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object(Timber\Post)#3742 (44) { ["ImageClass"]=> string(12) "Timber\Image" ["PostClass"]=> string(11) "Timber\Post" ["TermClass"]=> string(11) "Timber\Term" ["object_type"]=> string(4) "post" ["custom"]=> array(5) { ["_wp_attached_file"]=> string(23) "R_207JLChapter7Rold.pdf" ["wpmf_size"]=> string(7) "1282743" ["wpmf_filetype"]=> string(3) "pdf" ["wpmf_order"]=> string(1) "0" ["searchwp_content"]=> string(58202) "From Envisioning Futures for the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta 7. Delta Options and Alternatives “We must dare to think ‘unthinkable’ thoughts. We must learn to explore all the options and possibilities that confront us in a complex and rapidly changing world. We must learn to welcome and not to fear the voices of dissent. We must dare to think about ‘unthinkable things’ because when things become unthinkable, thinking stops and action becomes mindless.” J. William Fulbright, March 27, 1964 As we saw in Chapter 2, alternatives for managing the Delta have been widely discussed from technical, economic, regulatory, and political perspectives for over a century. Over time, management objectives have evolved. Following the initial focus on flood control for reclaimed Delta islands in the late 1880s, the primary goals of the large water projects built between the 1930s and 1970s were salinity control for in-Delta agriculture and water supply for farmers and urban areas to the south and west of the Delta. Environmental concerns, particularly for the health of key Delta fish species, moved to prominence in the 1970s, and by the early 1990s they led to the creation of the CALFED process. Some of the earliest examinations of management alternatives were the most thoughtful and in-depth, driven by salinity intrusion problems that resulted from greater urban and agricultural use of the Delta itself and increased upstream diversions (Jackson and Paterson, 1977). These studies, mostly conducted in the 1920s and early 1930s, focused almost exclusively on two approaches to salinity management: physical seawater barriers and “hydraulic” barriers, which would regulate net Delta outflow from reservoir releases to keep the Delta fresh (Table 7.1). These earliest examinations consisted of multiple volumes of detailed and probing technical and economic studies (Young, 1929; Matthew, 1931a, 1931b), and they were accompanied by the kind of intense political and policy debates that still characterize Delta discussions. In the 1950s and 1960s, a much more diverse range of approaches was considered; however, the depth of their technical and economic examination was more limited (Jackson and Paterson, 1977). The same could be said of the CALFED investigations 129 Table 7.1 History of Major Delta Alternatives Studied Year Delta Alternatives 1848– Private and Reclamation District Development 1930s Channelizing and leveeing islands with federal navigation improvements 1931 California Water Plan, 1930 Various downstream seawater barriers Hydraulic barrier—net Delta outflow of 3,000–5,000 cfsa 1955 Board of Consultants Six downstream seawater barrier plans Upstream barriers and control structures for through-Delta conveyance (Biemond Plan) 1960 California Department of Water Resources Seawater barrier at Chipps Island Four through-Delta conveyance and barrier plans, variants on the Biemond Plan 1963 California Department of Water Resources Seawater barrier at Chipps Island Peripheral canal (22,000 cfs capacity) Hydraulic barrier “Typical Alternative Delta Water Project”—a through-Delta alternative 1980s California Department of Water Resources Various barrier and flood control programs for the Delta 1996 CALFED Bay-Delta Program (various alternatives considered) Extensive demand management New storage to improve Delta flow Dual Delta conveyanceb Through-Delta conveyance Delta channel habitat and conveyance Extensive habitat restoration with storage Eastside foothills conveyance Chain of lakes conveyance Westside conveyance and river restoration Eastside conveyance 130 Table 7.1 (continued) Year 2000 Delta Alternatives CALFED Record of Decision (current policy, with reassessment of goals and objectives in 2007) Through-Delta conveyance maintained, with levee strengthening, water use efficiency, habitat restoration, and water operations features SOURCES: Jackson and Paterson (1977); CALFED (1996, 2000b). NOTE: Elements in italics were implemented. aAnalyses in the mid-1940s included consideration of a peripheral canal. bCALFED’s dual Delta conveyance included a peripheral canal (10,000 cfs capacity) and through-Delta pumping. conducted in the mid-1990s, which broadened the scope of enquiry but looked at most alternatives in a relatively cursory manner (CALFED, 1996, 1997). Most recently, the Delta has yet again become a topic of urgent policy discussion, for numerous reasons: unease over continued ecological declines, renewed awareness of vulnerabilities to earthquakes and flooding, and increased concern for the effects of Delta water quality on urban and agricultural users, as well as urbanization pressures, sea level rise, and regional climate change. The policy response has included various agency, legislative, and private efforts to examine Delta alternatives, including a flurry of conferences, hearings, workshops, media assessments, and many fine speeches that typically focus on various “obvious” solutions to the Delta’s problems. To date, however, there has been no effort to list and systematically evaluate the range of alternative futures for the Delta. In this chapter, we review the central issues that any Delta alternative must seek to address. We then present nine alternative solution strategies for the Delta, composed of a range of elements and options that address these central issues. Our aim is not to present an exhaustive list. For a system as large and complex as the Delta, examining “all possible alternatives” would be an infinite enterprise. Instead, our goal is to highlight a broad range of potential approaches, drawing from some of the most commonly suggested proposals, some classic alternatives from the past, and some relatively new approaches. Our focus is on strategies for better adapting the Delta to California’s long-term needs and reducing 131 California’s vulnerabilities to catastrophes in the Delta rather than on crisis responses to short-term catastrophes or small reductions in risk. The Four Central Issues Solutions for the Delta typically revolve around four central issues: Delta salinity, in-Delta land and water use, water supply exports, and the ecosystem. For each issue, various options are possible, either exclusively or in combination, within different locations in the Delta or for the Delta as a whole (Table 7.2). Any management alternative for the Delta should address all four of these issues. Delta salinity has been a major concern for over 80 years, since the City of Antioch’s 1920 lawsuit against Sacramento Valley irrigators (discussed in Chapter 2). Salinity affects the potability and taste of urban water supplies, the productivity of irrigated land, and the viability of aquatic ecosystems. For many decades, the focus of policymakers concerned about salinity revolved solely around keeping the Delta fresh, and the policy employed (a hydraulic barrier of net Delta outflow at the Delta’s western edge) resulted in a sharp salinity change near Suisun Marsh. More recent thinking, reflected in Chapter 4, holds that having seasonal or even interannual variability in salinity in parts of the Delta may better mimic the Delta’s natural conditions and help limit the extent of invasive species, which tend to prefer stable salinity or relatively constant freshwater flows. Land use is another important issue in the Delta. Currently, most land in the Delta is agricultural, but there is substantial urban land and increasing economic pressure to urbanize more of the Delta, particularly near major transportation routes. Various infrastructure routes (e.g., ship channels, railroads, highways, pipelines, and power lines) traverse the Delta and must be either supported, altered, or rerouted—all at significant cost. A range of environmental uses already exist or could be created on Delta islands to support aquatic and terrestrial wildlife. The Delta also has increasing value for recreation, such as boating and fishing. Freshwater storage is another recent suggestion for Delta land use. This freshwater storage plan proposes investing in strengthening internal levees on some Delta islands subsided below sea level, allowing them to be filled with 132 Table 7.2 Delta Issues and Options Salinity Conditions Fresh Brackish Fluctuating Delta Land Uses Agricultural Urban Environmental Recreational Freshwater storage Infrastructure support Water Supply Exports Year-round Delta pumping Seasonal Delta pumping Peripheral aqueduct Through-Delta facilities No exports Ecosystem Components Open-water habitat Riverine habitat Freshwater wetlands Tidal brackish water Seasonal floodplain Upland habitat water, on a tidal or seasonal timescale, to help water projects pump fresh water from the Delta. All of these land uses have different implications for water use and the quality of water required in nearby channels, the volume and quality of drainage, and economic sustainability. Fortunately, the Delta is large and diverse enough to support a mix of land uses. Water supply exports from the Delta are a major cause of controversy. With or without exports, the Delta would have many serious problems with flooding, land subsidence, degraded habitat, invasive species, and water quality. Any solution must address water supply exports, but there are many approaches to providing or avoiding this function for the Delta. Likewise, any solution must address the Delta as a home for habitats that support a wide range of organisms, including many at-risk species. Broad habitat types important in the Delta include pelagic fish habitat, wildlife habitat, fresh open-water habitat, different forms of wetlands, and sustainable agricultural areas (see Table 4.2). Management options and decisions will determine the abundance of each habitat type. A key challenge will be managing the habitats to support desirable, mainly native, species and to keep populations of undesirable invasive species at a low level. Finally, cultural values are also likely to have an important role for Delta management, for historical, recreational, local, and tribal interests. 133 Elements of Any Solution Given the broad range of services demanded of the Delta, it is unlikely that any single action can resolve the Delta’s problems. Instead, a portfolio of actions is likely to be required. Table 7.3 lists many potential elements of a comprehensive solution. Unfortunately, many proposed Delta “solutions” often advocate only one of these elements, with little discussion of how it would benefit or suffer from inclusion in a package of actions seeking to achieve a wider range of objectives. Although current Delta management pursues a wide range of goals and includes many of these elements, the system’s long-term sustainability is in doubt. Elements not currently pursued are controversial in one way or another, as they represent change—in water exports, land use, or associated economic activity. Delta exports and inflows. Water supplies to users upstream or downstream of the Delta can be addressed by several options listed in Table 7.3, alone or in combination. Exports can occur via pumping through the Delta (the present method) or via a peripheral conveyance channel. Since the 1940s, regulation of outflows has been a way to keep the Delta fresh. As we saw in Chapter 6, this type of regulation can affect all users of Delta waters, including exporters, in-Delta users, and upstream diverters on the Sacramento and San Joaquin Rivers. It is also possible to imagine constructing more and better fish screens, or changing operations, or otherwise reducing harm to fish from exports, or stopping water exports from the Delta completely. Internal flow modifications. The Delta’s sheer size and hydraulic complexity provide many opportunities for internal flow modifications to achieve water supply and water quality goals. These include a wide variety of minor and major physical and operational changes. Only a few potential changes to internal Delta hydraulics have ever been explored in great depth. Currently, temporary barriers in the southern Delta are used to help maintain a barrier during the summer and fall months. The South Delta Improvement Plan envisions the use of operable flow barriers to improve flows and water quality (CALFED, 2000a, 2000b). It is likely that some new internal modifications would be desirable as part of almost any longterm solution for the Delta. 