Keywords:anadromous fish, ecosystem management, endangered species, fisheries, native fish, Sacramento–San Joaquin Delta, science management, water quality
In 2014, the California Natural Resources Agency and the U.S. Department of the Interior asked the authors of this paper, as four former...
In 2014, the California Natural Resources Agency and the U.S. Department of the Interior asked the authors of this paper, as four former leaders of The Delta Science Program, to summarize the challenges faced by water supply and ecological resource managers in this critically important region of Northern California. They concluded that the challenges are so
complex as to meet the definition of a “wicked” problem. Such problems can’t be ignored, defy straightforward characterization, and have no simple solutions. Yet they must be actively managed to maximize
beneficial and minimize adverse outcomes.
In this context, the following paper calls for Delta management to become more nimble and better coordinated.
A vast watershed connects the mountain streams surrounding California’s Central Valley with San Francisco Bay and the ocean beyond. Over the course of...
A vast watershed connects the mountain streams surrounding California’s Central Valley with San Francisco Bay and the ocean beyond. Over the course of the last two centuries, much of the natural productivity, biodiversity and ecological integrity of the watershed has been destroyed by modifying the environment without fully understanding the long-term environmental consequences. Long the site of some of the nation’s most intensive conflicts over the use of land and water resources, this system is now emerging as the focus of one of the most ambitious ecological restoration efforts ever undertaken in the United States.
This report was designed to provide a coherent and defensible ecological framework and information base for restoration. The need for such an historical, broad-scale perspective on system ecology stems from two fundamental principles of ecological restoration - the need to manage toward a natural template and to manage at ecosystem and landscape levels.
San Francisco Bay (California, USA) and its local watersheds present an interesting case study in estuarine mercury (Hg) contamination. This review focuses on...
San Francisco Bay (California, USA) and its local watersheds present an interesting case study in estuarine mercury (Hg) contamination. This review focuses on the most promising avenues for attempting to reduce methylmercury (MeHg) contamination in Bay Area aquatic food webs and identifying the scientific information that is most urgently needed to support these efforts.
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.