Growth under the Delta Plan

The Delta Stewardship Council (DSC) met week before last, completing their business in one day instead of two and with all commissioners and staff present (although some commissioners stepped out for significant periods).

Discussion items included the normal legislative update; continued science program funding; and an update on the Little Hoover Commission’s consideration of the Brown Administration’s proposal to make the DSC part of the Department of Water Resources (DWR).

While little of substance on these matters was discussed, it was clear that the science program is well off the rails in terms of providing anything of value to improving Delta water quality and ecosystem health in the near term. No applied science to resolve or mitigate those issues is being explicitly developed, and the DSC’s Science Plan is a year to 18 months out. The limited value provided by this program and the lack of interest in being time-efficient were striking.

Key items:

  1. The major comments on the Delta Plan were summarized. Supervisor Nottoli  as DSC commissioner did a great job on identifying where Delta communities could be helped.
  2. The staff’s proposed policies and recommendations for the Draft Delta Plan were the focal point of the meeting.  Tom Zuckerman of the Central Delta Water Agency and Greg Brown of the Delta Counties Coalition spoke on the water quality proposed language. The commissioners were split on this, with the staff clearly wanting aggressive and restrictive policies against growth essentially anywhere in the Delta and special restrictions for water quality to assist the BDCP. On respecting local land use, Chair Isenberg took a neutral perspective and wanted a more Delta-favorable language than the staff. Erik Ringelberg of Local Agencies for the North Delta spoke about specifying that the DSC not support condemnation for habitat.
  3. Each Legacy Community had a map developed identifying where future growth would be allowed under the Plan. While the local County databases were used for this, the DSC staff made modifications. All communities should look at their respective maps immediately and make comments.

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