134 Table 7.3 Elements of Potential Delta Alternatives Delta Water Exports and Inflows 1. Year-round pumping within the Deltaa 2. Seasonal pumping 3. Peripheral aqueduct from the Sacramento River 4. Extended South Folsom Canal from the American River 5. Regulation of Delta inflows and outflowsa 6. Screening for power plant cooling water (currently resulting in substantial fish entrainment)a 7. Fish screens at pump intakes (currently not in place everywhere)a Internal Flow Modifications 1. Channel barriers 2. Temporary barriersa 3. New channels and flow capacities 4. Alteration of existing channels 5. Locks 6. Tide-gates (one-way) 7. Operable gates 8. Relocation of water intakes 9. Floodways (using existing farmland) 10. Levee and island barriersa Reductions in Salt and Contaminant Loads 1. San Joaquin Valley drain to western Delta 2. Reduction of salt loads entering the San Joaquin River 3. Reduction of pesticides and other toxicant dischargesa 4. Reduction or modification of Delta island drainage Levees 1. Current leveesa 2. Upgraded current levees to PL 84-99 standards (CALFED goal) 3. Fortified levees 4. Setback levees (located some distance from shore, difficult for subsided islands) 5. Environmental levees (designed to improve ecosystem habitats) 6. Storage levees (levees with internal and structural modifications to enable water storage) Delta Island Uses 1. Urban usesa 2. Agriculturea 3. Environmental usesa 4. Recreationa 5. Freshwater storage 6. Flood bypasses 135 Table 7.3 (continued) Civil Infrastructure 1. Stockton ship channela 2. Sacramento ship channela 3. Railroadsa 4. Highways, roads, and bridgesa 5. Gas and water pipelinesa 6. Electric power linesa 7. Underground gas storage tanksa Mitigations 1. In-kind exchanges of water supplies or land 2. Financial compensations 3. Other types of transitional support NOTE: These actions are representative; additional elements are possible. aCurrently in use. Reductions in contaminant loads. Water quality in the Delta is severely compromised by the salts, pesticides, and nutrients that drain from San Joaquin Valley farms into the San Joaquin River; agricultural drainage from Delta islands adds to this problem. Urban runoff is also a contributing factor. Several approaches exist for addressing this problem. These include reductions in drainage flows, reductions in the salinity of water used for irrigation, greater dilution of drainage waters with cleaner water, and the construction of a drain to dispose of drainage water downstream of the Delta (similar to the Kesterson Drain concept).1 Although some recent programs have begun to encourage farmers to diminish harmful runoff (for instance, through changes in pesticide use), the contaminant problem remains largely unresolved. Given the growing evidence that contaminants are harming Delta wildlife, it is likely that better pollution control will need to be part of any future Delta alternative. 1The San Luis Drain was built to convey drainage from westside San Joaquin Valley farms to the Kesterson Reservoir. It opened in 1981 but was closed in 1985 because the selenium (a highly toxic type of salt) was severely damaging wildlife in the area of the drainage ponds. A reformulated project, involving prefiltration of the toxic waters, is among the options being considered by the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, which is apparently under legal obligation to provide a drainage solution for some CVP contractors (Boxall, 2006). 136 Levees. The backbone of the current system is 1,100 miles of Delta levees. Improvement of levee reliability and environmental performance may take many forms. Modification to some of the Delta’s levees is likely to be desirable. It is probably not desirable to treat all levees in the same fashion. Delta island uses. Land use decisions or regulations for a variety of land uses will be an indispensable part of any Delta solution. Different land uses create different requirements for flood protection, water quality, and transportation and have different implications for management costs, land subsidence, water use, drainage water quality, environmental performance, and sustainability. Civil infrastructure. As noted above, the Delta’s lands and waterways are also used as conduits for a variety of civil infrastructure. The navigation depth and channel geometries of the Sacramento and San Joaquin ship channels have important implications for hydrodynamics and water quality. The viability of specific configurations for roads, rail lines, bridges, and power and water pipelines depends on decisions about Delta levees and channels. Mitigations. A long-term Delta solution would have to include some form of compensation for interests who cannot be reasonably satisfied in terms of their water or land use rights. As discussed further in Chapter 9, mitigation measures to ease transitions might include in-kind compensation, financial compensation, or other measures. Although Table 7.3 does not provide an exhaustive list, it represents the type and range of activities that might be included in a more successful approach to managing the Sacramento–San Joaquin Delta. In the remainder of this chapter, we draw from this list to outline nine possible alternatives. Of course, many combinations of the elements on this list could result in viable alternatives, and it is impossible to examine all of them.2 We chose these nine to illustrate some basic types of approaches, with the hope of improving the public discussion of Delta solutions and policies. Often, interested parties will seek to immediately identify what 2Even simple combinations of only 20 elements in Table 7.3 result in 220 = 1,048,576 alternatives. 137 they see as the “obvious” solution to the Delta’s problems. At this time, we do not see any strong comparative basis for such assertions. Delta Alternatives: A First Cut Our nine potential Delta alternatives consist of some prominent contemporary solutions, some long-standing historical solutions, and some novel recent solutions. The solutions fall into three broad categories (Table 7.4). The first category includes alternatives that aim to maintain the Delta as a freshwater body, consistent with policies pursued over the past 70 years. The second category includes alternatives that continue to allow substantial water exports, but with some basic changes in water management to allow for fluctuating salinity and local specialization of Delta land and water uses. A third set of alternatives considers changes that substantially reduce or modify the role of exports. Although not exhaustive, these nine alternatives should suffice to illustrate the breadth of solutions that might be available. We discuss the broad contours of each alternative below. In Chapter 8, we provide a preliminary comparative evaluation. However, before any longterm decisions are made, more detailed specification, design, and evaluation are needed. Freshwater Delta Alternatives In these alternatives, the Delta would be maintained as a largely freshwater body, and all water exports would continue to be made directly from the Delta. For decades, water managers and interests have sought solutions to maintain these objectives, including the constructing of physical salinity barriers and hydraulic barriers of various forms. Although maintaining the Delta as a freshwater body provides considerable water supply convenience for water users in and south of the Delta, it implies reliance on levee structures or salinity barriers as well as upstream reservoirs with sufficient inflows to restrict seawater intrusion. A levee-dominated solution does not automatically imply a freshwater Delta, but maintenance of Delta levees has become associated with supporting fresh water use for exporters and in-Delta pumpers. 1. Levees as Usual. This is a business-as-usual Delta. The current leveeintensive system would be maintained with something close to 138 Table 7.4 Nine Long-Term Delta Alternatives 139 Alternative Delta Salinity Delta Land Uses Water Supply Exports Freshwater Delta 1. Levees as Usual—current or increased effort Fresh Agriculture Delta pumping 2. Fortress Delta (Dutch model) Agriculture and urban 3. Seaward Saltwater Barrier Agriculture and urban Fluctuating Delta 4. Peripheral Canal Plus 5. South Delta Restoration Aqueduct 6. Armored-Island Aqueduct Fluctuating (west) and fresh (east/south) Mixed, locally specialized Mixed, locally specialized Mixed, locally specialized Peripheral aqueduct Peripheral aqueduct Delta pumping Reduced-Exports Delta 7. Opportunistic Delta 8. Eco-Delta 9. Abandoned Delta Fluctuating and fresh Mixed, locally specialized Mixed, locally specialized Trend to open water Delta pumping (variable) Delta pumping (reduced) No exports NOTES: “Mixed” includes agricultural, urban, and environmental land uses. Other alternatives and combinations could be conceived of. recent levels of effort or modestly upgraded to meet the federal PL 8499 standards for agricultural levees (CALFED, 2000a). Failed levees would be repaired to prior conditions, along with most flooded Delta islands. Delta management would be crisis management—dealing with system failures and deterioration—but increased investment in levees would reduce crisis frequency. This approach could become expensive; for example, in 2003, state financial liabilities for levee failures increased as the result of the Paterno decision, which made the state liable for flood damage behind “project” levees belonging to the Central Valley flood control system (Department of Water Resources, 2005a). Levee failures may occur individually, for no particular reason, or in groups as a result of floods or earthquakes. Although this alternative continues to provide an inexpensive short-term solution for some users of Delta services, any levee failures will result in either increasingly expensive levee maintenance and island reconstruction costs or increased numbers of flooded and abandoned islands (such as today’s Franks Tract and Mildred Island). As levee failures accumulate, the Delta ultimately becomes a collection of flooded islands. 2. Fortress Delta. In this alternative, “whatever it takes” investments would be made for constructing, maintaining, and repairing levees, investing in considerably more than the 200-year level of protection for urban and urbanizing areas of the Delta (which can afford such protection) as well as in high levels of protection for selected Delta islands critical to maintaining a freshwater Delta. These levees would be upgraded and maintained on the Dutch model, where design floods range from the 1,250-year to 10,000-year events (Van Der Most and Wehrung, 2005).3 To make this effort more cost-effective and reliable, the total length of levees in the system would be shortened, reconfiguring some islands. Fortification efforts would especially focus on western islands and would include seismic upgrades to both embankment materials and levee foundations. Many interior islands would not be fortified, unless deemed necessary for protecting urban areas or for providing barriers for salinity encroachment into the Delta. 3|Note that Dutch and American calculation methods differ for estimating flood frequency. Infrequent floods typically appear more infrequent when using Dutch estimation methods (personal communication, Joe Countryman, MBK Engineering, 2006). 140 Over time, the lower-reliability levees in the Delta’s interior would be likely to fail. Failed levees on many central and eastern islands would probably not be repaired, given the costs relative to the value of their previous land uses and the lack of need to maintain them for water export quality. This would provide for a gradual, if somewhat random, increase in open-water habitat over time. Figure 7.1 illustrates one such alternative. 3. Seaward Saltwater Barrier. Seaward saltwater barriers are one of the oldest and most extreme proposals for maintaining the Delta as a freshwater body (Young, 1929; Matthew, 1931a, 1931b; Jackson and Paterson, 1977). This type of solution was endorsed by many agencies in the past, mostly before 1963 (see Chapter 2). Most seaward salinity barrier proposals have recommended building locks for ship passage and gates or spillways for passing major floods, with the major goal of providing reliable freshwater quality upstream of the barrier. A complete seawater barrier would also turn the Delta into a freshwater reservoir. With the current configuration of islands, the usable storage capacity would likely be small (about 100,000 acre-feet), although reservoir capacity could increase as levees fail. Investigations by the Army Corps of Engineers’ Waterways Experiment Station in the late 1970s considered partial barriers, such as underwater sills in Carquinez Strait, to restrict seawater flows into the Delta. Over the past year, several Dutch engineers have suggested the construction of a large movable barrier similar to the Maeslant storm surge barrier that protects Rotterdam in the Netherlands (Breitler, 2006). In the past, problems with expense, navigation, Delta island levee failure, water quality, and fish passage led to the rejection of seaward saltwater barriers. Such impediments are likely to be even greater today, given heightened concerns about fish passage, connectivity among habitat areas, and polluted urban and agricultural runoff. However, on a smaller scale, salinity barriers may have some potential for regulating tidal flows and salinity in parts of the Delta. For instance, a small saltwater control structure was constructed on Montezuma Slough in Suisun Marsh in 1988. Temporary barriers also have become common in southern parts of the Delta. 