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Delta Levees Prioritization Methodology Peer Review

Date & Location:

May 19-20, 2015
Park Tower Plaza, 980 9th Street, Second Floor
Conference Center, Sacramento, CA 95814.





The coequal goals for the Delta were formalized by the Delta Reform Act (Act) of 2009. The Act also directed the Council, in consultation with the Central Valley Flood Protection Board, to prioritize investments in support of operation, maintenance, repair, and improvement of the Delta levee system (Delta Plan recommendation RR R4 Actions for the Prioritization of State Investments in Delta Levees). Currently, there is no comprehensive method to quantify the effects of State investments in the levee system.


To facilitate the development of a transparent, reproducible, and effective methodology to prioritize the State’s funding for levee work, the Department of Water Resources prepared an interagency agreement with the Delta Stewardship Council (Council). This interagency agreement is to develop a methodology that uses existing data to quantify assets and other benefits associated with each island and tract to establish a basis to judge the effectiveness of State funds to accomplish State objectives.


A competitive proposal solicitation was prepared and a consulting team led by ARCADIS was awarded the contract for this project. The methodology will support development of the approach that will be used to prioritize and classify islands to guide a long-term State levee investment strategy that will be based on the best available science and modeling.


An Independent Scientific Review Panel (Panel) was selected by the Delta Science Program (see Delta Science Plan; Appendix I) to review the methodology developed by ARCADIS and its scientific basis. This review ensures that the approach taken is transparent, robust, and sufficiently sensitive to quantify and prioritize the assets and risks to State interests associated with each leveed island and tract in the Delta. The outputs of this methodology will support the identification of no less than three prioritized groups of islands and define the significance of each group to State investments. This grouping will be used to develop a near-term State levee investment strategy that may be updated as needed over a longer time frame. The methodology will allow for adjustments as State priorities and conditions in the Delta change over time.


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:



  • James K. Mitchell, Sc.D., Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (Emeritus) (Panel Chair)

  • Kenneth A. Rose, Ph.D., Louisiana State University (Lead Author)

  • Nathalie E.M. Asselman, Ph.D., Deltares

  • John P. Bolte, Ph.D., Oregon State University

  • Susan L. Cutter, Ph.D., University of South Carolina

  • Martin W. McCann, Jr., Ph.D., Jack R. Benjamin & Associates, Inc.

  • Ari M. Michelsen, Ph.D., Texas A&M University


May 19, 2015 - Presentations and Q & A


May 20, 2015 - Panel Discussions and Q & A

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)