The Delta has been embroiled in controversy about how to restore
a faltering ecosystem while maintaining its role as the hub of
the state’s water supply.
Issues include improving water system management, estuary health,
conservation efforts to protect the endangered Delta smelt, levee
fragility and the proposed twin tunnels, which will be put on a
statewide ballot in the future.
One key source of conflict over the Sacramento–San Joaquin
Delta is the competition over who gets to use the water. …
New data from the 2014 water year illustrate the tough
trade-offs California faces.
As California struggles with a devastating drought, huge
amounts of water are mysteriously vanishing from the
Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta – and the prime suspects are
farmers whose families have tilled fertile soil there for
Gov. Jerry Brown confirmed Saturday that his administration has
changed its permitting approach for his controversial plan to
build a pair of massive tunnels to divert water around the
Delta to the south.
Gov. Jerry Brown has billed his $25 billion plan to build two
massive tunnels under the Delta as a way to not just make it
easier to move water from north to south, but also increase the
reliability of water supplies and bring back salmon and other
While the project did not receive the same headlines as Jerry
Brown’s mandatory water restriction announcement last week, the
governor’s emergency order streamlined permitting and review of
the emergency drought salinity barriers.
State water officials have approved the latest plan to bypass
Delta water-quality standards and “significantly reduce” river
flows. The action will allow them to hold back more water in
[The Delta Counties] Coalition leaders have met with
policymakers, local governments, and water and environmental
stakeholders to discuss alternatives to building a
taxpayer-funded, multibillion-dollar twin tunnels project that
has been negotiated without broad input, violates state and
federal environmental law, and won’t deliver a single drop of
new water. As a result, we have developed a statewide solution
that genuinely meets the criteria of the 2009 law that
established co-equal goals of water supply reliability and
restoring the Delta ecosystem.
State and federal water agencies again are seeking permission
to bypass water-quality rules in the Delta in order to hold
back more water in upstream reservoirs while pumping a limited
amount south from the estuary.
Pat Mulroy, the former leader of the Southern Nevada Water
Authority, delivered a bluntly worded warning to attendees at
the California Water Policy Conference in Claremont, saying the
linkage between the Delta and much of the West is clear, “yet
many here in California still don’t see the connection.”
To many, the notion of water to the ocean is akin to water
wasted. … But outside of improving habitat for native
species, there are multiple indirect benefits derived from
water currently running into the Delta. The most conspicuous is
improved water quality.
Persons claiming senior water rights in the Sacramento-San
Joaquin Delta watershed will be required to provide the State
Water Resources Control Board (State Water Board) detailed
information on the water rights they claim and diversions
associated with those rights under a new order issued by the
State Water Board.
There’s money for restoring the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta,
likely to survive congressional winnowing. Proposed upgrades at
places like Yosemite National Park will probably find Capitol
Hill favor, as well, along with funding for Central Valley
flood control and dam improvements.
The report, “Achieving State Goals for the Sacramento-San
Joaquin Delta,” examines past initiatives to address Delta
problems, including the peripheral canal proposed in the 1980s
and the CALFED Bay-Delta Program created in 1994. It also looks
at current efforts such as the Bay Delta Conservation Plan and
the Delta Stewardship Council’s Delta Plan.
A federal appeals court Monday overruled objections by Central
Valley farmers, water districts and a federal judge and upheld
the government’s reduction of water shipments from the
Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta in order to protect salmon,
steelhead trout and other species.
Ruling that water from the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta
is important not just for people but also for the fish that
swim in it, a federal appeals court on Monday backed
environmental restrictions on deliveries to urban Southern
California and San Joaquin Valley agriculture.
Goodness gracious, politicians and state officials are abuzz
these days about the water hyacinth problem in the Delta waters
around Stockton. … Which begs the questions: Where was this
fervent reaction in 2013? And 2012? And 2011? And 2010?
The massive water diversion tunnels proposed in the
Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta have undergone another major
design change aimed at appeasing local residents: The three
intakes planned on the Sacramento River will no longer require
The State Water Resources Control Board announced yesterday
that it has appointed Michael George to serve as the new Delta
Watermaster. George, who is only the second Watermaster to be
appointed since the position’s inception in 2009, will replace
outgoing Delta Watermaster Craig Wilson and serve a four-year
Recent storms have mostly cleared Stockton waterways that were
hijacked by hyacinth the past two months, but officials at a
standing-room-only town hall meeting Monday said it’s important
to stay focused on the future.
State officials said the weather is playing a role in ridding
the delta of a stubborn water weed that has plagued Stockton’s
Waterfront, but added that the state is also upping its efforts
to finish off the pesky plant.