141 SAN JOAQUIN R. h Delta Management Alternative #2: Fortress Delta Sacramento and San Joaquin Rivers Delta waterways and other rivers Suisun Marsh Potential flooded islands Brackish tidal Freshwater tidal Fortified levees Fairfield Barker Slough Pumping Plant Cache Sloug Lindsey Slough YOLO BYPASS SACRAMENTO R. R. Sacramento AMERICAN Freeport Clarksburg Hood Courtland Ryde Walnut Grove COSUMNES R. Dry Creek Grizzly Bay Suisun Marsh Suisun Marsh Salinity Control Gate Rio Vista Isleton ineztrait Honker Suisun Bay Bay Pittsburg Contra Concord Costa Canal Antioch Oakley Discovery Bay MOKELUMNE R. Lodi Stockton Carqu S Marsh Creek Los Vaqueros Reservoir N 20 24 6 miles Harvey O. Banks Delta Pumping Plant Tracy Pumping South Bay Pumping Plant Plant CalifoDrneilataA-Mqueendduoctat Tracy Canal Lathrop Manteca Figure 7.1—Delta Management Alternative #2: Fortress Delta Fluctuating Delta Alternatives By hardening water export capacity within the Delta itself or through a peripheral canal, parts of the Delta could feature fluctuating salinity to promote desirable species, while other parts remain fresh. Such alternatives would allow local areas within the Delta to take on more 142 specialized ecosystem and economic functions, and certain current functions could change location. For example, duck clubs in the Suisun Marsh area would shift to western and central Delta islands, allowing Suisun Marsh to specialize in fish and wildlife that require more naturally fluctuating salinity conditions. The Yolo Bypass and Cache Slough area would be managed for greater fish-rearing habitat. Eastern and southern peripheral islands and lands with better transportation access would have more urban development, which would finance Dutch-standard urban protection levees. Many Delta islands would remain agricultural, with most Delta recreation remaining intact, although, again, there would be some rearrangement. Some of the more subsided islands might be flooded or allowed to flood (with or without levees) for water storage, fish habitat, or both. Some levees might be breached in a planned manner, whereas others might be allowed to fail, allowing continued near-term agricultural production, avoiding long-term state financial liabilities, and providing a long-term means of land use change. Salinity in the western Delta would become more naturally fluctuating but would remain fresh for much of the year. The eastern Delta would remain fresh except for salt loads from San Joaquin Valley agriculture. To allow salinity to fluctuate within the Delta for ecosystem purposes, other provisions would be made for Delta water exports. Here, we consider two variants of a peripheral canal and one through-Delta conveyance facility. In light of the frequent discussions of the advantages and disadvantages of a peripheral canal, it is worth noting some general considerations at the outset.4 For water exporters, a peripheral canal represents greater assurance of water quality (particularly lower salinity and disinfection by-product precursors) and somewhat greater assurance of quantities of water deliveries (because exports would be less susceptible to conditions within the Delta). Environmental groups often express some interest in a peripheral canal because, if properly operated, it should result in less disruption in fish migrations and should entrap or entrain far fewer fish (presuming the construction of adequate fish screens).5 Such 4S| ee also the discussion in Chapter 6. 5|One option is to use the river bank as a filter or fish screen, a method known as “bank filtration.” It is usually developed by placing a big well and pump near a porous 143 an upstream diversion for major Delta exports would also provide greater flexibility for regulating local in-Delta water flow and quality conditions. The two peripheral canal variants presented here illustrate some of these and other benefits, and point to certain precautions that could be taken in their construction and operation. 4. Peripheral Canal Plus. This alternative builds on the now-traditional concept of constructing an isolated facility or peripheral canal from the vicinity of Hood, on the Sacramento River, to the CVP and SWP canal intakes at or near Clifton Court Forebay. The canal would be supplemented by actions to improve conditions within the Delta for various purposes (ecosystem, recreation, agriculture, housing, etc.). The original peripheral canal proposal was for roughly 22,000 cfs (Figure 7.2 illustrates this proposal, which went to voters in 1982). A future canal might be much smaller, perhaps only supplementing continued direct exports from the Delta. The canal examined by CALFED (1999) considered a capacity of only 10,000 cfs. A larger canal would provide economies of scale and increase operational flexibility but would be limited by the combined downstream capacities of existing CVP and SWP export aqueducts (about 15,000 cfs). Operational flexibility includes the ability to manage salinity for ecosystem support. However, even a smaller canal might raise fears and concerns for water quality within the Delta. As large reductions in direct Delta export pumping would likely leave southern Delta channels stagnant, a mitigation or flow augmentation program might be needed to maintain water quality at a level required by Delta fish species, farming, and recreation. The precise package of noncanal activities would vary with desired in-Delta objectives. 5. South Delta Restoration Aqueduct (SDRA). The SDRA would consist of a canal similar to the one discussed in the previous example, but its major outlet would enter the lower San Joaquin River, perhaps as far upstream as Old River. Figure 7.3 illustrates one possible configuration of the SDRA. This canal would shift a portion of the Delta inflows from the Sacramento River to the San Joaquin River. These river bank. Sometimes a big ditch or “infiltration gallery” is constructed parallel to the river to improve efficiency. 144 SAN JOAQUIN R. h SACRAMENTO R. R. Delta Management Alternative #4: Peripheral Canal Plus Sacramento and San Joaquin Rivers Sacramento AMERICAN YOLO BYPASS Delta waterways and other rivers Suisun Marsh Potential bypass and flooding Freeport Clarksburg Brackish tidal Freshwater tidal Canal Release facility Fairfield Barker Slough Pumping Plant Cache Sloug Lindsey Slough Intake Hood Pumping Plant Courtland Mokelumne Siphon Ryde Walnut Grove COSUMNES R. Dry Creek Grizzly Bay Suisun Marsh Suisun Marsh Salinity Control Gate Rio Vista Isleton ineztrait Honker Suisun Bay Bay Pittsburg Contra Concord Costa Canal Antioch Oakley Discovery Bay MOKELUMNE R. Lodi San Joaquin Siphon Stockton Marsh Creek Old River Siphon Los Vaqueros Reservoir N 20 24 6 miles Harvey O. Banks Delta Pumping Plant Tracy Pumping South Bay Pumping Plant Plant CalifoDrneilataA-Mqueendduoctat Tracy Canal Lathrop Manteca Carqu S FigFuigreur7e.27—.2—DeDltealtMa ManaangaegmeemnetnAt lAtelrtenrantaivtiev#e4#:4:PePreiprihpehrearlaCl CananalalPPlulus s supplemental freshwater flows would resolve various water quality and flow problems of the lower San Joaquin River, the Stockton ship channel (which has seasonally low dissolved oxygen), and the southern Delta, while providing fresher water for ultimate export pumping. If these flows were introduced far enough up the San Joaquin River and 145 Carqu S SAN JOAQUIN R. h SACRAMENTO R. R. Delta Management Alternative #5: South Delta Restoration Aqueduct Sacramento and San Joaquin Rivers Sacramento AMERICAN YOLO BYPASS Delta waterways and other rivers Suisun Marsh Potential bypass and flooding Freeport Clarksburg Brackish tidal Freshwater tidal Canal Release facility Optional canal Cache Sloug Fairfield Barker Slough Pumping Plant Lindsey Slough Intake Hood Pumping Plant Courtland Mokelumne Siphon Ryde Walnut Grove COSUMNES R. Dry Creek Grizzly Bay Suisun Marsh Suisun Marsh Salinity Control Gate Rio Vista Isleton ineztrait Honker Suisun Bay Bay Pittsburg Contra Concord Costa Canal Antioch Oakley Discovery Bay MOKELUMNE R. Lodi San Joaquin Siphon Stockton Marsh Creek Old River Siphon Los Vaqueros Reservoir N 20 24 6 miles Harvey O. Banks Delta Pumping Plant Tracy Pumping South Bay Pumping Plant Plant CalifoDrneilataA-Mqueendduoctat Tracy Canal Lathrop Manteca Figure 7.3—Delta Management Alternative #5: South Delta Restoration Aqueduct additional channel changes were made, some of these flows could bypass the Stockton ship channel and go into a wetland and flood bypass channel through the southern Delta, contributing to improved habitat and agricultural water quality in that region. This alternative 146 would also relieve some pressure on the Stanislaus River and other tributary reservoirs to achieve San Joaquin River water quality standards and environmental flows employed to help young salmon migrate down the San Joaquin River and through the Delta. Flows up to 5,000 cfs might be needed for the lower San Joaquin River to meet the objectives of the SDRA. Since this canal—unlike the peripheral canal alternative noted above—would rely on existing Delta pumping plant intakes for exports to points south, it would be subject to similar regulatory controls and restrictions. One variant of this alternative would be to have a smaller branch of the aqueduct directly feed highquality water into the California Aqueduct and the Contra Costa Canal for urban uses. 6. Armored-Island Aqueduct. This is a through-Delta alternative in which a major semi-isolated freshwater conveyance corridor would be created by armoring selected islands and cutting off or tide-gating various channels within the central-eastern Delta. The location of this aqueduct would be determined on the basis of cost; seismic risk; water quality; Delta land use; and ship, boat, and fish passage considerations. (For an illustration, see Figure 7.4.) An armoredisland aqueduct would allow restoration and reconfiguration of western islands and urban development on higher-elevation eastern lands and islands. Water exports might be supplemented with a through-Delta canal at Snodgrass Slough or a northeast Delta floodway at Tyler or Staten Islands. Intakes at the upstream end would need to be screened to prevent fish entrainment. It would be potentially problematic or expensive to maintain adequate depth where the aqueduct crosses the Stockton Ship Channel. Several forms of this solution were considered in the 1950s and 1960s as variants of the Biemond Plan (Jackson and Paterson, 1977), in the 1980s as the Orlob Plan (Orlob, 1982), and in the 1990s by CALFED (1996) as various through-Delta alternatives. Reduced-Exports Alternatives Several Delta alternatives rely neither on new Delta export facilities nor on levees. However, they imply an ability to greatly modify the pattern and quality of Delta exports. Two of the alternatives examined below would create a locally specialized Delta with fluctuating salinity, as in the 147 SAN JOAQUIN R. h Delta Management Alternative #6: Armored-Island Aqueduct Sacramento and San Joaquin Rivers Delta waterways and other rivers Suisun Marsh Potential bypass and flooding Brackish tidal Freshwater tidal Channel to river Dredged channels Fortified levees Tidal gates Cache Sloug Fairfield Barker Slough Pumping Plant Lindsey Slough YOLO BYPASS SACRAMENTO R. R. Sacramento AMERICAN Freeport Clarksburg Hood Courtland Snodgrass Slough Ryde Walnut Grove COSUMNES R. Dry Creek Grizzly Bay Suisun Marsh Suisun Marsh Salinity Control Gate Rio Vista Isleton ineztrait Honker Suisun Bay Bay Pittsburg Contra Concord Costa Canal Antioch Oakley Discovery Bay MOKELUMNE R. Lodi Stockton Carqu S Marsh Creek Los Vaqueros Reservoir N 20 24 6 miles Harvey O. Banks Delta Pumping Plant Tracy Pumping South Bay Pumping Plant Plant CalifoDrneilataA-Mqueendduoctat Tracy Canal Lathrop Manteca Figure 7.4—Delta Management Alternative #6: Armored-Island Aqueduct preceding group. A third alternative consists of abandoning the Delta for most human purposes. 7. Opportunistic Delta. This alternative would allow opportunistic seasonal Delta exports only, during times of high discharge of fresh water in the Delta (generally the winter and spring months). This 148 change in pumping regimes might be accompanied by an expansion of export pumping capacities to allow larger volumes of water to be captured during the wet season. Such operations would allow greater natural fluctuations in western Delta salinities, which may have significant ecological value. Surface storage within and near the Delta might be desirable for this situation, allowing large gulps of fresh water to be taken when available, to be released more slowly into the canals south of the Delta, which have limited capacity. Additional storage south of the Delta, probably in groundwater banks, might also be useful to cover dry years when little opportunistic Delta pumping is available. Major in-Delta levee expenses would not be needed for water exports. Instead, expenses would be required for strategically located storage and other water supply alternatives, such as wastewater recycling. Because many, if not most, islands would become flooded as a result of subsidence and levee deterioration, opportunities would exist to create habitat favorable to desirable fish species, especially on western islands (e.g., Sherman and Twitchell Islands). Figure 7.5 illustrates an Opportunistic Delta alternative. 