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Delta Stewardship Council Denies Appeal of Smith Canal Gate Project

The Delta Stewardship Council denied an appeal from the Atherton Cove Property Owners Association on March 21, 2019 that had challenged a proposal to build a flood control gate at the mouth of Smith Canal and Atherton Cove, adjacent to the San Joaquin River/Stockton Deep Water Ship Channel.


In its decision, the Council said that the property owners failed to demonstrate that the San Joaquin Area Flood Control Agency lacked substantial evidence to support its original determination that the Smith Canal Gate Project (Certification Number C20188) was consistent with the Council’s Delta Plan.


The Delta Plan is the State’s only comprehensive, long-term management plan for the Delta. It includes 14 regulations to further the State’s coequal goals for the Delta: Improve statewide water supply reliability and protect and restore a vibrant and healthy Delta ecosystem, all in a manner that preserves, protects, and enhances the unique agricultural, cultural, and recreational characteristics of the Delta.


  • Learn more about the appeal by clicking here.


  • Learn more about the certification by clicking here.


A guide to the Smith Canal Gate certification

The San Joaquin Area Flood Control Agency (SJAFCA) is proposing to design and construct a fixed wall and gate structure at the mouth of Smith Canal, adjacent to the San Joaquin River/Stockton Deep Water Ship Channel in and adjacent to the City of Stockton.

SJAFCA says the project is necessary for flood protection because the existing levees along Smith Canal are heavily encroached upon and cannot be certified as meeting Federal Emergency Management Agency standards or the State's Urban Levee Design Criteria.


According to SJAFCA, this places approximately 8,000 properties and approximately 24,000 people at increased risk from flooding. The project will close off Smith Canal during high flow and tide events, allowing existing Smith Canal levees to function as a secondary risk-reduction measure.


You’ll find the certification, along with supporting documents, appeals, public notices, party submittals, and public comments on this webpage, which is continuously updated. Click the button to download the certification, which is a summary of the project and description of how SJAFCA believes it is consistent with the Council’s Delta Plan.



Latest update - Mar. 14, 2019

The materials for the March 21 public hearing are available on the March 2019 meeting materials web page. (Please see agenda item 3.)


Feb. 21, 2019

The Council will hold a public hearing and adoption meeting beginning at 10:00 a.m. on Mar. 21, 2019 to receive public comments on and consider the adoption of findings regarding the appeals of the Certification of Consistency Number C20188 submitted by the San Joaquin Area Flood Control Agency. Access the notice here.


Jan. 15, 2019

Ex parte disclosure filed. You can read it here.


Jan. 11, 2019

Ex parte disclosure filed. You can read it here.


Jan. 7, 2019

Ex parte disclosure filed. You can read it here.


Jan. 4, 2019

Ex parte disclosure filed. You can read it here.


Dec. 14, 2018

Ex parte disclosure filed. You can read it here.


Dec. 4, 2018


The Atherton Cove Property Owners Association appealed the San Joaquin Area Flood Control Agency's certification that its Smith Canal Gate Project is consistent with the Council's Delta Plan. Click here for more information about the appeal.


Nov. 2, 2018


Find out more about the Smith Canal Gate Project by clicking here for the project website.



Ex Parte Communication


You'll find all related ex parte disclosures here.


Please note that the Council has placed itself under ex parte communication restrictions regarding the Smith Canal Gate Project certification of consistency.


Council hearings on appeals are subject to the ex parte communication restrictions of the California Administrative Procedures Act (Government Code section 11430.10 et seq.). This means that Councilmembers, Council staff, and consultants cannot and will not communicate about or discuss the Smith Canal Gate Project with any person outside of the Council.


The only exceptions to this prohibition are communications required for disposition of an ex parte matter specifically authorized by statute, or communications concerning a matter of procedure or practice that is not in controversy (Gov. Code § 11430.20). Those inquiries shall not be regarded as ex parte communication, and may be directed to this email address:




What is the Council's covered action process?


The Delta Reform Act of 2009 (Act) established a certification process for demonstrating consistency with the Delta Plan. This means that a state or local agency proposing to undertake a qualifying action (covered action) must submit to the Council a written certification of consistency with detailed findings as to whether the covered action is consistent with the Delta Plan.


Any person may appeal a certification of consistency to the Council within 30 days after it is filed, unless that date falls on a Saturday, Sunday, or holiday. In that case, the deadline is extended to the next business day.


  • Learn more about the Council's covered action process here and by following the covered action links on the right side of that page.
  • If you think you might be interested in filing an appeal, please review the Council’s Administrative Procedures Governing Appeals here.
  • Read the Council's Delta Plan by clicking here.

Coequal goals

The Delta Stewardship Council was created in legislation to achieve the state mandated coequal goals for the Delta. "'Coequal goals' means the two goals of providing a more reliable water supply for California and protecting, restoring, and enhancing the Delta ecosystem. The coequal goals shall be achieved in a manner that protects and enhances the unique cultural, recreational, natural resource, and agricultural values of the Delta as an evolving place." (CA Water Code §85054)