A public workshop Tuesday in West Sacramento will help
illuminate some of the complicated connections between
freshwater flows in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta and
landscape conditions as far away as the Sierra Nevada crest.
Restoration in the Delta has always been challenging, at best.
… The proposed Delta Restoration Hub is an
integrative model for planning, implementation, and
analysis. intended to address the high levels of
coordination and integration necessary to meet the challenges
of designing and implementing multiple restoration
The Village West Marina in Stockton recently came up with a
possible solution to help weed out the growing water hyacinth
problem, but the San Joaquin County Sheriff’s Department put an
end to the plans for now, saying it breaks a harbor navigation
In June of 2014, the Delta Science Program hosted an
Environmental Data Summit, which brought together scientists,
managers, and experts to discuss how to increase data and
information sharing using new technologies. A white paper
will soon be released, which details the challenges, solutions,
and strategies gathered from summit participants.
As Chair of the Delta Stewardship Council, Randy Fiorini heads
the agency that is charged with developing and implementing a
long term plan for the Delta that will achieve the coequal
goals, and to do so through the use of best available science.
At the 2014 Bay Delta Science Conference plenary session, Randy
Fiorini outlined his vision for creating a winning team between
the Delta science community and policy makers that can work
together to address the problems facing the Bay-Delta.
Prior to joining the USGS last year, Dr. [Anke] Mueller-Solger
was the Interagency Ecological Program Lead Scientist for six
years. In this second speech from the plenary session of the
2014 Bay Delta Science Conference, Dr. Anke Mueller-Solger
talks about the changing state of California, new approaches to
resolving scientific uncertainties in the estuary, and how
scientists and policy makers can work together better through
collaboration and cooperation.
The 8th Biennial Bay-Delta Science Conference, held October 28
through 30th, 2014 in Sacramento, brought together over 1000
scientists, managers and policymakers to hear the latest
research, understanding and ideas about the complex Delta
ecosystem. Click here for more coverage of the Bay Delta
Science Conference. Over the upcoming weeks, Maven’s Notebook
will be providing coverage of many of the sessions and
presentations at this year’s conference.
Since January of 2012, Dr. [Peter] Goodwin has served as the
Lead Scientist for the Delta Science Program. In this third
installment of speakers from the plenary session of the 2014
Bay Delta Science Conference, Dr. Goodwin talks about how far
the Delta science has since his appointment, listing six things
the Delta science community has learned in the past two years.
Every fall and winter at sunset, the sky above Staten Island
fills with majestic sandhill cranes alighting in the fields.
The sight is more spectacular than usual this year, as the
number of cranes wintering on the island in the Sacramento-San
Joaquin Delta has doubled over the same time in 2013.
Sometimes, people take identical facts and reach opposite
conclusions. I don’t dispute the facts that Dr. Rob Santos, the
veterinarian and Turlock Irrigation District board member, used
when he wrote “Here’s why I can’t vote for Brown’s water bond”
(Oct. 19, Issues & Ideas).
The Delta is no longer really a delta — or at least, it doesn’t
function like one, scientists conclude in a new report. … The
report by the San Francisco Estuary Institute, funded by the
state Department of Fish and Wildlife, is intended to help
guide future habitat restoration efforts in the Delta.
“In wet years, dry years and every type of water year in
between, the daily intrusion and retreat of salinity in the
Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta is a constant pattern.” The
newest issue of Western Water magazine examines salinity in the
San Francisco-San Joaquin Delta, a vital estuary and critical
juncture of the state’s water delivery system. Read more
excerpts from this issue.
California’s historic drought has put the state’s water
problems in the forefront this year and those problems aren’t
likely to be solved when the clouds open up again. Nowhere is
that more apparent than in the water system’s central hub — the
Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta.
The newest issue of Western Water magazine examines salinity in
the San Francisco-San Joaquin Delta, a vital estuary and
critical juncture of the state’s water delivery system. Written
by the Foundation’s Gary Pitzer, the September/October issue
discusses the how salinity during drought is affecting fish,
wildlife and farms. … Read the excerpts from this issue.
To John Laird, Secretary of the California Natural Resources
Agency: The hyacinth situation in parts of the California Delta
has become a disaster. The navigable part of the Calaveras
River is completely filled in with the pest as are Buckley
Cove, downtown Stockton harbor, Whiskey Slough, much of the San
Joaquin River and many other areas — this is just a sampling.
With Stockton’s water hyacinth invasion seeming to only get
worse, San Joaquin County legislators on Friday asked state
officials to request a “sustained funding source” from the
federal government to fight back against the prolific weeds.
Restoring the ecological health of the Delta is critical to
California’s water system. It’s also a prime reason why voters
should approve Proposition 1, the $7.5 billion water bond on
the November ballot.