8. Eco-Delta. Restoring the Delta to something resembling its historical conditions is not possible because of the irreversible nature of many past alterations, such as invasions of alien species and land subsidence. Future changes, resulting from sea level rise and regional climate change, also mean that the Delta will never again be as it once was (or is now). However, it may be managed to favor key Delta species— especially at-risk native fish and birds and species important for fishing and hunting—and other desirable ecosystem attributes. In this scenario, water extraction, transportation corridors, and other functions would be maintained as long as they did not seriously interfere with rehabilitation goals. Some water exports would occur, but probably less than in the Opportunistic Delta alternative. Some components of this vision include (1) flooded islands that provide habitat for pelagic species such as the delta smelt and that discourage undesirable alien species, (2) inland islands managed as freshwater wetlands for duck hunting and other purposes, (3) islands managed for upland foraging habitat for sandhill cranes and other 149 Carqu S SAN JOAQUIN R. h Delta Management Alternative #7: Opportunistic Delta Sacramento and San Joaquin Rivers Delta waterways and other rivers Brackish tidal Freshwater tidal Potential flooded islands Possible new storage Fairfield Barker Slough Pumping Plant Cache Sloug Lindsey Slough YOLO BYPASS SACRAMENTO R. R. Sacramento AMERICAN Freeport Clarksburg Hood Courtland Ryde Walnut Grove COSUMNES R. Dry Creek Grizzly Bay Suisun Marsh Suisun Marsh Salinity Control Gate Rio Vista Isleton ineztrait Honker Suisun Bay Bay Pittsburg Contra Concord Costa Canal Antioch Oakley Discovery Bay MOKELUMNE R. Lodi Stockton Marsh Creek Expanded reservoir Los Vaqueros Reservoir N 20 24 6 miles Harvey O. Banks Delta Pumping Plant Tracy Pumping South Bay Pumping Plant More storage Plant CalifoDrneilataA-Mqueendduoctat Tracy Canal Lathrop Manteca Figure 7.5—Delta Management Alternative #7: Opportunistic Delta wintering waterfowl (presumably by wildlife-friendly farming), and (4) large expanses of peripheral areas restored to some resemblance of the historical Delta (e.g., Suisun Marsh, Cache Slough region, Cosumnes River floodplain), as discussed in Chapter 4. The text box below describes one possible configuration of Delta islands that would manage the Delta mainly for ecosystem values; such a configuration 150 would also be consistent with several of the locally specialized alternatives discussed above. Figure 7.6 illustrates this configuration. The Eco-Delta may also satisfy other goals. Strategic filling of subsided Delta islands is often suggested to enhance ecosystem restoration and levee stability. Island-filling opportunities might include restored tule marshes, seasonal or tidal freshwater storage to enhance water supply, carbon sequestration farms or parks to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions associated with economic activity, and disposal of dredged and other materials.6 The Eco-Delta alternative would require a new administrative and financial framework for the Delta, along with significant changes in land use and ownership. Current management of the Delta is not promising. However, because each Delta island can be put to different uses (or combination of uses), a nearly unlimited number of future alternatives exist. This text box illustrates one possible configuration of Delta islands that would manage the Delta mainly for ecosystem values (the Eco-Delta), in association with a peripheral canal (Peripheral Canal Plus or South Delta Restoration Aqueduct), or in association with opportunistic water withdrawals (Opportunistic Delta). The configuration draws on ecosystem needs in the Delta presented in Chapter 4. For an illustration, see the text box below. 9. Abandoned Delta. If the Delta proves itself to be an excessively unreliable or expensive part of California’s water supply system, water users who currently depend on it can be expected to minimize or eliminate this dependency. Many Delta exporters already have taken steps to limit their reliance on Delta exports, with the development of conjunctive use and off-stream storage projects at Los Vaqueros, in the Tulare Basin, and in Southern California. Other activities under way or planned include local water demand reduction, water reuse, and desalination. In addition, Delta farmers, reflecting on the long-term capacity of the levees and increasingly saline irrigation water, may also plan to retire or move. Fishery agencies and interests, faced with the 6C| arbon sequestration would work much as the pre-European peat swamp, taking carbon dioxide from the atmosphere into marsh plants or perhaps fast-growing trees. These plants could then be interred. 151 Carqu S SAN JOAQUIN R. h Delta Management Alternative #8: Eco-Delta Sacramento and San Joaquin Rivers Delta waterways and other rivers Upland game/waterfowl Experimental Brackish tidal Freshwater tidal Potential flooded areas Possible new storage Wetlands Tidal gates Fairfield Barker Slough Pumping Plant Cache Sloug Lindsey Slough YOLO BYPASS SACRAMENTO R. R. Sacramento AMERICAN Freeport Clarksburg Hood Courtland Ryde Walnut Grove COSUMNES R. Dry Creek Grizzly Bay Suisun Marsh Suisun Marsh Salinity Control Gate Rio Vista Isleton ineztrait Honker Suisun Bay Bay Pittsburg Contra Concord Costa Canal Antioch Oakley Discovery Bay MOKELUMNE R. Lodi Stockton Marsh Creek Expanded reservoir Los Vaqueros Reservoir N 20 24 6 miles Harvey O. Banks Delta Pumping Plant Tracy Pumping South Bay Pumping Plant More storage Plant CalifoDrneilataA-Mqueendduoctat Tracy Canal Lathrop Manteca Figure 7.6—Delta Management Alternative #8: Eco-Delta unreliability and seeming ineffectiveness of in-Delta restoration efforts, might seek to invest their limited resources elsewhere. A planned multidecade retreat from the Delta might involve the eventual conversion of the western Delta and Suisun Bay to large patches of open water with fluctuating salinity, the transition of water 152 suppliers to different supplies and additional water use efficiencies, and the phasing out of much of the Delta’s farm economy. A slow unplanned retreat from the Delta, involving the cumulative effects of individual water user and landowner actions, is likely to provide a much less predictable outcome. Heterogeneous Island Management Current management of the Delta is not promising. However, because each Delta island can be put to different uses (or combination of uses), a nearly unlimited number of future alternatives exist. This text box illustrates one possible configuration of Delta islands that would manage the Delta mainly for ecosystem values (the Eco-Delta), in association with a peripheral canal (Peripheral Canal Plus or South Delta Restoration Aqueduct), or in association with opportunistic water withdrawals (Opportunistic Delta). The configuration draws on ecosystem needs in the Delta presented in Chapter 4. For an illustration, see Figure 7.6 1. Van Sickle Island would be flooded, as part of a general conversion of Suisun Marsh to a brackish tidal system. 2. Sherman Island would be managed as a patchwork of plots with various management objectives and experiments but would basically maintain its present configuration of levees. 3. Twitchell and Brannan-Andrus Islands would become islands in the style of the Delta Wetlands proposal, with the capacity to control flows in and out. A ring levee would surround the town of Isleton. 4. A levee would be constructed across the low-lying portion of Staten and Grand Islands so that the upper portions could be managed for sandhill cranes and for supporting agricultural practices that reduce land subsidence (e.g., rice farming). 5. Islands more than 15 feet below sea level—Bradford, Webbs, Bouldin, Venice, Empire, Rindge, McDonald, Medford, Mandeville, Bacon, Woodward, Lower Roberts—would largely be “let go” to become open-water habitat similar to Franks Tract. 6. Jersey Island, nonurban parts of Bethel Island, and Jones and Holland Tracts would be managed as waterfowl/wildlife islands, with Delta Wetland–style levees. 7. Hastings Tract and other lands in the Lindsey-Cache Slough regions would be managed as tidal freshwater (occasionally brackish) habitats. 8. Upper Roberts Tract and Union Island would be managed as tidal marsh habitat and as flood bypasses. 9. Other islands would be maintained under present uses, mainly agriculture. 153 The sudden abandonment of the Delta for water exports could also occur from the failure of many Delta levees because of floods or earthquakes, with grave consequences for those relying on the Delta’s services. An abandoned Delta would likely have additional water quality problems in its southern and perhaps eastern areas. Aside from effects on landowners within the Delta, almost all adaptation expenses would be incurred outside the Delta. The eastern Delta ecosystem would most likely resemble that found on Franks Tract and Mildred Island, dominated by invasive, alien species such as Asiatic clams and Brazilian waterweed. The salinity regime in the western Delta would revert to greater fluctuation than at present. Nonwater-related uses of the Delta, for roadways and bridges, pipelines, and power lines, would be rerouted or hardened for these new conditions. Some Unexamined Alternatives We have discussed only nine of a nearly infinite number of possible Delta alternatives. Examining all possible alternatives is obviously impossible in the pure sense. Instead, our intent is to stimulate comparative, solution-oriented discussions of future options. Hybrid Solutions Many of the alternatives described above have promising features that could be combined into an even more favorable hybrid alternative. A more extensive study of solutions for the Delta should include the development, evaluation, and discussion of such alternatives. We suspect that the best solutions will be combinations of the ones described here, providing better performance across multiple dimensions, conditions, and a broader financial and political base. Identification of such alternatives is unlikely to emerge from a political process, however. A serious technical process, supporting a political process at some distance, will be needed. Upstream Storage We have deliberately avoided considering one set of commonly discussed alternatives that focus on the construction of additional upstream storage. As discussed in Chapter 2, the release of freshwater flows from upstream storage (particularly Shasta, Oroville, Folsom, and New Melones Reservoirs) 154 has been a central tool in the regulation of Delta salinity since the early conception of both the Central Valley Project and the State Water Project. A persistent popular and political school of thought continues to support this strategy, in the belief that additional upstream storage capacity should remain part of the solution to problems with Delta salinity. However, there is little technical or economic support for expanding upstream storage to serve California’s larger water system. As discussed in Chapter 6, major expansions of upstream storage have scant likelihood of being an economically desirable solution, either on their own or as a central component of a Delta alternative. Because the biggest long-term problems within the Delta are island subsidence and levee weakening, the regulation of upstream flows would, by itself, be ineffective in resolving Delta salinity and flood control problems. The desirability of greater fluctuations in western Delta salinities further decreases the value of upstream reservoir storage. Although some expansions of storage capacity might have significant operational or water quality benefits for downstream water users, this is more likely to be appropriate as off-stream storage in locations south of the Delta. Even in these cases, off-stream storage probably would be cost-effective only for urban water users. We are unaware of any major recent study indicating that major reservoir expansion is economically justifiable in California for water supply purposes relative to other, more readily available forms of water supply. The fact that water agencies have not expressed a willingness to pay for storage projects, as they did for the development of the State Water Project, is another indication of the limited value of storage expansion relative to other investment opportunities. Serious discussions and policy debates on Delta water policy can ill afford to be distracted by efforts to include expensive and ineffective options as a major part of the solution strategy. What’s “New”? There are few completely “new” Delta options. Over the decades, although many people have claimed to have found the “obvious” solution to the Delta’s problems, disagreement tends to arise over which solution is “obviously” the best. Nevertheless, several relatively new ideas appear among the alternatives presented above. 