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Independent Science Review of the Delta Regional Monitoring Program Monitoring Design: Final Phase


The Delta Regional Monitoring Program (Delta RMP) was initiated by the Central Valley Regional Water Quality Control Board (Regional Water Board) to fulfill the unique need for a comprehensive effort to assess and track water quality constituents and their effects in the Delta to provide a scientific basis for water policy and documenting the effectiveness of beneficial use protection and restoration efforts.


The development of the Delta RMP was initially prompted by the collapse of several pelagic fish species in the early 2000s, an event that triggered new inquiries into the potential role of contaminants in what is now termed the Pelagic Organism Decline; however, these inquiries more broadly highlighted the shortcomings of existing monitoring efforts to address similar questions at the scale of the Delta.


A Monitoring Design for the Delta RMP (Monitoring Design) was approved in June 2015 and monitoring for pesticides and pathogens began that same year. The current document includes full monitoring design details for current use pesticides and toxicity, mercury, and pathogens.


The purpose of this final review is to provide an independent and objective assessment of the Monitoring Design. This effort has involved an initial review that occurred in the summer of 2016, culminating in a September 2016 initial review report.


During this review, the IRP will provide a final review based on a response packet developed by the Delta RMP including the 2017-2018 Fiscal Work Plan.


Charge to the Independent Review Panel:

The charge to the panel provides the orientation and focus, materials to be reviewed and specific questions for the panel to start the review process. It provides the direction, context and timeline for the review.


Review Panel Members:

Panel Member Bios

  • Peter Raimondi, Professor, UC Santa Cruz (Chair)
  • Barry Noon, Professor, Colorado State University (Lead Author)
  • Allan Stewart-Oaten, Professor Emeritus, UC Santa Barbara
  • Michael MacWilliams, Principal Engineer, Anchor QEA



Review Materials and Presentations

Review Materials

  1. Response to initial review – cover letter
  2. Response to Review Panel comments from the Technical Advisory Committee and subcommittees
  3. Table showing the intersection of Delta RMP management and assessment questions with priority management drivers
  4. Appendix: Fiscal Year 2017-2018 Work Plan


Materials Provided to the Panel at the Review

  1. Explanatory slides of mean and error bar derivation for fish mercury data


Materials Provided by the Review Committee to Delta RMP

  1. Independent Science Panel Findings Report: Rio Grande Silvery Minnow Key Scientific Uncertainties and Study Recommendations


  1. 2017 Delta RMP External Review Combined Slides


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)