Delta Levees Investment Strategy

Aerial view of repair work being done at the Jones Tract levee breach site.

Background

The Delta Reform Act of 2009 called on the Delta Stewardship Council to lead a multi-agency effort to update priorities for State investments in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta levee system to reduce the likelihood and consequences of levee failures, to protect people, property, and state interests, while advancing the coequal goals of improving water supply reliability, restoring the Delta ecosystem, and protecting and enhancing the values of the Delta as an evolving place.

In response, in the spring of 2014, the Council launched the Delta Levees Investment Strategy (DLIS), which combined risk analysis, economics, engineering, and decision-making techniques to identify funding priorities and assembled a comprehensive investment strategy for the Delta levees.

Development

The DLIS was developed in collaboration with State agencies, local reclamation districts, Delta landowners and businesses, and other stakeholders. It is based on the best available data, and lessons learned from other State and local programs and planning efforts.

Amendment

Between 2014 and 2018, the DLIS was discussed at 40 meetings with technical experts, 27 Council meetings, and 4 public workshops. In April 2018, the DLIS was included in Delta Plan amendments that were adopted by the Council. In 2019, the Council initiated a rulemaking process to adopt the DLIS and the Delta Plan amendments into regulation. The Council held a public comment period from July 5, 2019, to August 19, 2019, and convened a public hearing during the Council’s public meeting on August 22, 2019.

Also, in 2019, the California Department of Water Resources (DWR) published new Light Detection and Ranging (or LiDAR) elevation imaging of the Delta and Suisun Marsh for 2017. The LiDAR imaging provided updated information about the height of levees and island floors. To allow for more time to evaluate the LiDAR information to determine whether the priorities identified in the DLIS, the 2018 Delta Plan amendments, and the proposed regulation needed to be modified because of changed levee or island conditions, the Council issued a Notice of Decision Not to Proceed with the proposed regulation on March 26, 2020. The Council also amended the Delta Plan to restore the version of Delta Plan Policy RR P1 adopted in 2013.

Beginning in April 2020, the Council worked to update the risk assessment with new levee geometry and hydraulic data. The initial results were presented to the Council at its May 2021 meeting. Additional refinements were made to the prioritization to account for socially vulnerable populations. The adjusted results were brought to the Council at its August 2021 meeting. The Council adopted Resolution 2021-2 (Resolution) which adopted revisions to the policy set forth in Section 5012, approved the addendum to the Environmental Impact Report for the Delta Plan Amendments, and directed the initiation of this rulemaking process to amend Section 5012 and Section 5001.

In August 2022, the Council began rulemaking with updated priorities. This update would assign a priority of very-high, high, or other to each island or tract located within the legal boundaries of the Delta and Suisun Marsh.

Additionally, under the proposed amendment, the DWR would fund levee improvement projects at very-high priority islands or tracts before funding levee improvement projects at high or other priority islands or tracts. If available funds are sufficient to fully fund levee improvements at the very-high priority islands or tracts, then levee improvements on high priority islands or tracts may be provided, and after those projects have been fully funded, then levee improvement projects at other priority islands or tracts may be funded.

The proposed amendment would also require the DWR to submit an annual report to the Council including information describing Delta levee investments relative to the priorities.

A graphic of a timeline showing actions taken while amending the Delta Levees Investment Strategy.

Administrative Procedure Act Rulemaking Process Comment Period

The written public comment period is EXTENDED through 11:59 PM on November 16, 2022. The public hearing date is RESCHEDULED from October 27, 2022, to November 17, 2022. Any interested person, or an authorized representative, may submit written comments relevant to the proposed regulatory action. View the revised Notice of Proposed Rulemaking to learn how to submit public comments.

Comments will also be received at a public hearing on November 17, 2022, at the Council’s public meeting. This item will be considered at a regularly scheduled public meeting of the Council, which is anticipated to commence at 9:00 AM. This item may be heard at any time during the regularly scheduled meeting. A meeting notice that confirms the time at which this agenda item will be considered will be available on the Council’s meetings web page at least ten days before the meeting.

The following corrected documents were submitted to the Office of Administrative Law (OAL) and assigned the notice file number: Z-2022-0909-01. They are available for download and review by clicking on the links provided below.

Revised Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (205 KB)

This corrected document announces the availability of the rulemaking documents for review and the time and location of the public hearing. The Notice includes a summary description of the proposed regulation, the authority under which it is proposed, its relationship to other laws and regulations, and a statement summarizing any fiscal and economic impacts.

Corrected Proposed Amendment to Existing Regulation (648 KB)

This document identifies the text of the proposed regulation amendment.

The following documents were submitted to the Office of Administrative Law (OAL) and assigned the notice file number: Z-2022-0816-07. They are available for download and review by clicking on the links provided below.

Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (205 KB)

This document announces the availability of the rulemaking documents for review and the time and location of the public hearing. The Notice includes a summary description of the proposed regulation, the authority under which it is proposed, its relationship to other laws and regulations, and a statement summarizing any fiscal and economic impacts.

Initial Statement of Reasons (including Attachment 1, Economic and Fiscal Impact Assessment) (3 MB)

This document describes the purpose of each provision in the proposed amendment to the regulation and how the provision is reasonably necessary to achieve that purpose. It also discusses the benefits, reasonable alternatives considered, and the Council's reasons for selecting the amendment to the proposed regulation. Additionally, Attachment 1 is a supporting document evaluating the questions addressed in the Economic and Fiscal Impact Statement (Form STD. 399) as well as a Cost Analysis describing expected costs and benefits of the proposed rulemaking.

Economic and Fiscal Impact Statement (415 KB) (Form STD. 399)

This document is a standardized form that summarizes the potential effects of the regulation on private businesses and individuals, including effects on the cost of housing. It also provides an assessment of the proposed regulation's fiscal impact on local governments, State government, and federal funding of State programs.

Additional documents associated with this rulemaking process can be accessed by emailing oal_recordsRRP1@deltacouncil.ca.gov.