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Delta Plan Interagency Implementation Committee Members Endorse List of High-Impact Science Actions

July 2015
Scientists catching fish

At their May meeting, the State and federal representatives who comprise the Delta Plan Interagency Implementation Committee (DPIIC) unanimously endorsed a list of High-Impact Science Actions presented by the Delta Stewardship Council (Council).

 

“The Science Actions represent issues in the Delta, identified by staff members from the various DPIIC agencies, that require immediate study,” said Dr. Peter Goodwin, lead scientist for the Council’s Delta Science Program. “This information is lacking in our understanding of the Delta system. We need it to support the management decisions to further the achievement of the coequal goals of water supply reliability and Delta habitat restoration that have to be made in the short term.”

 

These include assessing drought-related effects on the Delta, science support for the management of estuarine and migratory species, science supporting flood risk reduction and the economies of Delta communities, and the effectiveness and implications of habitat restoration actions.

 

In November, DPIIC met and said the 320 science actions identified in the Interim Science Action Agenda needed to be prioritized, so they formed an interagency workgroup made up of key staff members who whittled down the list of individual science actions into a short list of decision-relevant science actions significant to multiple agencies.

 

A list of 10 actions was presented at the DPIIC May meeting for endorsement. Nine are considered implementable through rapid-response actions. The last one is a compilation of six proposed actions considered implementable over a longer term in the form of a proposal solicitation or by Delta Science Fellows.

 

“The DPIIC is creating a venue that is leading to implementation of science in the field,” said Council Chair Randy Fiorini during the June Council meeting. “It is one of the ways we coordinate Delta Plan implementation.”

 

The near-term list includes:

 

  • Evaluating tools supporting real-time operations, monitoring, reporting, data management, and accessibility of data.
  • Synthesizing knowledge about designing effective habitat restoration projects in the Delta.
  • Conducting follow-up work to improve collaborative temperature modeling of cold water forecasting for Shasta Dam releases into the Sacramento River.

 

Goodwin says these actions are designed to fill in some of the missing data pieces allowing other scientists working on larger projects, like Governor Brown’s new Delta restoration program EcoRestore, to have better information, thus ensuring restoration outcomes can be reported and used to inform future projects.

 

“This interim step will provide the information we absolutely need now in order to guide the larger planning efforts and management decisions being made right now,” Goodwin said. “Providing these missing links of scientific data will give great support and guidance to the agencies that need to make the tough, larger-scale ecosystem restoration decisions.”

 

With the endorsement in place, the Council’s staff and partners in other agencies are already working to develop detailed plans for implementation of the science actions including securing the resources to complete the job. Staff members will then report their progress at the next DPIIC meeting tentatively scheduled for November 16, 2015.

 

The DPIIC report that offers background and the list of the 10 High-Impact Science Actions can be found by clicking here.

 

The remainder of the May 11, 2015 DPIIC meeting materials can be found 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)