155 • Creating localized specialization within the Delta. Traditionally, policymakers have sought to treat the entire Delta homogeneously. By maintaining the entire Delta as a perennially freshwater body, many habitats that once existed in the Delta have been displaced, and variability, which is useful for reducing the potential harm of invasive species and providing habitat for native species, has been reduced. Allowing different parts of the Delta to specialize in particular functions or services might allow for greater overall performance for all, or almost all, purposes. Local and temporal variability in flows and various aspects of water quality and habitat was common in the pre-European Delta. As discussed in Chapter 4, different areas of the Delta could specialize in supporting different types of habitat, with greater and more natural fluctuations in flows and salinity. One version of a heterogeneous Delta appears in Figure 7.6; it might apply to several of the Delta alternatives. • Establishing a western Delta fluctuating salinity ecosystem. Western Delta salinity appears to have naturally fluctuated more in the past than it does now; reintroducing this fluctuation in parts of the western Delta should benefit many desirable species. Many of the alternatives proposed above would allow for greater fluctuations in salinity. • Using peripheral areas to bring back desirable natural conditions that existed in the Delta historically. Suisun Marsh, Cache Slough, and Yolo Bypass are especially promising examples of locations that could serve valuable, but very different, environmental functions. Again, many of the above alternatives would allow for the return of natural conditions to parts of the Delta. • Allowing the urbanization of some Delta lands. Local land use pressures, access to major transportation and employment centers, and financial opportunities make urbanization of some Delta lands seemingly inevitable, despite high costs and risks of flooding. Given recent housing prices, urbanization provides a significant ability to contribute financially and politically to solving problems in certain areas of the Delta and to aid the overall health of the Delta. Careful regulation should be able to provide substantial flood protection 156 (exceeding 200-year average recurrence) and prevent unreasonable interference with environmental functions. • Building a Sacramento–San Joaquin Canal. Such a canal, a central feature of the South Delta Restoration Aqueduct alternative described above, would supplement lower San Joaquin River flows with Sacramento River water. This would provide larger flows than the San Joaquin supplemental flows envisioned in earlier peripheral canal proposals, because most or all canal flows would transfer into the San Joaquin River. Having Sacramento River flows enter the lower San Joaquin River should reduce the need for San Joaquin and Stanislaus River flows to improve water quality in the southern Delta and lower San Joaquin River. • Creating a San Joaquin River marsh and flood bypass. As part of supplementing water deliveries to the San Joaquin River, a marsh and flood bypass system might provide additional environmental habitat, water quality improvements for southern Delta farmers, flood control capacity for the lower San Joaquin River, and conjunctive management opportunities (groundwater banking). • Managing expectations and providing mitigation solutions. It is unlikely that any alternative would satisfy all Delta interests in terms of water and land use. The approach outlined here differs from the underlying assumption of CALFED that everyone can “get better together.” Stakeholders whose land and water interests cannot be directly satisfied may be compensated by financial or other means. Even with such mitigations, one cannot reasonably expect universal satisfaction. Conclusions A primary thesis of this report is that variability in Delta flows, water quality, and functions is potentially desirable, allowing different parts of the Delta to function differently, as they did before European settlement. By insisting that all of the Delta be managed as a static system, as it is in its present configuration, a very unnatural Delta has been created—one that suits neither natural nor human objectives. Maintaining such a vast area, subject to great natural variability, as a more or less homogeneous region, 157 requires substantial resources and implies substantial risks. The Delta is now too important to tolerate such risks. The potentially catastrophic nature of risks in the Delta implies some need to seek solutions that allow for a soft landing. Any proposed solution will take considerable time to complete, but the existence of an agreed-on direction will allow California to take advantage of some opportunities and gradually transform the Delta into a more functional and less risky environment. In the next chapter, we evaluate the alternatives presented in this chapter. These evaluations are neither final nor highly detailed but are qualitative and based on information that is readily available at the present time. 158" } ["___content":protected]=> string(124) "

R 207JLChapter7Rold

" ["_permalink":protected]=> string(110) "https://www.ppic.org/publication/envisioning-futures-for-the-sacramento-san-joaquin-delta/r_207jlchapter7rold/" ["_next":protected]=> array(0) { } ["_prev":protected]=> array(0) { } ["_css_class":protected]=> NULL ["id"]=> int(10882) ["ID"]=> int(10882) ["post_author"]=> string(1) "4" ["post_content"]=> string(0) "" ["post_date"]=> string(19) "2017-07-07 12:21:07" ["post_excerpt"]=> string(0) "" ["post_parent"]=> int(3743) ["post_status"]=> string(7) "inherit" ["post_title"]=> string(19) "R 207JLChapter7Rold" ["post_type"]=> string(10) "attachment" ["slug"]=> string(19) "r_207jlchapter7rold" ["__type":protected]=> NULL ["_wp_attached_file"]=> string(23) "R_207JLChapter7Rold.pdf" ["wpmf_size"]=> string(7) "1282743" ["wpmf_filetype"]=> string(3) "pdf" ["wpmf_order"]=> string(1) "0" ["searchwp_content"]=> string(58202) "From Envisioning Futures for the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta 7. Delta Options and Alternatives “We must dare to think ‘unthinkable’ thoughts. We must learn to explore all the options and possibilities that confront us in a complex and rapidly changing world. We must learn to welcome and not to fear the voices of dissent. We must dare to think about ‘unthinkable things’ because when things become unthinkable, thinking stops and action becomes mindless.” J. William Fulbright, March 27, 1964 As we saw in Chapter 2, alternatives for managing the Delta have been widely discussed from technical, economic, regulatory, and political perspectives for over a century. Over time, management objectives have evolved. Following the initial focus on flood control for reclaimed Delta islands in the late 1880s, the primary goals of the large water projects built between the 1930s and 1970s were salinity control for in-Delta agriculture and water supply for farmers and urban areas to the south and west of the Delta. Environmental concerns, particularly for the health of key Delta fish species, moved to prominence in the 1970s, and by the early 1990s they led to the creation of the CALFED process. Some of the earliest examinations of management alternatives were the most thoughtful and in-depth, driven by salinity intrusion problems that resulted from greater urban and agricultural use of the Delta itself and increased upstream diversions (Jackson and Paterson, 1977). These studies, mostly conducted in the 1920s and early 1930s, focused almost exclusively on two approaches to salinity management: physical seawater barriers and “hydraulic” barriers, which would regulate net Delta outflow from reservoir releases to keep the Delta fresh (Table 7.1). These earliest examinations consisted of multiple volumes of detailed and probing technical and economic studies (Young, 1929; Matthew, 1931a, 1931b), and they were accompanied by the kind of intense political and policy debates that still characterize Delta discussions. In the 1950s and 1960s, a much more diverse range of approaches was considered; however, the depth of their technical and economic examination was more limited (Jackson and Paterson, 1977). The same could be said of the CALFED investigations 129 Table 7.1 History of Major Delta Alternatives Studied Year Delta Alternatives 1848– Private and Reclamation District Development 1930s Channelizing and leveeing islands with federal navigation improvements 1931 California Water Plan, 1930 Various downstream seawater barriers Hydraulic barrier—net Delta outflow of 3,000–5,000 cfsa 1955 Board of Consultants Six downstream seawater barrier plans Upstream barriers and control structures for through-Delta conveyance (Biemond Plan) 1960 California Department of Water Resources Seawater barrier at Chipps Island Four through-Delta conveyance and barrier plans, variants on the Biemond Plan 1963 California Department of Water Resources Seawater barrier at Chipps Island Peripheral canal (22,000 cfs capacity) Hydraulic barrier “Typical Alternative Delta Water Project”—a through-Delta alternative 1980s California Department of Water Resources Various barrier and flood control programs for the Delta 1996 CALFED Bay-Delta Program (various alternatives considered) Extensive demand management New storage to improve Delta flow Dual Delta conveyanceb Through-Delta conveyance Delta channel habitat and conveyance Extensive habitat restoration with storage Eastside foothills conveyance Chain of lakes conveyance Westside conveyance and river restoration Eastside conveyance 130 Table 7.1 (continued) Year 2000 Delta Alternatives CALFED Record of Decision (current policy, with reassessment of goals and objectives in 2007) Through-Delta conveyance maintained, with levee strengthening, water use efficiency, habitat restoration, and water operations features SOURCES: Jackson and Paterson (1977); CALFED (1996, 2000b). NOTE: Elements in italics were implemented. aAnalyses in the mid-1940s included consideration of a peripheral canal. bCALFED’s dual Delta conveyance included a peripheral canal (10,000 cfs capacity) and through-Delta pumping. conducted in the mid-1990s, which broadened the scope of enquiry but looked at most alternatives in a relatively cursory manner (CALFED, 1996, 1997). Most recently, the Delta has yet again become a topic of urgent policy discussion, for numerous reasons: unease over continued ecological declines, renewed awareness of vulnerabilities to earthquakes and flooding, and increased concern for the effects of Delta water quality on urban and agricultural users, as well as urbanization pressures, sea level rise, and regional climate change. The policy response has included various agency, legislative, and private efforts to examine Delta alternatives, including a flurry of conferences, hearings, workshops, media assessments, and many fine speeches that typically focus on various “obvious” solutions to the Delta’s problems. To date, however, there has been no effort to list and systematically evaluate the range of alternative futures for the Delta. In this chapter, we review the central issues that any Delta alternative must seek to address. We then present nine alternative solution strategies for the Delta, composed of a range of elements and options that address these central issues. Our aim is not to present an exhaustive list. For a system as large and complex as the Delta, examining “all possible alternatives” would be an infinite enterprise. Instead, our goal is to highlight a broad range of potential approaches, drawing from some of the most commonly suggested proposals, some classic alternatives from the past, and some relatively new approaches. Our focus is on strategies for better adapting the Delta to California’s long-term needs and reducing 131 California’s vulnerabilities to catastrophes in the Delta rather than on crisis responses to short-term catastrophes or small reductions in risk. The Four Central Issues Solutions for the Delta typically revolve around four central issues: Delta salinity, in-Delta land and water use, water supply exports, and the ecosystem. For each issue, various options are possible, either exclusively or in combination, within different locations in the Delta or for the Delta as a whole (Table 7.2). Any management alternative for the Delta should address all four of these issues. Delta salinity has been a major concern for over 80 years, since the City of Antioch’s 1920 lawsuit against Sacramento Valley irrigators (discussed in Chapter 2). Salinity affects the potability and taste of urban water supplies, the productivity of irrigated land, and the viability of aquatic ecosystems. For many decades, the focus of policymakers concerned about salinity revolved solely around keeping the Delta fresh, and the policy employed (a hydraulic barrier of net Delta outflow at the Delta’s western edge) resulted in a sharp salinity change near Suisun Marsh. More recent thinking, reflected in Chapter 4, holds that having seasonal or even interannual variability in salinity in parts of the Delta may better mimic the Delta’s natural conditions and help limit the extent of invasive species, which tend to prefer stable salinity or relatively constant freshwater flows. Land use is another important issue in the Delta. Currently, most land in the Delta is agricultural, but there is substantial urban land and increasing economic pressure to urbanize more of the Delta, particularly near major transportation routes. Various infrastructure routes (e.g., ship channels, railroads, highways, pipelines, and power lines) traverse the Delta and must be either supported, altered, or rerouted—all at significant cost. A range of environmental uses already exist or could be created on Delta islands to support aquatic and terrestrial wildlife. The Delta also has increasing value for recreation, such as boating and