Delta Independent Science Board (Delta ISB) Update

At its June 19-20, 2013 meeting, Delta Independent Science Board members discussed their comments on the administrative draft of the Bay-Delta Conservation Plan (BDCP) Environmental Impact Report (EIR). (The Delta Reform Act requires the Delta ISB to review the BDCP Draft EIR/EIS).

The Delta ISB offered six unranked suggestions on the administrative draft EIR/EIS dated May 10, 2013 and on the Plan’s draft Chapters 5 and 6 dated March 27, 2013 in a memo to the Delta Stewardship Council:

  1. Clarify the dual roles of regulatory agencies that contributed to the EIR/EIS.

  2. Provide project-level analyses that treat the co-equal goals equally.

  3. Discuss reducing water demands from the Delta as an alternative considered.

  4. Clarify the plans and implementation for adaptive management.

  5. Provide readable comparisons of the environmental effects of the various alternatives.

  6. Schedule the comment period to follow further review of the Effects Analysis.

During its June meeting the Delta ISB also discussed the Delta Science Plan, continuing its discussion during the July teleconference which culminated in a memo sent to the Delta Stewardship Council July 15 with board member comments on the first draft of the plan. Suggestions included:

  • Give more emphasis to synthesis and integration

  • Highlight improved ways to provide scientific information

  • Offer details on structuring science to support adaptive management.

The Delta ISB is continuing its review of the research, monitoring, and evaluation programs supporting adaptive management of the Delta as required by Water Code 85280(a)(3). The Board’s next science program review will be about fish and flows.

In other news, Lead Scientist Peter Goodwin and the Delta Stewardship Council are in the process of filling the Delta ISB vacancy created by the departure of board member Ed Houde who resigned in May due to an increased teaching workload.

At the September 12-13, 2013 meeting, Delta ISB members took a boat tour of the Delta circumnavigating Liberty Island and Little Holland Track to view restoration projects in one of the six priority restoration areas protected by the Delta Plan. They also discussed the second draft of the Delta Science Plan, progress on the fish and flows program review, and continued to prepare for their review of the Bay Delta Conservation Plan (BDCP) draft environmental impact report/statement (DEIR/S).