Flows and Ecosystem Function Dominate Delta Plan Amendment

SF Estuary Magazine –

With the Delta lagging behind the Bay on four of the State of the Estuary Report’s five indicators, the last long-range plan for restoring its ecological health abandoned, and the threats from climate change becoming ever more alarming, the need for a new regulatory vision for the region may never have been greater. A pending amendment to the Delta Plan, shared by Ron Melcer at the State of the Estuary Conference as part of a policy update session, is meant to provide that vision and the strategies to achieve it.

The amendment — to Chapter Four of the Delta Plan, which focuses on the Delta ecosystem — was developed in response to the state’s pivot away from the 2013 Bay-Delta Conservation Plan (BDCP), said Melcer. “The Delta Plan was [originally] written anticipating that the BDCP would be adopted and then implemented,” he said, “so the high-level objective of the amendment is really just putting a framework back on the landscape that thinks comprehensively about ecosystem issues and species recovery.”

The amendment is based on three papers that synthesize the latest science on the condition of the Delta ecosystem, the effects of climate change, and ecosystem protection, restoration, and enhancement. It includes five core strategies and 15 specific recommendations to guide restoration projects in the Delta, with a view to establishing a resilient, functioning Estuary by 2100.

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