Adaptive Management

Adaptive management is a science-based, structured approach to improving our understanding of the problems and uncertainties of environmental and water management. The Delta Science Program provides science support to other agencies and organizations that are planning and implementing adaptive management. Our objective is to support science that will improve environmental decision-making under uncertain conditions in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta.

Upcoming Events

Severe, multi-year droughts challenge water managers’ ability to “keep salinity at bay” in the Delta with reservoir releases and export curtailments. This has necessitated innovative solutions to salinity management. The Delta Science Program is convening a series of workshops in 2022-2023 to understand the range of issues associated with salt intrusion to the Delta, discuss different salinity management tools and strategies, identify knowledge gaps that could be filled with future research and modeling, and conduct a demonstration scenario modeling exercise. The long-term goal of the workshops is to catalyze a collaborative, adaptive management approach to controlling salt intrusion in the Delta in the face of severe and sustained drought and sea-level rise.

The first workshop, convened in April 2022, focused on:

  • Framing the challenge of future salinity management in the context of climate change, environmental justice, and current laws and regulations
  • Building toward a shared understanding of how salinity management affects different people, industries, and ecological systems
  • Beginning to identify knowledge gaps that could be filled with future research and scenario-based modeling
  • Starting a conversation around goals for long-term adaptive management and laying the foundation for a scenario-based modeling exercise

The second workshop will be held on March 26-27, 2024. This workshop will be focused on:

  • Fostering deeper discussions of the impacts and tradeoffs of different management strategies
  • Refining ideas about future research and scenario-based modeling needs
  • Identifying partners and planning for a collaborative adaptive management framework for salinity management in the Delta

Both days of the workshop will be held remotely on Zoom and will run from 9:00 AM-3:30 PM.

View the Salinity Management Workshop’s agenda and Save the Date Flyer in PDF format.

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Learn more about the Salinity Management Workshops through:

Learn more about Delta salinity and salinity management by reading the following info sheets, developed by the Delta Science Program in partnership with the Salinity Management Workshops Planning Committee:

Adaptive Management Consultation

The Delta Science Program works directly with a number of federal, State, and local agencies that plan and implement ecosystem restoration and water management projects, and also works with partner agencies and NGOs on the development of tools and frameworks to aid adaptive management.

The Delta Science Program Adaptive Management Liaisons are available to consult with project proponents directly and provide advice on their adaptive management efforts.

Services of the adaptive management liaisons include:

  • Provide advice on the availability of models, regional monitoring activities, and relevant research;
  • Help with integrating individual adaptive management projects, plans, and programs across the Delta system;
  • Provide consultation on use of best available science and adaptive management with respect to Delta Plan consistency; and
  • Provide advice on potential active adaptive management experiments, including advice on potential funding avenues and on connections with other relevant research.

To get in touch with a Delta Science Program Adaptive Management Liaison, please email

Interagency Adaptive Management Coordination

The Interagency Adaptive Management Integration Team (IAMIT) is convened by the Delta Science Program to discuss and coordinate strategies for implementing adaptive management for Delta conservation efforts.

The IAMIT is made up of scientific and technical staff from local, State, and federal agencies, and key stakeholder groups. It serves as a technical team that provides input and guidance on current and future adaptive management at a high level that crosscuts individual agency missions. The IAMIT's activities are guided by the April 2019 Delta Conservation Adaptive Management Action Strategy.

Learn more about the IAMIT on its web page.

Past Events

The 2023 Forum will have a thematic focus on governance for adaptive management, with the aim of fostering learning and discussion around governance needs to support effective, equitable, and inclusive processes in the Delta.

The Delta Science Program hosted a virtual Adapting Restoration for Changing Climate Symposium on February 2-3, 2022. Presentations and discussions focused on cutting-edge, climate-adaptive strategies and worked towards a shared understanding of ecosystem restoration across the San Francisco Estuary watershed in the context of climate change.

The Delta Science Plan and the Delta Independent Science Board both call for regular Adaptive Management Forums to promote coordination and learning and foster discussions about implementing adaptive management in the Delta. In response, the Delta Science Program hosts biennial Adaptive Management Forums to provide an opportunity for the Delta community to share knowledge and promote collaboration on adaptive management of the system.

The goals of these forums are to:

  1. Synthesize lessons learned from prior ecosystem restoration and water management projects and research efforts;
  2. Foster information sharing about adaptive management;
  3. Strengthen science-management interactions by connecting decision-makers, practitioners, stakeholders, and scientists; and
  4. Stimulate dialogue around a shared vision of adaptive management.

To learn more about the 2019 and 2021 forums:


Please email us at