For the second year in a row, despite state officials’ efforts
to control water hyacinth with herbicides as early as March,
another bumper crop is now making its annual fall push into
Stockton and other portions of the Delta.
California’s roughly 375 game wardens, each of whom patrols on
average more than 400 square miles, have been called the “thin
green line.” They are all that stand between poachers and their
prey. They are trying to preserve what’s left.
Planning is underway for three special FREE Delta issues
workshops in 2014.
On January 28 and 29, two half-day workshops on Finding
Ways to Restore Delta Habitat and Protect Property Owners. The
workshops are cosponsored by the Water Education Foundation and
the Delta Conservancy.
Each workshop will be from 1-5 p.m. The January 28 free workshop
will be at the Mokelumne High School Auditorium in Courtland,
Calif. The January 29 free workshop will be at the Roberts Union
Farm Center in Stockton.
This issue of Western Water discusses the CALFED Bay-Delta
Program and what the future holds as it enters a crucial period.
From its continued political viability to the advancement of best
available science and the challenges of fulfilling the ROD, the
near future will feature a lively discussion that will play a
significant role in the program’s future.
This issue of Western Water examines the Sacramento-San
Joaquin Delta as it stands today and the efforts by government
agencies, policy experts, elected officials and the public at
large to craft a vision for a sustainable future.
There are multiple Delta Vision processes underway and a decision
on the future of the Delta will be made in the next two years.
Unlike past planning efforts that focused primarily on water
resource issues and the ecosystem, these current efforts are
expanding to include land use planning, recreation, flood
management, and energy, rail and transportation infrastructure.
How – or if – all these competing demands can be accommodated is
the question being considered.
This printed copy of Western Water examines the Delta through the
many ongoing activities focusing on it, most notably the Delta
Vision process. Many hours of testimony, research, legal
proceedings, public hearings and discussion have occurred and
will continue as the state seeks the ultimate solution to the
problems tied to the Delta.
This printed issue of Western Water looks at some of
the pieces of the 2009 water legislation, including the Delta
Stewardship Council, the new requirements for groundwater
monitoring and the proposed water bond.
This printed issue of Western Water examines science –
the answers it can provide to help guide management decisions in
the Delta and the inherent uncertainty it holds that can make
moving forward such a tenuous task.
This printed issue of Western Water examines the issues
associated with the State Water Board’s proposed revision of the
water quality Bay-Delta Plan, most notably the question of
whether additional flows are needed for the system, and how they
might be provided.
This printed issue of Western Water features a
roundtable discussion with Anthony Saracino, a water resources
consultant; Martha Davis, executive manager of policy development
with the Inland Empire Utilities Agency and senior policy advisor
to the Delta Stewardship Council; Stuart Leavenworth, editorial
page editor of The Sacramento Bee and Ellen Hanak, co-director of
research and senior fellow at the Public Policy Institute of
This issue of Western Water looks at the BDCP and the
Coalition to Support Delta Projects, issues that are aimed at
improving the health and safety of the Delta while solidifying
California’s long-term water supply reliability.
This 25-minute documentary-style DVD, developed in partnership
with the California Department of Water Resources, provides an
excellent overview of climate change and how it is already
affecting California. The DVD also explains what scientists
anticipate in the future related to sea level rise and
precipitation/runoff changes and explores the efforts that are
underway to plan and adapt to climate.
The 24-page Layperson’s Guide to the Delta explores the competing
uses and demands on California’s Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta.
Included in the guide are sections on the history of the Delta,
its role in the state’s water system, and its many complex issues
with sections on water quality, levees, salinity and agricultural
drainage, fish and wildlife, and water distribution.
The 24-page Layperson’s Guide to the Central Valley Project
explores the history and development of the federal Central
Valley Project (CVP), California’s largest surface water delivery
system. In addition to the project’s history, the guide describes
the various CVP facilities, CVP operations, the benefits the CVP
brought to the state and the CVP Improvement Act (CVPIA).
The San Francisco Bay/Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta ecosystem
needs freshwater to survive. How much water and where it comes
from is a longstanding debate that is flaring up as the state
embarks on an updated water quality plan for the Bay-Delta.
The Delta Plan is a comprehensive management plan for the
Joaquin Delta intended to help the state meet the coequal
goals of water reliability and ecosystem restoration.
Stewardship Council, which oversees the Delta Plan, adopted a
final version in May 2013 after three years of study and public
meetings. Once completed, the Bay Delta Conservation Plan could
be incorporated into the Delta Plan.
15-minute DVD that graphically portrays the potential disaster
should a major earthquake hit the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta.
“Delta Warning” depicts what would happen in the event of an
earthquake registering 6.5 on the Richter scale: 30 levee breaks,
16 flooded islands and a 300 billion gallon intrusion of salt
water from the Bay – the “big gulp” – which would shut down the
State Water Project and Central Valley Project pumping plants.
