You are here

Council, Commission Work to Protect Delta as a Place

March and April 2012

An important topic in creating an economically viable Delta triggered a lively discussion, and several points of agreement, at the Delta Stewardship Council’s February meeting.

The topic was the Delta Protection Commission’s (Commission) Economic Sustainability Plan, aimed at enhancing agriculture, tourism, legacy communities, and other aspects of the Delta’s economy. The plan, part of the Commission’s Proposal to Protect the Delta as an Evolving Place, was released in January. The Proposal includes three items:

• A National Heritage Area Designation
• A Proposal to Administer Delta Investment Funds
• The Economic Sustainability Plan

Under state law, the Delta Stewardship Council (Council) must determine if all or part of the recommendations in the Commission’s plan will be included in the Delta Plan. Council staff found that nearly two-thirds of the Economic Sustainability Plan’s recommendations were consistent with the Delta Reform Act, and should be considered for incorporation in the Delta Plan.

“[The Economic Sustainability Plan] is a really good piece of research,” said Council member Patrick Johnston. “[The Economic Sustainability Plan] is part of the mosaic of the Delta Plan, but the coequal goals remain our main objective.”

The Delta Protection Commission, comprised of local officials from the Delta and state-appointed officials, was created in 1992 to prepare and adopt a comprehensive long-term resource management plan for the Delta. In 2009, legislation directed the Commission to develop an economic sustainability plan; and to provide recommendations to the Council on methods to preserve the Delta as an evolving place.

“Everyone wants a healthy Delta. It’s our job to find the balance [between all of the goals],” said Don Nottoli, chair of the Commission and a member of the Council. “That’s what we’re struggling to do.”

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)