A Delta Transformed: Ecological Functions, Spatial Metrics, and Landscape Change in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta
Keywords:ecosystem management, habitat restoration, history, Sacramento–San Joaquin Delta
The Twin Tunnels: Ruinous to Ratepayers, Catastrophic for the Environment$0.00 Add to Downloads
The Twin Tunnels: Ruinous to Ratepayers, Catastrophic for the EnvironmentCalifornia Water Impact Network (C-WIN) | January 1, 2014...Summary
Water is California’s most essential resource. It is limited in availability—in some years, extremely limited, forcing devastating delivery cut-backs to cities, farms and...Water is California’s most essential resource. It is limited in availability—in some years, extremely limited, forcing devastating delivery cut-backs to cities, farms and the environment. A recent paper in Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment concludes that the average flow in the Sacramento River—the state’s major source for developed surface water—could decrease by 20 percent by 2050 largely due to climate change. By that same year, California’s population is expected to top 50 million, up from the current figure of 38 million. In other words, our water supplies will dwindle as our population burgeons.Meanwhile, the state’s water delivery policies are already demonstrably incapable of providing water to citizens, agriculture and commerce while simultaneously sustaining essential ecosystems. In response, Governor Jerry Brown and his allies in the state legislature and agribusiness are promoting the “Twin Tunnels” boondoggle: a massive conveyance system that will shunt water under the Sacramento/San Joaquin Delta to the south state.
Restoring Habitat with Science and Society in Mind$0.00 Add to Downloads
Restoring Habitat with Science and Society in MindDelta Stewardship Council | April 8, 2014...Summary
This Issue Paper, authored by Jessica Davenport, the Council's Program Manager for Ecosystem Restoration and Land Use, is entitled Restoring Habitat with Science...
This Issue Paper, authored by Jessica Davenport, the Council's Program Manager for Ecosystem Restoration and Land Use, is entitled Restoring Habitat with Science and Society in Mind. The purpose of the 22-page paper is to survey restoration activities in the Delta; describe the needs, progress and opportunities related to restoration; and propose key areas of focus for the Delta Stewardship Council and other agencies to advance habitat restoration.
Some of the areas of focus for Council staff for the next two years include:
Continue to provide early consultation on habitat restoration projects that are Covered Actions under the Delta Plan in order to advise project proponents on using best available science and adaptive management and avoiding or reducing conflicts with existing uses, where feasible.
Report on habitat performance measures by December 2014 and again in December 2015.
Work with others to complete at least one of the landscape-scale conceptual models and associated landscape habitat metrics for the priority habitat restoration areas.
Enagage Delta Plan Interagency Implementation Committee members in discussions of challenges and potential solutions related to land acquistion and permit coordination.
Financing Delta Improvements and Environmental Mitigation$0.00 Add to Downloads
Financing Delta Improvements and Environmental MitigationCalifornia Research Bureau | September 1, 2008...Summary
Resolution of the Delta’s water supply, water quality, and fish problems may involve building various structures, possibly including gates, pumps, canals, levees, and...
Resolution of the Delta’s water supply, water quality, and fish problems may involve building various structures, possibly including gates, pumps, canals, levees, and dams, and undertaking landscaping rearrangements to improve habitat for several species of flora and fauna. Resolution also involves changing water flow regimes in ways that would make more or less water, but probably less, available for human uses. This work and these changes will cost serious money. Cost estimates for many of these actions have not yet been developed.
This paper explores approaches to financing these “improvements” and “mitigations.” While a little abstract, this is abstraction that matters. It will determine from whose pockets a good deal of money will come.
California has a long history of financing water projects. The first section of this paper reviews this history, in hopes of identifying water-financing principles that might be adapted to Delta improvements and mitigation. Some deep-seated controversies about how Delta improvements should be financed have roots in this history, and it may be helpful to point them out.
A core idea in California’s approach to financing water projects is that beneficiaries should pay for them. Decades ago, this was a straightforward proposition – people or water districts should pay for the necessary dams, canals, and pumps and the costs of operating them in proportion to the amount of water they received. In the current age of rising environmental sensitivity, it is a little muddier. An alternative formulation that applies, at least crudely, to housing developments and highway projects, is that project proponents should pay to mitigate at least some of the environmental harm that their project is likely to cause. The second section of this paper explores this controversial subject. It seems unlikely that any consensus can be reached about how to finance facilities in the Delta without reaching some agreement about how to deal with this matter.
This paper was first issued in July, 2008. This version contains a few clarifications made in response to the Blue Ribbon Task Force’s reviewers. The author is grateful for their suggestions.
Enhancing the Vision for Managing California’s Environmental Information$0.00 Add to Downloads
Enhancing the Vision for Managing California’s Environmental InformationDelta Stewardship Council | July 1, 2015...Summary
The Environmental Data Summit, convened under the auspices of the Delta Stewardship Council’s Delta Science Program in June 2014, witnessed remarkable participation from...
The Environmental Data Summit, convened under the auspices of the Delta Stewardship Council’s Delta Science Program in June 2014, witnessed remarkable participation from experts across California, the nation, and even the world. Summit attendees from the public, private, federal, and non-profit sectors shared their views regarding the urgent needs and proposed solutions for California’s data-sharing and data-integration challenges, especially pertaining to the subject of environmental resource management in the era of “big data.”
After all, this is a time when our data sources are growing in number, size, and complexity. Yet our ability to manage and analyze such data in service of effective decision-making lags far behind our demonstrated needs.
In its review of the sustainability of water and environmental management in the California Bay-Delta, the National Research Council (NRC) found that “only a synthetic, integrated, analytical approach to understanding the effects of suites of environmental factors (stressors) on the ecosystem and its components is likely to provide important insights that can lead to enhancement of the Delta and its species” (National Research Council 2012).
The present “silos of data” have resulted in separate and compartmentalized science, impeding our ability to make informed decisions. While resolving data integration challenges will not, by itself, produce better science or better natural resource outcomes, progress in this area will provide a strong foundation for decision-making. Various mandates ranging from the California Water Action Plan to the President’s executive order demanding federal open data policies demonstrate the consensus on the merits of modern data sharing at the scale and function needed to meet today’s challenges.
This white paper emerges from the Summit as an instrument to help identify such opportunities to enhance California’s cross-jurisdictional data management. As a resource to policymakers, agency leadership, data managers, and others, this paper articulates some key challenges as well as proven solutions that, with careful and thoughtful coordination, can be implemented to overcome those obstacles. Primarily featured are tools that complement the State’s current investments in technology, recognizing that success depends upon broad and motivated participation from all levels of the public agency domain.
This document describes examples, practices, and recommendations that focus on California’s Delta as an opportune example likely to yield meaningful initial results in the face of pressing challenges. Once proven in the Delta, however, this paper’s recommended innovations would conceivably be applied statewide in subsequent phases.