About the Delta Plan

While there are many agencies involved in both the near and long-term management of the Delta, the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta Reform Act of 2009 established the Delta Stewardship Council to create a comprehensive, long-term, legally enforceable plan to guide how multiple federal, State, and local agencies manage the Delta’s water and environmental resources. The 2009 legislation directed the Council to oversee the implementation of this plan through coordination and oversight of state and local agencies proposing to fund, carry out, and approve Delta-related activities. It also granted the Council regulatory and appellate authority over certain actions that take place in whole or in part in the Delta and Suisun Marsh, referred to as covered actions.

To learn about how we implement the Delta Plan, read the information sheet about the Council and the Delta Plan.

Upholding the Delta Plan

Since 2010, the Council has developed, amended, and begun implementing the Delta Plan, addressing multiple complex challenges in the process. Much progress has been made, but much remains to be done. Developed to achieve the State’s coequal goals of a reliable statewide water supply and a protected, restored Delta ecosystem in a manner that preserves the values of the Delta as a place, the Delta Plan includes 14 regulatory policies and 95 recommendations. Collectively, these policies and recommendations address current and predicted challenges related to the Delta’s ecology, flood management, land use, water quality, and water supply reliability. The Delta Plan’s policies and recommendations are based on the best available science and depend on cooperation and coordination among federal, State, and local agencies.

Since the Council’s establishment, our regulatory authority has been upheld by California’s judicial branch twice. The most recent decision by the Superior Court of California in 2022 cleared the way for the Council to apply our expertise and exercise our broad authority in determining how to accomplish the goals and objectives of the Delta Reform Act. Learn more.

Reviewing the Delta Plan

To ensure that the Delta Plan evolves appropriately with time, the Delta Reform Act requires that the Council review the comprehensive management plan at least once every five years and revise it as the Council deems appropriate.

In 2018, the Council began our initial review of the Delta Plan with three objectives in mind: (1) to reflect on the successes and challenges of implementation efforts across agencies; (2) to focus and prioritize the Council’s near-term implementation efforts; and (3) to identify planning topics and emerging issues that may inform future updates.

To summarize findings, in 2019, the Council published a detailed report summarizing these objectives alongside a highlights companion piece. By considering the Delta Plan and implementation progress to date, the Council will be better positioned to develop a roadmap for potential future changes and improvements to Delta Plan content and implementation strategies.

The next five-year review of the Delta Plan is slated for 2023.

View the Delta Plan by individual chapters and appendices below.



Original Delta Plan (Adopted May 16, 2013)

The following thirteen maps are listed in the Delta Plan document using a standard print resolution. These high resolution versions are being made available so that the detailed information on the maps is more easily readable.

  • Figure 1-1 Delta Boundaries

    The Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta and Suisun Marsh are referred to throughout the Plan collectively as “the Delta,” unless otherwise specified. The Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta is defined in Water Code section 12220, and Suisun Marsh means the area defined in Public Resources Code section 29101 and protected by Division 19 (commencing with section 29000).

  • Figure 1-2 Delta Plan Study Area - Revised

    The Delta Watershed and Areas Receiving Delta Water - Water from the vast Delta watershed, spanning over 45,000 square miles (30 million acres), fuels both local economies and those in export areas hundreds of miles away.

  • Figure 1-4 The Delta Plan

    The map shows the primary area covered by the Delta Plan, including features and uses referred to in the Plan's 14 policies and 73 recommendations.

  • Figure 3-2 Moving and Storing California’s Water

    To provide more reliable water supplies despite the state’s hydrologic variability and diverse geography, and also to manage floods during wet years, State, federal, and local agencies have built a vast, interconnected infrastructure system throughout California.

  • Figure 4-6 Habitat Types Based on Elevation, Shown with Developed Areas in the Delta and Suisun Marsh

    Opportunities for habitat restoration in the Delta are constrained first and foremost by the elevation of land, which determines the potential of an area to be restored. Much of the Delta has subsided too deeply to restore its original ecological functions.

  • Figure 4-8 Recommended Areas for Prioritization and Implementation of Habitat Restoration Projects

    Priority habitat restoration areas are large areas within which specific sites may be identified for habitat restoration based on assessments of land use and other issues addressed through further feasibility analysis.

  • Figure 5-1 Delta Primary & Secondary Zones & Suisun Marsh

    The Delta is composed of three areas recognized in California law. The Primary Zone is the largest and includes 490,050 acres at the heart of the Delta (Public Resources Code section 29728). The Secondary Zone includes 247,320 acres surrounding the Primary Zone (Public Resources Code section 29731). Suisun Marsh lies northwest of the Primary Zone, encompassing 106,570 acres (Public Resources Code section 29101) primarily of managed wetland. The Suisun Marsh overlaps the boundary of the Delta by about 4,300 acres.

  • Figure 5-2 Delta Communities

    The map shows land uses designated by city and county general plans. Within cities' spheres of influences (SOIs), the map shows land use designations proposed in city general plans, where available. In cases where cities have not proposed land uses within their SOIs, the map shows land uses designated by county general plans.

  • Figure 5-3 Agricultural Land Use in the Delta

    Agriculture is among the qualities that define the Delta as a place. The Delta’s initial reclamation created farmland, and ongoing maintenance of its levees and water controls allows for continued farming in the region. Agriculture dominates the Delta landscape and provides the setting for Delta residents’ communities, homes, and job sites.

  • Figure 5-5 State Parks and Other Protected Lands

    The map shows the locations of State parks and other protected lands in the Delta. The Delta Protection Commission estimates that about 12 million activity days of recreation occur in the Delta annually (DPC 2012b). Visitors value the wide expanses of open land, interlaced waterways, historic towns, and the lifestyle offered by the Delta.

  • Figure 5-6 Major Delta Resources and Recreation

    This map shows the variety and distribution of some of the recreational opportunities in the Delta. The region’s mix of land and water offers di-verse recreation experiences and facilities, including fishing, boating, bird watching, other nature activities, hunting, enjoying restaurants, campgrounds, picnic areas, and historic towns and buildings.

  • Figure 7-3 Levees in the Delta

    This map shows the locations of project and non-project levees in the Delta. The project levees begin on the left bank of the Sacramento River at Sherman Island and line most of the riverbanks, as well as the Sacramento River Deep Water Ship Channel and some connecting waterways north to Sacramento and beyond. On the San Joaquin River they line the riverbanks from Old River to Stockton.

  • Figure 7-6 Delta Flood Management Facilities

    The map shows flood management resources including flood control bypasses and floodways, along with other floodplains to be protected. It also shows water supply reliability levee projects, flood control project levees and urban non-project levees.

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