The Delta Plan, adopted in 2013, was developed over the course of three years, with hundreds of hours of public input and debate over the narrative content, recommendations, regulations, and performance measures. The Plan was prepared in accordance with the Delta Reform Act (Water Code section 85300 (c)), which also requires that “The Council shall review the Delta Plan at least once every five years and may revise it as the Council deems appropriate… .”
As the Council reviews the Plan during the remainder of 2018, it will do so in keeping with its commitment to use an adaptive management approach outlined in Chapter 2 of the Delta Plan. The Council will consider information from other adaptive management activities in the Delta; evaluation of Delta Plan policies and recommendations; performance measures; and other completed plans or reports related to the Delta. The Council will rely in large part on the Delta Science Program for determining the relevance, value, and reliability of the best available science, and organizing that information for its use in the Council’s decisions.
The review will be organized in four phases:
- Initial Assessment: Staff will conduct an initial assessment of Delta Plan content and evaluate the need for changes. The narrative will be reviewed for basic clean-up and updates. For example, the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act, adopted by the California Legislature in 2014, was not anticipated by the Delta Plan, and will need to be identified as a key policy driver of water supply reliability. Furthermore, references to the Bay-Delta Conservation Plan could be removed, clarified, or otherwise updated. Dates or references associated with major plans, such as the Central Valley Flood Protection Plan, could be updated.
- Evaluation of Plan Implementation: Staff will conduct a high-level assessment of plan performance and implementation by reviewing our administrative performance measures and early consultation/covered actions process. A review of administrative performance measures was initiated at the April 2016 Delta Plan Interagency Implementation Committee meeting, and staff will continue to conduct evaluation meetings with agencies.
- Recommendations Report: Staff will develop a new executive-level recommendations report to include outcomes from the initial assessment and evaluation of plan implementation efforts (i.e., administrative performance measures and covered actions/early consultation process). The report will describe the major accomplishments over the initial five-year period of Delta Plan implementation, and identify major policy and management challenges to anticipate in the next five to ten years. The report will also make recommendations on how to strengthen the Delta Plan and the Council’s role to achieve the coequal goals.
- Delta Plan Chapter Revisions: Staff is not proposing reissuing a fully revised Delta Plan. There will, however, be sections or even chapters of the Delta Plan where narrative text will be updated. For example, Chapter 2, The Delta Plan, which includes information about how the plan will be implemented, would likely be revised. Additional chapters may require clean up within the narrative text. Staff does not expect that any of the revisions would trigger environmental impact review under the California Environmental Quality Act (e.g. this review is not expected to add regulations or recommendations to the Delta Plan, but instead will focus on identifying the need for, and timing of, future substantive amendments).