30-minute DVD that traces the history of the U.S. Bureau of
Reclamation and its role in the development of the West. Includes
extensive historic footage of farming and the construction of
dams and other water projects, and discusses historic and modern
Water truly has shaped California into the great state it is
today. And if it is water that made California great, it’s the
fight over – and with – water that also makes it so critically
important. In efforts to remap California’s circulatory system,
there have been some critical events that had a profound impact
on California’s water history. These turning points not only
forced a re-evaluation of water, but continue to impact the lives
of every Californian. This 2005 PBS documentary offers a
historical and current look at the major water issues that shaped
the state we know today. Includes a 12-page viewer’s guide with
background information, historic timeline and a teacher’s lesson.
Water as a renewable resource is depicted in this 18×24 inch
poster. Water is renewed again and again by the natural
hydrologic cycle where water evaporates, transpires from plants,
rises to form clouds, and returns to the earth as precipitation.
Excellent for elementary school classroom use.
This 24×36 inch poster, suitable for framing, explains how
non-native invasive animals can alter the natural ecosystem,
leading to the demise of native animals. “Unwelcome Visitors”
features photos and information on four such species – including
the zerbra mussel – and explains the environmental and economic
threats posed by these species.
This 24×36 inch poster, suitable for framing, explains how
non-native invasive plants can alter the natural ecosystem,
leading to the demise of native plants and animals. “Space
Invaders” features photos and information on six non-native
plants that have caused widespread problems in the Bay-Delta
Estuary and elsewhere.
The 24-page Layperson’s Guide to California Water provides an
excellent overview of the history of water development and use in
California. It includes sections on flood management; the state,
federal and Colorado River delivery systems; Delta issues; water
rights; environmental issues; water quality; and options for
stretching the water supply such as water marketing and
The importance of the San Francisco Bay/Sacramento-San Joaquin
Delta to all Californians from Redding to San Diego is the theme
of this 60-minute program hosted by actor Timothy Busfield of
“thirtysomething.” Produced in 1998 and updated in 1999, the
program is designed to teach the public about where and what the
Delta is, its importance to farms, cities and the environment,
the history of its development and the options now being
discussed by CALFED – the joint state-federal government effort
to solve water supply and environmental issues.
“State officials unveiled a longer-term plan to deal with the
drought Wednesday, one which relaxes some water-quality standards
and endangered species protections in the Delta to allow for more
water to be sent south to parched cities and farms.”
“Three hundred thousand juvenile chinook with tiny coded chips
lodged in their heads were released in Rio Vista and under the
Golden Gate Bridge over the past two days in an experiment to
determine optimal conditions for hatchery-raised salmon to
survive and imprint on their native rivers.”
A new look for our most popular product! And it’s the perfect
gift for the water wonk in your life.
Our 24×36 inch California Water Map is widely known for being the
definitive poster that shows the integral role water plays in the
state. On this updated version, it is easier to see California’s
natural waterways and man-made reservoirs and aqueducts
– including federally, state and locally funded
projects – the wild and scenic rivers system, and
natural lakes. The map features beautiful photos of
California’s natural environment, rivers, water projects,
wildlife, and urban and agricultural uses and the
text focuses on key issues: water supply, water use, water
projects, the Delta, wild and scenic rivers and the Colorado
“The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is seeking public comment on an
emergency proposal by California water officials to temporarily
dam three channels in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta in
response to the drought.”
“Hood, California, is a farming town of 200 souls, crammed up
against a levee that protects it from the Sacramento River.
… I’ve come here because this little patch of land is the
key location in Governor Jerry Brown’s proposed $25 billion plan
to fix California’s troubled water transport system.”
Overseen by the California Department of Water Resources,
California Department of Fish and Wildlife and the U.S. Army
Corps of Engineers, the Delta Risk Management Strategy evaluated
the sustainability of the
Joaquin Delta and assessed major risks from floods, seepage,
subsidence and earthquakes, sea level rise and climate change.
The critical condition of the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta has
prompted the question of how it can continue to serve as a source
of water for 25 million people while remaining a viable
ecosystem, agricultural community and growing residential center.
Developing a “dual conveyance” system of continuing to use Delta
waterways to convey water to the export pumps but also building a
new pipeline or canal to move some water supplies around the
Delta is an issue of great scrutiny.
Consider the array of problems facing the Sacramento- San Joaquin
Delta for too long and the effect can be nearly overwhelming.
Permanently altered more than a century ago, the estuary -
arguably the only one of its kind – is an enigma to those outside
its realm, a region embroiled in difficulties that resist simple,