fishing. Freshwater storage is another recent suggestion for Delta land use. This freshwater storage plan proposes investing in strengthening internal levees on some Delta islands subsided below sea level, allowing them to be filled with 132 Table 7.2 Delta Issues and Options Salinity Conditions Fresh Brackish Fluctuating Delta Land Uses Agricultural Urban Environmental Recreational Freshwater storage Infrastructure support Water Supply Exports Year-round Delta pumping Seasonal Delta pumping Peripheral aqueduct Through-Delta facilities No exports Ecosystem Components Open-water habitat Riverine habitat Freshwater wetlands Tidal brackish water Seasonal floodplain Upland habitat water, on a tidal or seasonal timescale, to help water projects pump fresh water from the Delta. All of these land uses have different implications for water use and the quality of water required in nearby channels, the volume and quality of drainage, and economic sustainability. Fortunately, the Delta is large and diverse enough to support a mix of land uses. Water supply exports from the Delta are a major cause of controversy. With or without exports, the Delta would have many serious problems with flooding, land subsidence, degraded habitat, invasive species, and water quality. Any solution must address water supply exports, but there are many approaches to providing or avoiding this function for the Delta. Likewise, any solution must address the Delta as a home for habitats that support a wide range of organisms, including many at-risk species. Broad habitat types important in the Delta include pelagic fish habitat, wildlife habitat, fresh open-water habitat, different forms of wetlands, and sustainable agricultural areas (see Table 4.2). Management options and decisions will determine the abundance of each habitat type. A key challenge will be managing the habitats to support desirable, mainly native, species and to keep populations of undesirable invasive species at a low level. Finally, cultural values are also likely to have an important role for Delta management, for historical, recreational, local, and tribal interests. 133 Elements of Any Solution Given the broad range of services demanded of the Delta, it is unlikely that any single action can resolve the Delta’s problems. Instead, a portfolio of actions is likely to be required. Table 7.3 lists many potential elements of a comprehensive solution. Unfortunately, many proposed Delta “solutions” often advocate only one of these elements, with little discussion of how it would benefit or suffer from inclusion in a package of actions seeking to achieve a wider range of objectives. Although current Delta management pursues a wide range of goals and includes many of these elements, the system’s long-term sustainability is in doubt. Elements not currently pursued are controversial in one way or another, as they represent change—in water exports, land use, or associated economic activity. Delta exports and inflows. Water supplies to users upstream or downstream of the Delta can be addressed by several options listed in Table 7.3, alone or in combination. Exports can occur via pumping through the Delta (the present method) or via a peripheral conveyance channel. Since the 1940s, regulation of outflows has been a way to keep the Delta fresh. As we saw in Chapter 6, this type of regulation can affect all users of Delta waters, including exporters, in-Delta users, and upstream diverters on the Sacramento and San Joaquin Rivers. It is also possible to imagine constructing more and better fish screens, or changing operations, or otherwise reducing harm to fish from exports, or stopping water exports from the Delta completely. Internal flow modifications. The Delta’s sheer size and hydraulic complexity provide many opportunities for internal flow modifications to achieve water supply and water quality goals. These include a wide variety of minor and major physical and operational changes. Only a few potential changes to internal Delta hydraulics have ever been explored in great depth. Currently, temporary barriers in the southern Delta are used to help maintain a barrier during the summer and fall months. The South Delta Improvement Plan envisions the use of operable flow barriers to improve flows and water quality (CALFED, 2000a, 2000b). It is likely that some new internal modifications would be desirable as part of almost any longterm solution for the Delta. 134 Table 7.3 Elements of Potential Delta Alternatives Delta Water Exports and Inflows 1. Year-round pumping within the Deltaa 2. Seasonal pumping 3. Peripheral aqueduct from the Sacramento River 4. Extended South Folsom Canal from the American River 5. Regulation of Delta inflows and outflowsa 6. Screening for power plant cooling water (currently resulting in substantial fish entrainment)a 7. Fish screens at pump intakes (currently not in place everywhere)a Internal Flow Modifications 1. Channel barriers 2. Temporary barriersa 3. New channels and flow capacities 4. Alteration of existing channels 5. Locks 6. Tide-gates (one-way) 7. Operable gates 8. Relocation of water intakes 9. Floodways (using existing farmland) 10. Levee and island barriersa Reductions in Salt and Contaminant Loads 1. San Joaquin Valley drain to western Delta 2. Reduction of salt loads entering the San Joaquin River 3. Reduction of pesticides and other toxicant dischargesa 4. Reduction or modification of Delta island drainage Levees 1. Current leveesa 2. Upgraded current levees to PL 84-99 standards (CALFED goal) 3. Fortified levees 4. Setback levees (located some distance from shore, difficult for subsided islands) 5. Environmental levees (designed to improve ecosystem habitats) 6. Storage levees (levees with internal and structural modifications to enable water storage) Delta Island Uses 1. Urban usesa 2. Agriculturea 3. Environmental usesa 4. Recreationa 5. Freshwater storage 6. Flood bypasses 135 Table 7.3 (continued) Civil Infrastructure 1. Stockton ship channela 2. Sacramento ship channela 3. Railroadsa 4. Highways, roads, and bridgesa 5. Gas and water pipelinesa 6. Electric power linesa 7. Underground gas storage tanksa Mitigations 1. In-kind exchanges of water supplies or land 2. Financial compensations 3. Other types of transitional support NOTE: These actions are representative; additional elements are possible. aCurrently in use. Reductions in contaminant loads. Water quality in the Delta is severely compromised by the salts, pesticides, and nutrients that drain from San Joaquin Valley farms into the San Joaquin River; agricultural drainage from Delta islands adds to this problem. Urban runoff is also a contributing factor. Several approaches exist for addressing this problem. These include reductions in drainage flows, reductions in the salinity of water used for irrigation, greater dilution of drainage waters with cleaner water, and the construction of a drain to dispose of drainage water downstream of the Delta (similar to the Kesterson Drain concept).1 Although some recent programs have begun to encourage farmers to diminish harmful runoff (for instance, through changes in pesticide use), the contaminant problem remains largely unresolved. Given the growing evidence that contaminants are harming Delta wildlife, it is likely that better pollution control will need to be part of any future Delta alternative. 1The San Luis Drain was built to convey drainage from westside San Joaquin Valley farms to the Kesterson Reservoir. It opened in 1981 but was closed in 1985 because the selenium (a highly toxic type of salt) was severely damaging wildlife in the area of the drainage ponds. A reformulated project, involving prefiltration of the toxic waters, is among the options being considered by the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, which is apparently under legal obligation to provide a drainage solution for some CVP contractors (Boxall, 2006). 136 Levees. The backbone of the current system is 1,100 miles of Delta levees. Improvement of levee reliability and environmental performance may take many forms. Modification to some of the Delta’s levees is likely to be desirable. It is probably not desirable to treat all levees in the same fashion. Delta island uses. Land use decisions or regulations for a variety of land uses will be an indispensable part of any Delta solution. Different land uses create different requirements for flood protection, water quality, and transportation and have different implications for management costs, land subsidence, water use, drainage water quality, environmental performance, and sustainability. Civil infrastructure. As noted above, the Delta’s lands and waterways are also used as conduits for a variety of civil infrastructure. The navigation depth and channel geometries of the Sacramento and San Joaquin ship channels have important implications for hydrodynamics and water quality. The viability of specific configurations for roads, rail lines, bridges, and power and water pipelines depends on decisions about Delta levees and channels. Mitigations. A long-term Delta solution would have to include some form of compensation for interests who cannot be reasonably satisfied in terms of their water or land use rights. As discussed further in Chapter 9, mitigation measures to ease transitions might include in-kind compensation, financial compensation, or other measures. Although Table 7.3 does not provide an exhaustive list, it represents the type and range of activities that might be included in a more successful approach to managing the Sacramento–San Joaquin Delta. In the remainder of this chapter, we draw from this list to outline nine possible alternatives. Of course, many combinations of the elements on this list could result in viable alternatives, and it is impossible to examine all of them.2 We chose these nine to illustrate some basic types of approaches, with the hope of improving the public discussion of Delta solutions and policies. Often, interested parties will seek to immediately identify what 2Even simple combinations of only 20 elements in Table 7.3 result in 220 = 1,048,576 alternatives. 137 they see as the “obvious” solution to the Delta’s problems. At this time, we do not see any strong comparative basis for such assertions. Delta Alternatives: A First Cut Our nine potential Delta alternatives consist of some prominent contemporary solutions, some long-standing historical solutions, and some novel recent solutions. The solutions fall into three broad categories (Table 7.4). The first category includes alternatives that aim to maintain the Delta as a freshwater body, consistent with policies pursued over the past 70 years. The second category includes alternatives that continue to allow substantial water exports, but with some basic changes in water management to allow for fluctuating salinity and local specialization of Delta land and water uses. A third set of alternatives considers changes that substantially reduce or modify the role of exports. Although not exhaustive, these nine alternatives should suffice to illustrate the breadth of solutions that might be available. We discuss the broad contours of each alternative below. In Chapter 8, we provide a preliminary comparative evaluation. However, before any longterm decisions are made, more detailed specification, design, and evaluation are needed. Freshwater Delta Alternatives In these alternatives, the Delta would be maintained as a largely freshwater body, and all water exports would continue to be made directly from the Delta. For decades, water managers and interests have sought solutions to maintain these objectives, including the constructing of physical salinity barriers and hydraulic barriers of various forms. Although maintaining the Delta as a freshwater body provides considerable water supply convenience for water users in and south of the Delta, it implies reliance on levee structures or salinity barriers as well as upstream reservoirs with sufficient inflows to restrict seawater intrusion. A levee-dominated solution does not automatically imply a freshwater Delta, but maintenance of Delta levees has become associated with supporting fresh water use for exporters and in-Delta pumpers. 