National Academies Press: OpenBook

Sustainable Water and Environmental Management in the California Bay-Delta (2012)

Chapter:Appendix C: Committee on Sustainable Water and Environmental Management in the California Bay-Delta

« Previous: Appendix B: Summary of A Review of the Use of Science and Adaptive Management in California's Draft Bay Delta Conservation Plan
Suggested Citation:"Appendix C: Committee on Sustainable Water and Environmental Management in the California Bay-Delta." National Research Council. 2012. Sustainable Water and Environmental Management in the California Bay-Delta. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/13394.
×

Appendix C

Committee on Sustainable Water
and Environmental Management
in the California Bay-Delta

STATEMENT OF TASK

At the request of Congress and the Departments of the Interior and Commerce, a committee of independent experts will be formed to review the scientific basis of actions that have been and could be taken to simultaneously achieve both an environmentally sustainable Bay-Delta and a reliable water supply. In order to balance the need to inform near-term decisions with the need for an integrated view of water and environmental management challenges over the longer-term, the committee will undertake two main projects over a term of two years resulting in two reports.

First, on March 18, 2010, the committee issued a report focusing on scientific questions, assumptions, and conclusions underlying water-management alternatives in the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s (FWS) Biological Opinion on Coordinated Operations of the Central Valley Project and State Water Project (Dec. 15, 2008) and the National Marine Fisheries Service’s (NMFS) Biological Opinion on the Long-Term Central Valley Project and State Water Project Operations Criteria and Plan (June 4, 2009). This review will consider the following questions.

Are there any “reasonable and prudent alternatives” (RPAs), including but not limited to alternatives considered but not adopted by FWS (e.g., potential entrainment index and the delta smelt behavioral model) and NMFS (e.g., bubble-curtain technology and engineering solutions to reduce diversion of emigrating juvenile salmonids to the interior and southern Delta instead of towards the sea), that, based on the best available scientific data and analysis, (1) would have lesser impacts to other water uses as compared

Suggested Citation:"Appendix C: Committee on Sustainable Water and Environmental Management in the California Bay-Delta." National Research Council. 2012. Sustainable Water and Environmental Management in the California Bay-Delta. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/13394.
×

to those adopted in the biological opinions, and (2) would provide equal or greater protection for the relevant fish species and their designated critical habitat given the uncertainties involved?

Are there provisions in the FWS and NMFS biological opinions to resolve potential incompatibilities between the opinions with regard to actions that would benefit one listed species while causing negative impacts on another, including, but not limited to, prescriptions that: (1) provide spring flows in the Delta in dry years primarily to meet water quality and outflow objectives pursuant to Water Board Decision-1641 and conserve upstream storage for summertime cold water pool management for anadromous fish

Second, in approximately November 2011, the committee will issue a second report on how to most effectively incorporate science and adaptive management concepts into holistic programs for management and restoration of the Bay-Delta. This advice, to the extent possible, should be coordinated in a way that best informs the Bay Delta Conservation Plan development process. The review will include tasks such as the following:

•   Identify the factors that may be contributing to the decline of federally listed species, and as appropriate, other significant at-risk species in the Delta. To the extent practicable, rank the factors contributing to the decline of salmon, steelhead, delta smelt, and green sturgeon in order of their likely impact on the survival and recovery of the species, for the purpose of informing future conservation actions. This task would specifically seek to identify the effects of stressors other than those considered in the biological opinions and their RPAs (e.g., pesticides, ammonia discharges, invasive species) on federally listed and other at-risk species in the Delta, and their effects on baseline conditions. The committee would consider the extent to which addressing stressors other than water exports might result in lesser restrictions on water supply. The committee’s review should include existing scientific information, such as that in the NMFS Southwest Fisheries Science Center’s paper on decline of Central Valley fall-run Chinook salmon, and products developed through the pelagic organism decline studies (including the National Center for Ecosystem Analysis and Synthesis reviews and analyses that are presently under way).

• Identify future water-supply and delivery options that reflect proper consideration of climate change and compatibility with objectives of maintaining a

Suggested Citation:"Appendix C: Committee on Sustainable Water and Environmental Management in the California Bay-Delta." National Research Council. 2012. Sustainable Water and Environmental Management in the California Bay-Delta. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/13394.
×

species; and (2) provide fall flows during wet years in the Delta to benefit Delta smelt, while also conserving carryover storage to benefit next year’s winter-run cohort of salmon in the event that the next year is dry?

To the extent that time permits, the committee would consider the effects of other stressors (e.g., pesticides, ammonia discharges, invasive species) on federally listed and other at-risk species in the Bay-Delta. Details of this task are the first item discussed as part of the committee’s second report, below, and to the degree that they cannot be addressed in the first report they will be addressed in the second.

sustainable Bay-Delta ecosystem. To the extent that water flows through the Delta system contribute to ecosystem structure and functioning, explore flow options that would contribute to sustaining and restoring desired, attainable ecosystem attributes, while providing for urban, industrial, and agricultural uses of tributary, mainstem, and Delta waters, including for drinking water.

