Pursuant to the Delta Reform Act of 2009, if the Bay Delta Conservation Plan (BDCP), which was a plan for long-term conveyance and habitat solutions for the Delta, met all other requirements of law it would automatically be incorporated into the Delta Plan. Accordingly, the Delta Plan, as adopted in 2013, called for completion of BDCP. The Delta Plan also contains a check-back provision, however, which requires that “should the BDCP process not be completed by Jan. 1, 2016, the Council intends to revisit the issue of conveyance to determine how to facilitate improved conveyance facilities without the BDCP.”
In April 2015, the Brown Administration announced a new preferred alternative to BDCP that would not include a Natural Community Conservation Plan (NCCP) but instead construct water conveyance facilities through an initiative called California WaterFix.
Thereafter, in November 2015, the Council adopted 19 Principles for Water Conveyance in the Delta, Storage Systems, and for the Operation of Both to Achieve the Coequal Goals; and, at the March 2016 Council meeting, directed staff to develop a proposed amendment to the Delta Plan regarding Delta Conveyance, System Storage, and the Operation of Both (Delta Plan CSO amendment).
At the February 2017 Council meeting, Council staff presented a discussion draft of the proposed Delta Plan CSO amendment. The Council held public workshops throughout the state in March 2017 to receive public comments on the discussion draft amendment. Additionally, the Council began the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) environmental review process by holding a public scoping meeting on March 24, 2017, to receive comments on the scope of the Program Environmental Impact Report for the proposed Delta Plan amendments, which also include two other amendments: the Delta Levee Investment Strategy amendment and Performance Measures amendment. Since February 2017, the Delta Plan CSO amendment discussion draft has been revised based on comments received by Councilmembers, the public, and other State agencies, with revised versions of the amendment presented to the Council in April, May, and June 2017.
At the June 2017 Council meeting, the Council approved the draft Delta Plan CSO amendment as a portion of the project description to be analyzed in the forthcoming Delta Plan Amendments Program Environmental Impact Report, which is currently being prepared. Additionally, the Delta Independent Science Board is reviewing the approved June draft Delta Plan CSO amendment in response to the Council’s request to evaluate the draft: 1) for relevance and completeness of the supporting body of scientific literature, and 2) to determine if the scientific findings support the introduction and problem statements (to view the Council's letter to the Delta ISB, please click here). Adoption of final Delta Plan CSO amendment will not occur until completion of the CEQA process, which is anticipated in early 2018.