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Work sessions provide more input for Delta Plan

October 2011

Four more work sessions were held during September to assist the Delta Stewardship Council toward the development of the Delta Plan. The topics included success and performance measures, covered actions and governance, the economic sustainability plan, Delta as an evolving place, and the finance portion of the Delta Plan.

The goal was to take a deeper look at complicated issues while gathering input from a variety of stakeholders.

“We structured [the sessions] around the kinds of issues that have been emerging on the various chapters of the Delta Plan,” said Keith Coolidge, the Council’s executive manager for external affairs. “The intent was to put people around the table and have a discussion.”

Stakeholders were asked to address topics specifically relevant to the fifth staff draft of the Delta Plan. The comments and written responses will be considered along with all other comments in development of the sixth staff draft.

QuoteThe feedback is expected to be particularly helpful clarifying the issue of covered actions, which has generated a great deal of attention and led to many questions. The Council plans to host another session about covered actions in the near future.

Coolidge says covered actions are specified in the Delta Reform Act and that the Council’s and stakeholders’ interpretations of the statute have become clearer through the work session. “Early consultations [regarding covered actions] are going to be critical moving forward,” he said.

“This will help folks really understand early on in the projects what’s likely to occur.”

Coolidge says Delta residents would also like more of a say in the process.

Work session participants also want to see the development of more immediate goals and more time-based metrics. Coolidge says that often the staff draft of the Plan uses the phrase “progress toward” when describing achievement and measurement. The participants felt that language does not offer a real sense of progress.

Council Member Gloria Gray, who was instrumental in arranging the work sessions, said these exchanges with the public are invaluable in helping the Council and staff create a Delta Plan.

“The line of communication is open,” she said. “There is always an opportunity to talk. [The public] has an opportunity to give their perspective.”

To view summaries of the work sessions, click here.

To view the latest staff draft of the Delta Plan, click here.

To view the draft proposed regulations, 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)