Draft Delta Plan, five alternatives reviewed for environmental impact
After thousands of comments on drafts of the Delta Plan and countless hours of preparation, the Delta Stewardship Council released its draft programmatic Environmental Impact Report (EIR) Nov. 4.
The draft EIR is a technical document designed to analyze the fifth staff draft of the Delta Plan and five alternatives to determine the best method to achieve the coequal goals of providing a more reliable water supply while protecting and enhancing the Delta ecosystem, through the Delta Plan.
With the draft EIR now posted, the Council has begun a 60-day comment period to hear from stakeholders and members of the public until Jan. 3. While the law requires a 45-day comment period, the Council will provide 60 days of review and also will hold in-person, public hearings to discuss the draft EIR.
The EIR analyzes the environmental impacts of the Council’s Fifth Staff Draft as well as five other alternatives, including: (1) A no project alternative; (2) Two alternatives with increased emphasis on water supply reliability; (3) One alternative with increased emphasis on Delta ecosystem restoration; and (4) One alternative with increased emphasis on protection and enhancement of Delta communities and culture.
The five alternatives studied were based on comments, input, and, in some cases, alternative plans received from statewide water users and environmentalists and Delta interests and communities.
The draft EIR concludes that the draft Delta Plan, which contains 12 proposed regulations and 61 recommendations, is environmentally superior to the alternatives because it advocates a hybrid regulatory and collaborative approach for achieving the coequal goals.
While the draft Delta Plan has short-term impacts, it offers more collective long-term benefits when compared to the other five alternatives in the key areas of: water supply reliability, ecosystem restoration, water quality improvement, flood risk reduction and enhancement of the Delta as a place, according to the EIR.
Council Executive Officer Joe Grindstaff acknowledges that there is still a long way to go, but that stagnation is not an option.
“We either make progress or we revert to the status quo, which serves no one,” Grindstaff said. “We have to take real steps forward and rely on the best available science and adaptive management in order to do that.”
To view the Draft EIR, please visit http://deltacouncil.ca.gov/draft-eir
To view the public hearing meeting notice, click here
The Draft Delta Plan Program Environmental Impact Report (EIR) is an environmental review of the Fifth Staff Draft Delta Plan and five alternative plans aimed at meeting the coequal goals of water supply reliability and ecosystem restoration.