Delta Independent Science Board (Delta ISB) Update

At its February 14-15, 2013 meeting, Delta ISB members reviewed Chapter 7, Implementation Structure, of the December 2012 Draft of the Bay Delta Conservation Plan (BDCP) at the request of Delta Stewardship Council Chair Phil Isenberg. The board subsequently posted a draft memo of its findings for public comment.

In its memo, the Delta ISB encouraged the BDCP to integrate its scientific efforts with those of the Delta Stewardship Council Delta Science Plan. “Such integration will contribute toward the assurance that BDCP will meet its environmental goals,” the memo said. The Delta ISB will finalize the memo at its April meeting after incorporating information from the recently released chapter 3.6 Adaptive Management and Monitoring Program.

During the February meeting, the Delta ISB continued its review of the research, monitoring, and evaluation supporting adaptive management of the habitat restoration efforts in the Delta as required by Water Code 85280(a)(3) by meeting with U.S. Geological Survey scientists to learn about their research on topics such as modeling, ecology, atmospheric rivers, and sediment transport. During its April meeting, the Delta ISB is expected to approve its final report on habitat restoration.

The board also reviewed the State Water Resources Control Board’s Draft Substitute Environmental Document in support of Potential Changes to the Water Quality Control Plan for the San Francisco Bay-Sacramento/San Joaquin Delta Estuary: San Joaquin River Flows and Southern Delta Water Quality. The Delta ISB expressed some concern that the recommended flows might not be high enough to restore salmon and that not enough attention was given to the geomorphological effects of flows. A short draft memo detailed their thoughts. During its March 27 teleconference, the Delta ISB approved the final memo after strengthening its recommendations and then submitted it to the State Water Resources Control Board.

The Delta ISB also revised its Operating Guidelines so that its principal officers are a Past-Chair, Chair, and Chair-Elect, each serving 2-year terms. Elections were then held for these positions. As of June 1, 2013, Richard Norgaard will move from current Chair to the Past-Chair position; Tracy Collier will move from Vice-Chair to Chair; and Jay Lund will become Chair-Elect.

The next Delta ISB meeting will be April 22-23, 2013 at the Lake Natoma Inn in Folsom.

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