1. Levees as Usual. This is a business-as-usual Delta. The current leveeintensive system would be maintained with something close to 138 Table 7.4 Nine Long-Term Delta Alternatives 139 Alternative Delta Salinity Delta Land Uses Water Supply Exports Freshwater Delta 1. Levees as Usual—current or increased effort Fresh Agriculture Delta pumping 2. Fortress Delta (Dutch model) Agriculture and urban 3. Seaward Saltwater Barrier Agriculture and urban Fluctuating Delta 4. Peripheral Canal Plus 5. South Delta Restoration Aqueduct 6. Armored-Island Aqueduct Fluctuating (west) and fresh (east/south) Mixed, locally specialized Mixed, locally specialized Mixed, locally specialized Peripheral aqueduct Peripheral aqueduct Delta pumping Reduced-Exports Delta 7. Opportunistic Delta 8. Eco-Delta 9. Abandoned Delta Fluctuating and fresh Mixed, locally specialized Mixed, locally specialized Trend to open water Delta pumping (variable) Delta pumping (reduced) No exports NOTES: “Mixed” includes agricultural, urban, and environmental land uses. Other alternatives and combinations could be conceived of. recent levels of effort or modestly upgraded to meet the federal PL 8499 standards for agricultural levees (CALFED, 2000a). Failed levees would be repaired to prior conditions, along with most flooded Delta islands. Delta management would be crisis management—dealing with system failures and deterioration—but increased investment in levees would reduce crisis frequency. This approach could become expensive; for example, in 2003, state financial liabilities for levee failures increased as the result of the Paterno decision, which made the state liable for flood damage behind “project” levees belonging to the Central Valley flood control system (Department of Water Resources, 2005a). Levee failures may occur individually, for no particular reason, or in groups as a result of floods or earthquakes. Although this alternative continues to provide an inexpensive short-term solution for some users of Delta services, any levee failures will result in either increasingly expensive levee maintenance and island reconstruction costs or increased numbers of flooded and abandoned islands (such as today’s Franks Tract and Mildred Island). As levee failures accumulate, the Delta ultimately becomes a collection of flooded islands. 2. Fortress Delta. In this alternative, “whatever it takes” investments would be made for constructing, maintaining, and repairing levees, investing in considerably more than the 200-year level of protection for urban and urbanizing areas of the Delta (which can afford such protection) as well as in high levels of protection for selected Delta islands critical to maintaining a freshwater Delta. These levees would be upgraded and maintained on the Dutch model, where design floods range from the 1,250-year to 10,000-year events (Van Der Most and Wehrung, 2005).3 To make this effort more cost-effective and reliable, the total length of levees in the system would be shortened, reconfiguring some islands. Fortification efforts would especially focus on western islands and would include seismic upgrades to both embankment materials and levee foundations. Many interior islands would not be fortified, unless deemed necessary for protecting urban areas or for providing barriers for salinity encroachment into the Delta. 3|Note that Dutch and American calculation methods differ for estimating flood frequency. Infrequent floods typically appear more infrequent when using Dutch estimation methods (personal communication, Joe Countryman, MBK Engineering, 2006). 140 Over time, the lower-reliability levees in the Delta’s interior would be likely to fail. Failed levees on many central and eastern islands would probably not be repaired, given the costs relative to the value of their previous land uses and the lack of need to maintain them for water export quality. This would provide for a gradual, if somewhat random, increase in open-water habitat over time. Figure 7.1 illustrates one such alternative. 3. Seaward Saltwater Barrier. Seaward saltwater barriers are one of the oldest and most extreme proposals for maintaining the Delta as a freshwater body (Young, 1929; Matthew, 1931a, 1931b; Jackson and Paterson, 1977). This type of solution was endorsed by many agencies in the past, mostly before 1963 (see Chapter 2). Most seaward salinity barrier proposals have recommended building locks for ship passage and gates or spillways for passing major floods, with the major goal of providing reliable freshwater quality upstream of the barrier. A complete seawater barrier would also turn the Delta into a freshwater reservoir. With the current configuration of islands, the usable storage capacity would likely be small (about 100,000 acre-feet), although reservoir capacity could increase as levees fail. Investigations by the Army Corps of Engineers’ Waterways Experiment Station in the late 1970s considered partial barriers, such as underwater sills in Carquinez Strait, to restrict seawater flows into the Delta. Over the past year, several Dutch engineers have suggested the construction of a large movable barrier similar to the Maeslant storm surge barrier that protects Rotterdam in the Netherlands (Breitler, 2006). In the past, problems with expense, navigation, Delta island levee failure, water quality, and fish passage led to the rejection of seaward saltwater barriers. Such impediments are likely to be even greater today, given heightened concerns about fish passage, connectivity among habitat areas, and polluted urban and agricultural runoff. However, on a smaller scale, salinity barriers may have some potential for regulating tidal flows and salinity in parts of the Delta. For instance, a small saltwater control structure was constructed on Montezuma Slough in Suisun Marsh in 1988. Temporary barriers also have become common in southern parts of the Delta. 141 SAN JOAQUIN R. h Delta Management Alternative #2: Fortress Delta Sacramento and San Joaquin Rivers Delta waterways and other rivers Suisun Marsh Potential flooded islands Brackish tidal Freshwater tidal Fortified levees Fairfield Barker Slough Pumping Plant Cache Sloug Lindsey Slough YOLO BYPASS SACRAMENTO R. R. Sacramento AMERICAN Freeport Clarksburg Hood Courtland Ryde Walnut Grove COSUMNES R. Dry Creek Grizzly Bay Suisun Marsh Suisun Marsh Salinity Control Gate Rio Vista Isleton ineztrait Honker Suisun Bay Bay Pittsburg Contra Concord Costa Canal Antioch Oakley Discovery Bay MOKELUMNE R. Lodi Stockton Carqu S Marsh Creek Los Vaqueros Reservoir N 20 24 6 miles Harvey O. Banks Delta Pumping Plant Tracy Pumping South Bay Pumping Plant Plant CalifoDrneilataA-Mqueendduoctat Tracy Canal Lathrop Manteca Figure 7.1—Delta Management Alternative #2: Fortress Delta Fluctuating Delta Alternatives By hardening water export capacity within the Delta itself or through a peripheral canal, parts of the Delta could feature fluctuating salinity to promote desirable species, while other parts remain fresh. Such alternatives would allow local areas within the Delta to take on more 142 specialized ecosystem and economic functions, and certain current functions could change location. For example, duck clubs in the Suisun Marsh area would shift to western and central Delta islands, allowing Suisun Marsh to specialize in fish and wildlife that require more naturally fluctuating salinity conditions. The Yolo Bypass and Cache Slough area would be managed for greater fish-rearing habitat. Eastern and southern peripheral islands and lands with better transportation access would have more urban development, which would finance Dutch-standard urban protection levees. Many Delta islands would remain agricultural, with most Delta recreation remaining intact, although, again, there would be some rearrangement. Some of the more subsided islands might be flooded or allowed to flood (with or without levees) for water storage, fish habitat, or both. Some levees might be breached in a planned manner, whereas others might be allowed to fail, allowing continued near-term agricultural production, avoiding long-term state financial liabilities, and providing a long-term means of land use change. Salinity in the western Delta would become more naturally fluctuating but would remain fresh for much of the year. The eastern Delta would remain fresh except for salt loads from San Joaquin Valley agriculture. To allow salinity to fluctuate within the Delta for ecosystem purposes, other provisions would be made for Delta water exports. Here, we consider two variants of a peripheral canal and one through-Delta conveyance facility. In light of the frequent discussions of the advantages and disadvantages of a peripheral canal, it is worth noting some general considerations at the outset.4 For water exporters, a peripheral canal represents greater assurance of water quality (particularly lower salinity and disinfection by-product precursors) and somewhat greater assurance of quantities of water deliveries (because exports would be less susceptible to conditions within the Delta). Environmental groups often express some interest in a peripheral canal because, if properly operated, it should result in less disruption in fish migrations and should entrap or entrain far fewer fish (presuming the construction of adequate fish screens).5 Such 4S| ee also the discussion in Chapter 6. 5|One option is to use the river bank as a filter or fish screen, a method known as “bank filtration.” It is usually developed by placing a big well and pump near a porous 143 an upstream diversion for major Delta exports would also provide greater flexibility for regulating local in-Delta water flow and quality conditions. The two peripheral canal variants presented here illustrate some of these and other benefits, and point to certain precautions that could be taken in their construction and operation. 4. Peripheral Canal Plus. This alternative builds on the now-traditional concept of constructing an isolated facility or peripheral canal from the vicinity of Hood, on the Sacramento River, to the CVP and SWP canal intakes at or near Clifton Court Forebay. The canal would be supplemented by actions to improve conditions within the Delta for various purposes (ecosystem, recreation, agriculture, housing, etc.). The original peripheral canal proposal was for roughly 22,000 cfs (Figure 7.2 illustrates this proposal, which went to voters in 1982). A future canal might be much smaller, perhaps only supplementing continued direct exports from the Delta. The canal examined by CALFED (1999) considered a capacity of only 10,000 cfs. A larger canal would provide economies of scale and increase operational flexibility but would be limited by the combined downstream capacities of existing CVP and SWP export aqueducts (about 15,000 cfs). Operational flexibility includes the ability to manage salinity for ecosystem support. However, even a smaller canal might raise fears and concerns for water quality within the Delta. As large reductions in direct Delta export pumping would likely leave southern Delta channels stagnant, a mitigation or flow augmentation program might be needed to maintain water quality at a level required by Delta fish species, farming, and recreation. The precise package of noncanal activities would vary with desired in-Delta objectives. 5. South Delta Restoration Aqueduct (SDRA). The SDRA would consist of a canal similar to the one discussed in the previous example, but its major outlet would enter the lower San Joaquin River, perhaps as far upstream as Old River. Figure 7.3 illustrates one possible configuration of the SDRA. This canal would shift a portion of the Delta inflows from the Sacramento River to the San Joaquin River. These river bank. Sometimes a big ditch or “infiltration gallery” is constructed parallel to the river to improve efficiency. 144 SAN JOAQUIN R. h SACRAMENTO R. R. Delta Management Alternative #4: Peripheral Canal Plus Sacramento and San Joaquin Rivers Sacramento AMERICAN YOLO BYPASS Delta waterways and other rivers Suisun Marsh Potential bypass and flooding Freeport Clarksburg Brackish tidal Freshwater tidal Canal Release facility Fairfield Barker Slough Pumping Plant Cache Sloug Lindsey Slough Intake Hood Pumping Plant Courtland Mokelumne Siphon Ryde Walnut Grove COSUMNES R. Dry Creek Grizzly Bay Suisun Marsh Suisun Marsh Salinity Control Gate Rio Vista Isleton ineztrait Honker Suisun Bay Bay Pittsburg Contra Concord Costa Canal Antioch Oakley Discovery Bay MOKELUMNE R. Lodi San Joaquin Siphon Stockton Marsh Creek Old River Siphon Los Vaqueros Reservoir N 20 24 6 miles Harvey O. Banks Delta Pumping Plant Tracy Pumping South Bay Pumping Plant Plant CalifoDrneilataA-Mqueendduoctat Tracy Canal Lathrop Manteca Carqu S FigFuigreur7e.27—.2—DeDltealtMa ManaangaegmeemnetnAt lAtelrtenrantaivtiev#e4#:4:PePreiprihpehrearlaCl CananalalPPlulus s supplemental freshwater flows would resolve various water quality and flow problems of the lower San Joaquin River, the Stockton ship channel (which has seasonally low dissolved oxygen), and the southern Delta, while providing fresher water for ultimate export pumping. If these flows were introduced far enough up the San Joaquin River and 145 Carqu S SAN JOAQUIN R. h SACRAMENTO R. R. Delta Management Alternative #5: South Delta Restoration Aqueduct Sacramento and San Joaquin Rivers Sacramento AMERICAN YOLO BYPASS Delta waterways and other rivers Suisun Marsh Potential bypass and flooding Freeport Clarksburg Brackish tidal Freshwater tidal Canal Release facility Optional canal Cache Sloug Fairfield Barker Slough Pumping Plant Lindsey Slough Intake Hood Pumping Plant Courtland Mokelumne Siphon Ryde Walnut Grove COSUMNES R. Dry Creek Grizzly Bay Suisun Marsh Suisun Marsh Salinity Control Gate Rio Vista Isleton ineztrait Honker Suisun Bay Bay Pittsburg Contra Concord Costa Canal Antioch Oakley Discovery Bay MOKELUMNE R. Lodi San Joaquin Siphon Stockton Marsh Creek Old River Siphon Los Vaqueros Reservoir N 20 24 6 miles Harvey O. Banks Delta Pumping Plant Tracy Pumping South Bay Pumping Plant Plant CalifoDrneilataA-Mqueendduoctat Tracy Canal Lathrop Manteca Figure 7.3—Delta Management Alternative #5: South Delta Restoration Aqueduct additional channel changes were made, some of these flows could bypass the Stockton ship channel and go into a wetland and flood bypass channel through the southern Delta, contributing to improved habitat and agricultural water quality in that region. This alternative 146 would also relieve