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Bay-Delta Plan Biological Goals Scientific Advisory Panel


Formed at the request of the State Water Resources Control Board and facilitated by the Delta Science Program, this advisory panel will present its draft recommendations during a public meeting on March 4, 2019. These recommendations are for developing scientifically defensible methods for formulating biological goals that can be used to assess progress toward achieving the Bay-Delta Plan’s narrative objectives.


Please visit the Scientific Peer Review page for additional information regarding independent peer review and advisory panels supported by the Delta Science Program.


The March 4 meeting notice and associated materials are available on the event web page here.



The State Water Resources Control Board (State Water Board) is in the process of developing and implementing updates to the Water Quality Control Plan for the San Francisco Bay/Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta Estuary (Bay‐Delta Plan). In the review and update of the 2006 Bay‐Delta Plan, the State Water Board must ensure that beneficial uses of water in the Bay‐Delta watershed are reasonably protected. The first effort includes the development and implementation of updated flow objectives and implementation measures on the lower San Joaquin River. The second effort includes developing updated flow objectives and implementation measures for the Sacramento River and its tributaries and the Delta eastside tributaries (including the Calaveras, Cosumnes, and Mokelumne rivers), Delta outflows, and interior Delta flows.


The proposed updates to the Bay-Delta Plan include new and modified narrative and numeric objectives for achieving reasonable protection of fish and wildlife by establishing sufficient flow conditions to support and maintain populations of native anadromous fish, estuarine fish, and other aquatic species. Effective implementation of the proposed updates will require quantitative assessment (“biological goals”) of progress toward meeting the narrative objectives.


State Water Board staff have requested recommendations from the Independent Scientific Advisory Panel (Panel) on developing scientifically defensible methods for formulating biological goals that can be used to assess progress toward achieving the Bay-Delta Plan’s narrative objectives. The request for recommendations includes how to formulate quantifiable biological goals to assess the status and trends of representative salmonids, other native fishes, and ecosystem processes in the Bay-Delta and its watershed.


Charge to the Advisory Panel

The charge to the Panel provides the specific questions for the Panel to address in their report, as well as the regulatory background and other relevant materials for context and orientation.


Click here to read the Charge to the Panel.


Advisory Panel Members (click here for biographies):

  • Cliff Dahm, University of New Mexico (Emeritus) (Panel Chair)
  • Greg Ruggerone, Natural Resources Consultants
  • Josh Korman, University of British Columbia/Ecometric Consulting
  • Charles “Si” Simenstad, University of Washington
  • Peter Moyle, University of California, Davis (Emeritus)
  • Wim Kimmerer, San Francisco State University


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)