CALFED’s Delta Solutions
The Delta is complex. It is the only major estuary in the United States that serves the dual purpose of being an ecosystem for more than 750 flora and fauna and the single most significant water conveyance vehicle in the state. All other major estuaries in the nation serve one purpose, and in most cases, it is an ecosystem function.
Because of its complexity, the Delta, struggles with an equally complex set of challenges. By 2007, which marked the end of the first seven years of the CALFED Record of Decision (ROD), three major initiatives were underway to ensure ROD commitments were met and to establish a strategy to sustain the problem-riddled Delta into the future. Additionally, there were numerous studies underway to deal with specific Delta issues.
End of Stage 1
The seventh year of the CALFED Record of Decision (ROD) is a point in its 30-year lifespan when key decision-making is required. At this juncture, the ROD requires that two key decisions be made about the future of water flowing through the Delta.
- Should additional surface storage be constructed in the Delta’s watershed?
- Is the conveyance of water through the Delta to other parts of the state still working?
CALFED is working on assessing these questions and actions taken during Stage 1 to assess the seven year effort and set forth actions for Stage 2 of the CALFED ROD. In addition to the End of Stage 1/Beginning of Stage 2 assessment and planning effort, two other major Delta efforts are under way: Delta Vision and the Bay-Delta Conservation Plan.
Delta Vision is a broad initiative designed to study the Delta from all perspectives – not only as a source of water and a unique ecosystem. It was created by Executive Order of the Governor and given the ultimate task of developing a strategy for the Delta’s sustainable future by the end of 2008. The strategic plan that emerges from Delta Vision will include comprehensive recommendations that address the Delta from a broad perspective: environment, water quality and supply, levees, land use, recreation, transportation and utility infrastructure, quality of life, safety, etc.
Bay-Delta Conservation Plan
Modeled after a Habitat Conservation Plan (HCP) and/or a Natural Communities Conservation Plan (NCCP), the Bay-Delta Conservation Plan or BDCP is an agreement among state, federal, regional and stakeholder groups for funding assurances, cooperation and coordination for integrated implementation of aspects of the CALFED Bay-Delta Program. Parties to the plan must show balance between actions proposed and needs of endangered species. The completed BDCP is expected to cover a subset of species and habitats within CALFED’s purview and provide a mechanism with which to address improvements. A BDCP Planning Agreement has been completed and a draft BDCP is scheduled for completion in late 2007.