The Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta (Delta) is California’s most
crucial water and ecological resource. The Delta is formed by the
Sacramento River flowing south to meet the north-flowing San
Joaquin River just south of Sacramento, where the rivers mingle
with smaller tributaries and tidal flows, and move out into San
The Bay Delta Conservation Plan is a process for obtaining
long-term project permits for the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta
centering on the equal goals of conservation of species and
helping to improve water supplies and delivery.
The Delta smelt is an endangered 3-inch fish that is found only
in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta. The smelt’s tendency to swim
near the State Water Project and Central Valley Project export
pumps in the South Delta has complicated water deliveries to
farmers and cities.
The San Francisco Bay (Bay) drains water from 40 percent of
California. This includes flows originating from the Sierra
Nevada mountain range and the Sacramento and San Joaquin rivers
that make their way down through Sacramento-San Joaquin Bay Delta
through the Bay to the Pacific Ocean.