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Delta Vision doles out grades, urges action in the Delta

October 2011

As the Delta Plan nears completion, the Delta Vision Foundation urged the Council and other state and federal agencies and stakeholders to move quickly on Delta issues.

That’s the message the Delta Vision Foundation conveyed during the presentation of its Report Card to the Delta Stewardship Council during the Council’s September meeting.

The Foundation released a report card last June assessing the progress made by 11 state agencies and other entities involved in implementing the actions recommended in the Delta Vision Strategic Plan. Foundation President Sunne McPeak and Executive Director Charles Gardiner offered an overview of the report and its grading scale.

The report card, derived from 35 personal interviews and assessment responses that were sent to more than 1,000 stakeholders, includes recommendations for action and improvement in achieving the coequal goals, namely restoring the Delta ecosystem and ensuring water supply reliability as also defined in the Delta Vision Strategic Plan.

The grade given the Council was a B+, which lauds the Council’s transparent communication process but urges it to link performance metrics to the coequal goals.

The Delta Vision Report Card gives the Council a “B+” for its current efforts, the highest mark of any agency rated. Ten other state agencies and organizations received grades, ranging from “B+” to “C+”.

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“Everyone across the board is talking about the coequal goals – that is a significant accomplishment,” McPeak said. “But we need a Manhattan Project kind of approach to the Delta. We’re in a war and we all need to fight together.”

Five broad recommendations were also part of the report card asking the Council to:

• Implement near-term actions now
• Improve coordination among agencies and appointed bodies
• Link strategies and actions for workable solutions
• Optimize the value of independent science
• Refine the funding and financing plan

“We want this report card to be a positive force to encourage parties to act. This is not a “gotcha” process,” McPeak said. “We hope this helps processes to get to implementation.” Quote

Council member Pat Johnston, however, voiced concern about agencies working together, when in some cases they’re required to monitor one another.

“This recommendation seems to conflate the [Bay-Delta Conservation Plan] process with the Delta Plan process. We have a statutory responsibility ‘not be in the same locker room,’” Johnston said.

Meanwhile, Council member Gloria Gray expressed her gratitude for the report.

“This report card is insightful and frank and should be a wake-up call for leadership in and around our state,” Gray said.

“We’ve had various stakeholders give us grades, too,” McPeak joked.

The other agencies receiving grades include the state legislature, the governor’s administration and the Natural Resources Agency, among others.

To view the Delta Vision Report Card, click here.

To learn more about Delta Vision, 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)