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Delta Plan Amendments

Introduction to the Amendment Process:

 

Adopted by the Council in May 2013, the Delta Plan anticipated the need for periodic reviews and updates in response to changing circumstances and conditions in the Delta unrelated to the Water Code section 85300(c) requirement that the Council review the entire Delta Plan no less than once every five years.

 

For information on the current five-year review, click here.

 

Four updates are now being considered and are detailed below. In addition, the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) generally requires a government agency to evaluate and consider the potential significant adverse environmental consequences of a proposed action before the agency takes the action. The first three proposed Delta Plan updates are currently being evaluated through a Program Environmental Impact Report (PEIR). The PEIR and updates are scheduled to be considered by the Council at its April 2018 meeting. The fourth proposed update (ecosystem) is currently being developed.

 

Also, following environmental review, the Council amended the Delta Plan in September 2016 to exempt single-year water transfers from consideration as covered actions. For information about this amendment, click here.

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These four updates are currently underway:

 

Conveyance, Storage, and Operations: The Delta Plan as adopted in 2013 called for completion of the Bay Delta Conservation Plan, because pursuant to the Delta Reform Act of 2009, the BDCP, if it met all other requirements of law, would automatically be incorporated into the Delta Plan. The Delta Plan also said that, if the BDCP were not approved by Jan. 1, 2016, the Council would consider amending the Delta Plan to promote conveyance options with new storage and improved operational criteria.

 

In April, 2015, the Brown Administration announced a new preferred alternative to the BDCP that would not complete the BDCP as a Natural Community Conservation Plan (NCCP), but instead construct water conveyance facilities through an initiative called California WaterFix.

 

Since then, the Council has worked to develop an amendment to the Delta Plan to promote conveyance options and better integrate new storage opportunities and improved operations. To learn more, please click here.

 

Delta Levees Investment Strategy: The Delta Reform Act of 2009 requires the Council to lead a multi-agency effort to update priorities for State investments in the Delta levee system to reduce the likelihood and consequences of levee failures, to protect people, property, and State interests, while advancing the coequal goals. In response, the Council began the development of the Delta Levees Investment Strategy that will combine risk analysis, economics, engineering, and decision-making techniques to identify funding priorities and assemble a comprehensive investment strategy for the Delta levees. To learn more, please click here.

 

Performance Measures: The Council is further refining the February 2016 performance measures in light of public and Council comments received during updates of DLIS and CSO amendments and seeking feedback from external experts as recommended by the Delta Independent Science Board. To learn more, please click here.

 

Ecosystem: When the Council approved the Delta Plan in 2013, it adopted policies and recommendations in Chapter 4 directing agencies to restore aquatic habitat and improve water quality while respecting local land uses and expanding opportunities for nature-based recreation and tourism. While that general direction holds true, much has changed in the past five years.

 

Through a public process lasting through early 2019, the Council will work with partner agencies, stakeholders, and the public to build upon, further refine, and amend Chapter 4 of the Delta Plan. Currently, the chapter includes regulations covering flow, introduction of nonnative invasive species, and criteria for priority restoration sites. To learn more, please click here.

 

Coequal goals

The Delta Stewardship Council was created in legislation to achieve the state mandated coequal goals for the Delta. "'Coequal goals' means the two goals of providing a more reliable water supply for California and protecting, restoring, and enhancing the Delta ecosystem. The coequal goals shall be achieved in a manner that protects and enhances the unique cultural, recreational, natural resource, and agricultural values of the Delta as an evolving place." (CA Water Code §85054)