytical tools available, such as CalSim II, DSM2, and other models.  The first day will focus on water supply and hydrodynamic models, and the second day will be focused on hydropower models.

The State Water Board’s review of the Bay-Delta Plan is taking place in four phases.  Phase I, already underway, involves reviewing and potentially modifying flow objectives and southern Delta water quality objectives.  Phase II will focus on the potential modifications to the remainder of the Bay-Delta Plan’s fish and wildlife beneficial uses.  Phase III will look at potential changes to water rights and other requirements needed to implement changes to the Bay-Delta Plan.  Phase 4 will address flow requirements for priority Delta tributaries.  Some phases may overlap with each other at various times.  The State Water Board plans to complete the review of the Bay-Delta plan by 2014.

For more information:

 

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