•   Identify gaps in available scientific information and uncertainties that constrain an ability to identify the factors described above. This part of the activity should take into account the Draft Central Valley Salmon and Steelhead recovery plans,1 particularly the scientific basis for identification of threats to the species, proposed recovery standards, and the actions identified to achieve recovery.

• Advise, based on scientific information and experience elsewhere, what degree of restoration of the Delta system is likely to be attainable, given ad equate resources. Identify metrics that can be used by resource managers to measure progress toward restoration goals.

The specific details of the tasks to be addressed in this second report will likely be refined after consultation among the departments of the Interior and Commerce, Congress, and the National Research Council, considering stakeholder input, and with the goal of building on, rather than duplicating, efforts already being adequately undertaken by others.

image

1National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). 2009b. Draft Central Valley Salmon and Steelhead Recovery Plan Available on line at http://swr.nmfs.noaa.gov/recovery/centralvalleyplan.htm

Suggested Citation:"Appendix C: Committee on Sustainable Water and Environmental Management in the California Bay-Delta." National Research Council. 2012. Sustainable Water and Environmental Management in the California Bay-Delta. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/13394.
×

This page intentionally left blank.

Suggested Citation:"Appendix C: Committee on Sustainable Water and Environmental Management in the California Bay-Delta." National Research Council. 2012. Sustainable Water and Environmental Management in the California Bay-Delta. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/13394.
×
Page225
Suggested Citation:"Appendix C: Committee on Sustainable Water and Environmental Management in the California Bay-Delta." National Research Council. 2012. Sustainable Water and Environmental Management in the California Bay-Delta. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/13394.
×
Page226
Suggested Citation:"Appendix C: Committee on Sustainable Water and Environmental Management in the California Bay-Delta." National Research Council. 2012. Sustainable Water and Environmental Management in the California Bay-Delta. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/13394.
×
Page227
Suggested Citation:"Appendix C: Committee on Sustainable Water and Environmental Management in the California Bay-Delta." National Research Council. 2012. Sustainable Water and Environmental Management in the California Bay-Delta. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/13394.
×
Page228
Next: Appendix D: Public Session Speakers »
Sustainable Water and Environmental Management in the California Bay-Delta Get This Book
×
Buy Paperback | $53.00 Buy Ebook | $42.99
MyNAP members save 10% online.
Login or Register to save!
Download Free PDF

Extensively modified over the last century and a half, California's San Francisco Bay Delta Estuary remains biologically diverse and functions as a central element in California's water supply system. Uncertainties about the future, actions taken under the federal Endangered Species Act (ESA) and companion California statues, and lawsuits have led to conflict concerning the timing and amount of water that can be diverted from the Delta for agriculture, municipal, and industrial purposes and concerning how much water is needed to protect the Delta ecosystem and its component species.

Sustainable Water and Environmental Management in the California Bay-Delta focuses on scientific questions, assumptions, and conclusions underlying water-management alternatives and reviews the initial public draft of the Bay Delta Conservation Plan in terms of adequacy of its use of science and adaptive management. In addition, this report identifies the factors that may be contributing to the decline of federally listed species, recommend future water-supple and delivery options that reflect proper consideration of climate change and compatibility with objectives of maintaining a sustainable Bay-Delta ecosystem, advises what degree of restoration of the Delta system is likely to be attainable, and provides metrics that can be used by resource managers to measure progress toward restoration goals.

  1. ×

    Welcome to OpenBook!

    You're looking at OpenBook, NAP.edu's online reading room since 1999. Based on feedback from you, our users, we've made some improvements that make it easier than ever to read thousands of publications on our website.

    Do you want to take a quick tour of the OpenBook's features?

    No Thanks Take a Tour »
  2. ×

    Show this book's table of contents, where you can jump to any chapter by name.

    « Back Next »
  3. ×

    ...or use these buttons to go back to the previous chapter or skip to the next one.

    « Back Next »
  4. ×

    Jump up to the previous page or down to the next one. Also, you can type in a page number and press Enter to go directly to that page in the book.

    « Back Next »
  5. ×

    Switch between the Original Pages, where you can read the report as it appeared in print, and Text Pages for the web version, where you can highlight and search the text.

    « Back Next »
  6. ×

    To search the entire text of this book, type in your search term here and press Enter.

    « Back Next »
  7. ×

    Share a link to this book page on your preferred social network or via email.

    « Back Next »
  8. ×

    View our suggested citation for this chapter.

    « Back Next »
  9. ×

    Ready to take your reading offline? Click here to buy this book in print or download it as a free PDF, if available.

    « Back Next »
Stay Connected!