The Delta Stewardship Council (Council) recently sent a strong message to the Bay Delta Conservation Plan (BDCP): Build the proposed project in phases, so that benefits can be realized as soon as possible.
“Our consultants felt very strongly that we needed to say something about [staged implementation] because they didn’t see it anywhere in the BDCP documents,” said Delta Stewardship Council Executive Officer Joe Grindstaff. “It’s something that has been discussed over the years by many people…it is not addressed in the public documents, and it ought to be.”
The Council in April sent a letter to the BDCP stating this position. It also suggested that the BDCP’s Environmental Impact Report and Statement (EIR/S) analyze either a) building a smaller or less expensive project first or b) implement the preferred alternative in phases, then use the results of performance monitoring and adaptive management to inform its expansion.
Grindstaff explained that the Council’s consultant, Arcadis, said the number of alternatives evaluated was sufficient, but the manner in which they would potentially be implemented was missing.
The letter also made comments on flow criteria, rates of diversion, operational criteria, effects analysis, and flood management.
About the Bay Delta Conservation Plan:
The BDCP is a federal and state initiative financed by California's water contractors. It is being developed in compliance with the Federal Endangered Species Act and the California Natural Communities Conservation Planning Act. When complete, the BDCP will provide the basis for the issuance of endangered species permits for the operation of the State Water Project and the federal Central Valley Project. The BDCP would be implemented over the next 50 years.