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Covered Actions

The Delta Reform Act of 2009 (Act) established a self-certification process for demonstrating consistency with the Delta Plan. This means that state and local agencies proposing to undertake a qualifying action, called a “covered action” in the Act, 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.


Per Water Code section 85057.5 “covered action” means a plan, program, or project as defined pursuant to Section 21065 of the Public Resources Code that meets all of the following conditions:

  • Will occur, in whole or in part, within the boundaries of the Delta or Suisun Marsh.
  • Will be carried out, approved, or funded by the state or a local public agency.
  • Is covered by one or more provisions of the Delta Plan.
  • Will have a significant impact on achievement of one or both of the coequal goals or the implementation of government-sponsored flood control programs to reduce risks to people, property, and state interests in the Delta.


Any state or local public agency proposing to undertake a covered action is encouraged to consult with the council at the earliest possible opportunity, preferably no later than 30 days before submitting its certification to the Council.


Looking for a specific Covered Action? Click here:


The tabs below provide detailed information for the different phases of the covered actions process. Click on the tabs below to preview additional details about those phases.


Covered Action Determination

Only the lead CEQA state or local agency may determine whether that plan, program, or project is a covered action. That determination must be reasonable, made in good faith, and consistent with the Delta Reform Act and relevant provisions of the Delta Plan.


An agency’s determination that a proposed plan, program, or project is not a covered action is not subject to Council regulatory review, but may be subject to judicial review as to whether it was reasonable, made in good faith, and is consistent with the Delta Reform Act and relevant provisions of the Delta Plan.


The Council has developed a Covered Actions Checklist to assist state and local agencies in determining whether a plan, program, or project is a “Covered Action” (Delta Plan Chapter 2), as defined in the Delta Reform Act (Water Code section 85057.5(a)).


The link below will allow state and local agencies to use this discretionary tool for Covered Actions determinations.


Covered Actions Checklist


Early Consultation

The Council strongly encourages all agencies who propose to undertake an action in the Delta, as early in the project’s development as possible, consult with the Council and ensure the project (whether it is a covered action or not) is consistent with the Delta Plan. If an agency chooses to engage in early consultation, the Council staff will meet with the agency and offer guidance on determining whether the proposed plan, program, or project meets the definition of a covered action, provided that the ultimate determination in this regard must be made by the agency. Council staff will also work the agency to ensure consistency between the project and the Delta Plan policies and recommendations. This may include providing advice on developing an Adaptive Management Plan (if needed) for the project, providing advice on how to ensure the project’s use of Best Available Science, and providing advice on how the project can help achieve the coequal goals while still meeting the project’s own objectives.


State or local agencies may call (916) 445-5511 to schedule a consultation with Council staff, or click the link below to submit a consultation request via e-mail. Any other questions or concerns may also be e-mailed directly to

Certification of Consistency

Per Water Code Section 85225, A state or local agency that proposes to undertake a covered action, prior to initiating the implementation of that covered action, are required to submit a written certification to the Council, with detailed findings demonstrating that the covered action is consistent with the Delta Plan.   


The Council requests that certifications of consistency be submitted electronically.  The Council has developed an on-line certification of consistency form that will guide the user in submitting the necessary detailed findings of consistency. The Council has also developed procedures online to assist state and local agencies in preparing to fill out the certification of consistency. 


The link below will allow state and local agencies to electronically submit a certification of consistency for a covered action.


Appeal Process

Any person, including any member of the Council or its Executive Officer, who claims that a covered action is inconsistent with the Delta Plan and, as a result of that inconsistency, the covered action will have a significant adverse impact on the achievement of one or both of the coequal goals or implementation of government- sponsored flood control program, may file an appeal with regard to a certification of consistency submitted to the Council. Water Code Section 85225.10(a).  

The Act specifies that an appeal must be filed no later than 30 calendar days after the submission of the certification of consistency.  If no person appeals the certification of consistency, the state or local public agency may proceed to implement the covered action. Water Code Section 85225.15. 

Upon an appeal of a submitted certification of consistency, the Council has the authority to determine the consistency of the covered action with the Delta Plan.

The Council has 60 days to hear the appeal and an additional 60 days to make its decision and issue specific written findings. If the covered action is found to be inconsistent with the Delta Plan, the project may not proceed until it is revised so that it is consistent with the Delta Plan, a new certification of consistency is submitted to the Council, and no person has appealed that certification of consistency.

Administrative Procedures Governing Appeals

The Act requires the Council to adopt administrative procedures governing appeals, which are exempt from the normal state rulemaking process. The Delta Stewardship Council adopted these procedures at its August 2010 Council meeting. Read the procedures as adopted.

The Council has developed the On-line Appeal form to assist the public in submitting an appeal. The link below will allow you to submit an Appeal on a specific Certification of Consistency filing.

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)