In November 2009, the California Legislature enacted SBX7 1 (Delta Reform Act), one of several bills passed at this time related to water supply reliability, ecosystem health, and the Delta. The Act, effective on Feb. 3, 2010, created the Delta Stewardship Council. The Council is made up of seven members who provide a broad, statewide perspective and diverse expertise. In addition, they are advised by a 10-member board of nationally and internationally renowned scientists.
Advancing the Coequal Goals
The Council was created to advance the state’s coequal goals for the Delta – a more reliable statewide water supply and a healthy and protected ecosystem, both achieved in a manner that protects and enhances the unique characteristics of the Delta as an evolving place.
To do this, the Act required that the Council develop an enforceable long-term sustainable management plan for the Delta to ensure coordinated action at the federal, state, and local levels. The Delta Plan, adopted in 2013, includes both regulatory policies and non-binding recommendations.
Perhaps the Council’s most important and challenging role is the facilitation, coordination, and integration of a range of actions and policies in support of the coequal goals. Implementing the Delta Plan occurs through the Council’s leadership of the Delta Plan Interagency Implementation Committee, ongoing staff-to-staff agency coordination, development of science to support the Delta Plan and related activities, and use of the Council’s regulatory authority over “covered actions” – plans, programs and/or projects that must be consistent with the Delta Plan.
Part of the Council is the Delta Science Program, charged with providing the best possible unbiased scientific information to inform water and environmental management decisions for the Delta. The Council appoints a Lead Scientist to oversee the program, and also appoints the 10 members of the Delta Independent Science Board, which has broad authority to provide oversight of the scientific research, monitoring and assessment programs that support adaptive management of the Delta.