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Delta Science Program Provides Research Funding Recommendations to Council - Grants for water management, ecosystem research included

March 2011

A process that began more than two years ago made its next to last stop at February’s Delta Stewardship Council meeting.

The 2010 Proposal Solicitation Package (PSP), a request for proposals to study four key areas affecting the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta, began when the Delta Science Program first developed draft topics.

Shortly after it started, the PSP process stalled when work activities were put on hold due to state budget issues. When the process restarted, seven months of internal and external review resulted in the Science Program recommending 13 projects to the Council for funding.

dsp psp schedule

The three-year research projects will focus on four key areas:

• Native fish biology and ecology
• Food webs of key Delta species and their relationship to water quality and other drivers
• Coupled hydrologic and ecosystem models
• Water and ecosystem management decision support system development

“There are a lot of resources that go on an annual basis to required monitoring and measurements,” Delta Science Program Lead Scientist Cliff Dahm said. “But the kind of information that you need to address causes and effects – as well as the necessary monitoring to develop the modeling tools and decision support systems to use that information – often goes wanting.”

In total, the science program received 49 proposals requesting approximately $31 million. Of the 49 proposals, 13 different projects from eight different institutions – including six universities – were recommended to receive roughly $7.1 million in funding.

In order to pass muster, each proposal was subjected to several levels of review; including an administrative review, a minimum of two independent external scientific reviews, and a review by a special panel of 13 national and international independent science experts.

“We are using the best available science when we make our decisions and I think your projects are an example of that,” Council member Gloria Gray said. “I’m happy to see that you’ve balanced the 13 projects under the topic subjects as we look at our coequal goals.”

The Council will take a formal vote on the PSP during its March 24-25 meetings. Upon approval, these projects may begin as early as this summer.

For more details about the Delta Science Program and the PSP process please click 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)