San Francisco Bay Delta

Bay Delta Action Plan

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2012 San Francisco Bay Delta Action Plan

EPA published the San Francisco Bay Delta Action Plan (Bay Delta Action Plan) in August 2012 and identified seven priority activities, listed below, to advance the protection and restoration of aquatic resources and ensure a reliable water supply in the San Francisco Bay Delta Estuary watershed.

Implementing Bay Delta Action Plan priorities will contribute to restoration and protection of Bay Delta Estuary aquatic resources, however, actions by government and private partners are essential for achieving these goals.

2011 CWA Program Review and Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPR)

Action Plan priorities were informed by an evaluation of aquatic life protection by CWA programs (see Bay Delta Action Plan - Appendix I, analysis of water quality reports) and public comments. EPA's review, which was triggered by the plummeting numbers of salmon and other fish species over the last 10 years, has shown that state and federal programs under the Clean Water Act have not stemmed the decline of the estuary's aquatic resources. Two estuarine fish species, Delta smelt and longfin smelt, have declined to such low levels that fishery scientists fear they could become extinct at any time.

The CWA program review was launched on February 10, 2011 by publishing an Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPR) for Water Quality Challenges in the Bay Delta Estuaries, which asked the public to consider broadly whether EPA should be taking new or different actions under its programs to address recent significant declines in multiple aquatic species in the Bay Delta Estuary.

The ANPR summarized EPA’s technical knowledge about seven major aquatic life stressors in the Bay Delta Estuary, the regulatory and non-regulatory framework addressing those stressors, and requested public comment regarding what EPA might do differently to more effectively reduce the impact of stressors and protect aquatic life.

Public comments in response to the ANPR generally support protection of aquatic resources, although opinions diverge about which stressors are the most harmful and how best to restore and protect aquatic habitat.

2009 Federal California Bay-Delta Commitment

The ANPR, CWA Program Evaluation, and Action Plan fulfill EPA’s commitments in the 2009 California Bay-Delta Interim Federal Action Plan (PDF) Exit. EPA and five other federal partners renewed their commitment to support California's efforts to find long term water management solutions for the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta in 2009. These commitments are summarized in a Memoranda of Understanding (MOU) for California Bay-Delta Interim Federal Action Plan, 2009 and specific actions and commitments are outlined in the 2009 IFAP which describes how each agency will help California address the ecological and water supply crises in the San Francisco Bay Delta.