In response to calls by The Bay Institute and others for a strategic vision for restoration of the Bay-Delta ecosystem and sustainable management of its water and other resources, the independent Delta Vision Blue Ribbon Task Force was appointed by the Schwarzenegger administration in 2006 and submitted a detailed strategic plan to the state legislature and the governor in December 2008. That plan, incorporating many of our recommendations, served as the basis for the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta Reform Act, which we also helped draft and pass, which was enacted in November 2009.
Working with a broad coalition of conservation organizations, The Bay Institute developed a comprehensive set of management recommendations to help guide deliberations by the Task Force and the legislature on how to best ensure a sustainable future for the Delta, based on the following elements:
- Clear, measurable and enforceable targets for the Bay-Delta ecosystem, including targets to maintain sustainable fish populations, restore hundreds of thousands of acres of four historic habitat types, and increase flows in the spring and fall periods. (The Bay Institute has been the leader in the science community in developing these targets and is currently working with independent scientists to finalize the targets and secure their adoption by federal and state regulators).
- Enough dedicated environmental water to meet the targets, and a water master to oversee its use. The Bay Institute has led the environmental community¹s efforts to use the latest science to identify the flows needed to restore the Bay-Delta ecosystem. (The State Water Resources Control Board relied heavily on our work in adopting new (non-binding) flow criteria in 2010 to protect the public trust values of that ecosystem. Over the next few years this information will be used to help set new water quality standards for the Bay-Delta).
- A new Delta State Park and National Heritage Area, along with stronger oversight of land use in all areas of the Delta.
- A new water use fee, and environmentally and economically sound criteria for financing future projects.