In the Central Valley of California, flood risks, water supplies, and the functioning of ecosystems are linked, with actions in one area affecting the other areas. The majority of flows that pass through the State Plan of Flood Control (SPFC) are regulated by reservoirs operated for flood management, water supply, water quality, power generation, wildlife and fisheries habitat, and recreation. Similarly, the system of river and bypass channels, levees, and water control structures in the Central Valley does more than just contain floodwaters that previously flooded the valley floor for months at a time. It supports agricultural uses in the bypasses, serves as valued recreational areas and open space, helps in the management of surface water supplies and management of groundwater and water quality, and provides critical remnant riparian and floodplain habitats for numerous fish and wildlife species.
The Central Valley Flood Protection Plan (CVFPP) recognizes these interconnections in its approach to flood management. The CVFPP is a long-term planning document that provides a framework for prioritization of investments in the SPFC. It seeks to improve flood risk management (the primary goal), as well as improve operations and maintenance (O&M), promote ecosystem functions, improve institutional support, and promote multi-benefit projects where feasible (supporting goals) (California Department of Water Resources [DWR] 2012a).
This Conservation Strategy (or Strategy) is an integral part of the CVFPP. It supports the attainment of all CVFPP goals, but focuses on the improvement of ecosystem functions through the integration of ecological restoration with flood risk reduction projects where feasible. This Conservation Strategy, including Appendices A-L, describes the basis for recommending various conservation actions and setting long-term objectives for the Central Valley flood management system as a whole. The integration of specific environmental restoration features with DWR’s proposed flood management system improvements is summarized in Chapters 2 and 3 of the CVFPP and will also be described further in the 2017 CVFPP update and supporting documents, such as the Sacramento River Basin-Wide Feasibility Study (BWFS) and the San Joaquin River BWFS.
The Conservation Strategy and CVFPP as a whole would contribute to achieving the California Water Action Plan’s overarching goals of reliability, restoration, and resilience (California Natural Resources Agency, California Department of Food and Agriculture, and California Environmental Protection Agency 2015, 2016). In particular, this Strategy and the CVFPP as a whole are integral to three of the 10 “key actions” identified in the California Water Action Plan:
Increase flood protection.
Protect and restore important ecosystems.
Increase operational and regulatory efficiency.
Note: This document has extensive appendices and errata.
Appendix A: Regulatory Setting, Appendix B: Advance Mitigation; Appendix C: Description of Construction Activities for Structural Modifications; Appendix D: Vegetation Management Strategy; Appendix E: Invasive Plant Management Plan; Appendix F: Existing Conditions; Appendix G: Identification of Target Species and Focussed Conservation Plans; Appendix H: Central Valley Chinook Salmon Rearing Habitat Needed to Satisfy the Anadromous Fish Restoration Program (AFRP) Doubling Goal; Appendix I: Floodplain Restoration Opportunities Analysis; Appendix J: Existing Conservation Objectives from other Plans; Appendix K: Synthesis of Fish Migration Improvement Opportunities in the Central Valley Flood System; Appendix L: Measurable Objectives Development – Summary of Conservation Needs and Scale of Restoration Opportunities; 2016 CVFPP Conservation Strategy: Errata; Conservation Strategy Development Process Overview