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Habitat Restoration in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta and Suisun Marsh: A Review of Science Programs

Delta Stewardship Council (DSC) | April 25th, 2013

Current plans call for the restoration of tens of thousands of acres of mainly intertidal habitat in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta and Suisun Marsh. Restoration on this scale presents both formidable challenges and tremendous opportunities. As part of its legislatively mandated oversight of Delta science programs, the Delta Independent Science Board reviewed these habitat restoration efforts. We held discussions with individuals from state and federal agencies, NGOs, consulting firms, and universities. We were impressed by their dedication, enthusiasm, and knowledge, as well as by the scientific and institutional challenges they face.

Our findings and observations about the restoration efforts are grouped under a series of criteria for a successful restoration program. In such a program: the goals are clearly articulated; the design incorporates spatial and temporal context, adaptive management and flexibility, and monitoring; modeling is used in design and evaluation; planning and implementation are coordinated among projects; the necessary scientific expertise is available; and stakeholders are involved early and often.

Our findings and recommendations agree with those reached independently by National Research Council (NRC) panels. For convenience, as in the Delta Plan, we use “the Delta” to encompass both the statutory Delta and Suisun Marsh.


adaptive management, ecosystem management, habitat restoration, Sacramento–San Joaquin Delta, science management

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