some pressure on the Stanislaus River and other tributary reservoirs to achieve San Joaquin River water quality standards and environmental flows employed to help young salmon migrate down the San Joaquin River and through the Delta. Flows up to 5,000 cfs might be needed for the lower San Joaquin River to meet the objectives of the SDRA. Since this canal—unlike the peripheral canal alternative noted above—would rely on existing Delta pumping plant intakes for exports to points south, it would be subject to similar regulatory controls and restrictions. One variant of this alternative would be to have a smaller branch of the aqueduct directly feed highquality water into the California Aqueduct and the Contra Costa Canal for urban uses. 6. Armored-Island Aqueduct. This is a through-Delta alternative in which a major semi-isolated freshwater conveyance corridor would be created by armoring selected islands and cutting off or tide-gating various channels within the central-eastern Delta. The location of this aqueduct would be determined on the basis of cost; seismic risk; water quality; Delta land use; and ship, boat, and fish passage considerations. (For an illustration, see Figure 7.4.) An armoredisland aqueduct would allow restoration and reconfiguration of western islands and urban development on higher-elevation eastern lands and islands. Water exports might be supplemented with a through-Delta canal at Snodgrass Slough or a northeast Delta floodway at Tyler or Staten Islands. Intakes at the upstream end would need to be screened to prevent fish entrainment. It would be potentially problematic or expensive to maintain adequate depth where the aqueduct crosses the Stockton Ship Channel. Several forms of this solution were considered in the 1950s and 1960s as variants of the Biemond Plan (Jackson and Paterson, 1977), in the 1980s as the Orlob Plan (Orlob, 1982), and in the 1990s by CALFED (1996) as various through-Delta alternatives. Reduced-Exports Alternatives Several Delta alternatives rely neither on new Delta export facilities nor on levees. However, they imply an ability to greatly modify the pattern and quality of Delta exports. Two of the alternatives examined below would create a locally specialized Delta with fluctuating salinity, as in the 147 SAN JOAQUIN R. h Delta Management Alternative #6: Armored-Island Aqueduct Sacramento and San Joaquin Rivers Delta waterways and other rivers Suisun Marsh Potential bypass and flooding Brackish tidal Freshwater tidal Channel to river Dredged channels Fortified levees Tidal gates Cache Sloug Fairfield Barker Slough Pumping Plant Lindsey Slough YOLO BYPASS SACRAMENTO R. R. Sacramento AMERICAN Freeport Clarksburg Hood Courtland Snodgrass Slough Ryde Walnut Grove COSUMNES R. Dry Creek Grizzly Bay Suisun Marsh Suisun Marsh Salinity Control Gate Rio Vista Isleton ineztrait Honker Suisun Bay Bay Pittsburg Contra Concord Costa Canal Antioch Oakley Discovery Bay MOKELUMNE R. Lodi Stockton Carqu S Marsh Creek Los Vaqueros Reservoir N 20 24 6 miles Harvey O. Banks Delta Pumping Plant Tracy Pumping South Bay Pumping Plant Plant CalifoDrneilataA-Mqueendduoctat Tracy Canal Lathrop Manteca Figure 7.4—Delta Management Alternative #6: Armored-Island Aqueduct preceding group. A third alternative consists of abandoning the Delta for most human purposes. 7. Opportunistic Delta. This alternative would allow opportunistic seasonal Delta exports only, during times of high discharge of fresh water in the Delta (generally the winter and spring months). This 148 change in pumping regimes might be accompanied by an expansion of export pumping capacities to allow larger volumes of water to be captured during the wet season. Such operations would allow greater natural fluctuations in western Delta salinities, which may have significant ecological value. Surface storage within and near the Delta might be desirable for this situation, allowing large gulps of fresh water to be taken when available, to be released more slowly into the canals south of the Delta, which have limited capacity. Additional storage south of the Delta, probably in groundwater banks, might also be useful to cover dry years when little opportunistic Delta pumping is available. Major in-Delta levee expenses would not be needed for water exports. Instead, expenses would be required for strategically located storage and other water supply alternatives, such as wastewater recycling. Because many, if not most, islands would become flooded as a result of subsidence and levee deterioration, opportunities would exist to create habitat favorable to desirable fish species, especially on western islands (e.g., Sherman and Twitchell Islands). Figure 7.5 illustrates an Opportunistic Delta alternative. 8. Eco-Delta. Restoring the Delta to something resembling its historical conditions is not possible because of the irreversible nature of many past alterations, such as invasions of alien species and land subsidence. Future changes, resulting from sea level rise and regional climate change, also mean that the Delta will never again be as it once was (or is now). However, it may be managed to favor key Delta species— especially at-risk native fish and birds and species important for fishing and hunting—and other desirable ecosystem attributes. In this scenario, water extraction, transportation corridors, and other functions would be maintained as long as they did not seriously interfere with rehabilitation goals. Some water exports would occur, but probably less than in the Opportunistic Delta alternative. Some components of this vision include (1) flooded islands that provide habitat for pelagic species such as the delta smelt and that discourage undesirable alien species, (2) inland islands managed as freshwater wetlands for duck hunting and other purposes, (3) islands managed for upland foraging habitat for sandhill cranes and other 149 Carqu S SAN JOAQUIN R. h Delta Management Alternative #7: Opportunistic Delta Sacramento and San Joaquin Rivers Delta waterways and other rivers Brackish tidal Freshwater tidal Potential flooded islands Possible new storage Fairfield Barker Slough Pumping Plant Cache Sloug Lindsey Slough YOLO BYPASS SACRAMENTO R. R. Sacramento AMERICAN Freeport Clarksburg Hood Courtland Ryde Walnut Grove COSUMNES R. Dry Creek Grizzly Bay Suisun Marsh Suisun Marsh Salinity Control Gate Rio Vista Isleton ineztrait Honker Suisun Bay Bay Pittsburg Contra Concord Costa Canal Antioch Oakley Discovery Bay MOKELUMNE R. Lodi Stockton Marsh Creek Expanded reservoir Los Vaqueros Reservoir N 20 24 6 miles Harvey O. Banks Delta Pumping Plant Tracy Pumping South Bay Pumping Plant More storage Plant CalifoDrneilataA-Mqueendduoctat Tracy Canal Lathrop Manteca Figure 7.5—Delta Management Alternative #7: Opportunistic Delta wintering waterfowl (presumably by wildlife-friendly farming), and (4) large expanses of peripheral areas restored to some resemblance of the historical Delta (e.g., Suisun Marsh, Cache Slough region, Cosumnes River floodplain), as discussed in Chapter 4. The text box below describes one possible configuration of Delta islands that would manage the Delta mainly for ecosystem values; such a configuration 150 would also be consistent with several of the locally specialized alternatives discussed above. Figure 7.6 illustrates this configuration. The Eco-Delta may also satisfy other goals. Strategic filling of subsided Delta islands is often suggested to enhance ecosystem restoration and levee stability. Island-filling opportunities might include restored tule marshes, seasonal or tidal freshwater storage to enhance water supply, carbon sequestration farms or parks to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions associated with economic activity, and disposal of dredged and other materials.6 The Eco-Delta alternative would require a new administrative and financial framework for the Delta, along with significant changes in land use and ownership. Current management of the Delta is not promising. However, because each Delta island can be put to different uses (or combination of uses), a nearly unlimited number of future alternatives exist. This text box illustrates one possible configuration of Delta islands that would manage the Delta mainly for ecosystem values (the Eco-Delta), in association with a peripheral canal (Peripheral Canal Plus or South Delta Restoration Aqueduct), or in association with opportunistic water withdrawals (Opportunistic Delta). The configuration draws on ecosystem needs in the Delta presented in Chapter 4. For an illustration, see the text box below. 9. Abandoned Delta. If the Delta proves itself to be an excessively unreliable or expensive part of California’s water supply system, water users who currently depend on it can be expected to minimize or eliminate this dependency. Many Delta exporters already have taken steps to limit their reliance on Delta exports, with the development of conjunctive use and off-stream storage projects at Los Vaqueros, in the Tulare Basin, and in Southern California. Other activities under way or planned include local water demand reduction, water reuse, and desalination. In addition, Delta farmers, reflecting on the long-term capacity of the levees and increasingly saline irrigation water, may also plan to retire or move. Fishery agencies and interests, faced with the 6C| arbon sequestration would work much as the pre-European peat swamp, taking carbon dioxide from the atmosphere into marsh plants or perhaps fast-growing trees. These plants could then be interred. 151 Carqu S SAN JOAQUIN R. h Delta Management Alternative #8: Eco-Delta Sacramento and San Joaquin Rivers Delta waterways and other rivers Upland game/waterfowl Experimental Brackish tidal Freshwater tidal Potential flooded areas Possible new storage Wetlands Tidal gates Fairfield Barker Slough Pumping Plant Cache Sloug Lindsey Slough YOLO BYPASS SACRAMENTO R. R. Sacramento AMERICAN Freeport Clarksburg Hood Courtland Ryde Walnut Grove COSUMNES R. Dry Creek Grizzly Bay Suisun Marsh Suisun Marsh Salinity Control Gate Rio Vista Isleton ineztrait Honker Suisun Bay Bay Pittsburg Contra Concord Costa Canal Antioch Oakley Discovery Bay MOKELUMNE R. Lodi Stockton Marsh Creek Expanded reservoir Los Vaqueros Reservoir N 20 24 6 miles Harvey O. Banks Delta Pumping Plant Tracy Pumping South Bay Pumping Plant More storage Plant CalifoDrneilataA-Mqueendduoctat Tracy Canal Lathrop Manteca Figure 7.6—Delta Management Alternative #8: Eco-Delta unreliability and seeming ineffectiveness of in-Delta restoration efforts, might seek to invest their limited resources elsewhere. A planned multidecade retreat from the Delta might involve the eventual conversion of the western Delta and Suisun Bay to large patches of open water with fluctuating salinity, the transition of water 152 suppliers to different supplies and additional water use efficiencies, and the phasing out of much of the Delta’s farm economy. A slow unplanned retreat from the Delta, involving the cumulative effects of individual water user and landowner actions, is likely to provide a much less predictable outcome. Heterogeneous Island Management Current management of the Delta is not promising. However, because each Delta island can be put to different uses (or combination of uses), a nearly unlimited number of future alternatives exist. This text box illustrates one possible configuration of Delta islands that would manage the Delta mainly for ecosystem values (the Eco-Delta), in association with a peripheral canal (Peripheral Canal Plus or South Delta Restoration Aqueduct), or in association with opportunistic water withdrawals (Opportunistic Delta). The configuration draws on ecosystem needs in the Delta presented in Chapter 4. For an illustration, see Figure 7.6 1. Van Sickle Island would be flooded, as part of a general conversion of Suisun Marsh to a brackish tidal system. 2. Sherman Island would be managed as a patchwork of plots with various management objectives and experiments but would basically maintain its present configuration of levees. 3. Twitchell and Brannan-Andrus Islands would become islands in the style of the Delta Wetlands proposal, with the capacity to control flows in and out. A ring levee would surround the town of Isleton. 4. A levee would be constructed across the low-lying portion of Staten and Grand Islands so that the upper portions could be managed for sandhill cranes and for supporting agricultural practices that reduce land subsidence (e.g., rice farming). 5. Islands more than 15 feet below sea level—Bradford, Webbs, Bouldin, Venice, Empire, Rindge, McDonald, Medford, Mandeville, Bacon, Woodward, Lower Roberts—would largely be “let go” to become open-water habitat similar to Franks Tract. 6. Jersey Island, nonurban parts of Bethel Island, and Jones and Holland Tracts would be managed as waterfowl/wildlife islands, with Delta Wetland–style levees. 7. Hastings Tract and other lands in the Lindsey-Cache Slough regions would be managed as tidal freshwater (occasionally brackish) habitats. 8. Upper Roberts Tract and Union Island would be managed as tidal marsh habitat and as flood bypasses. 9. Other islands would be maintained under present uses, mainly agriculture. 153 The sudden abandonment of the Delta for water exports could also occur from the failure of many Delta levees because of floods or earthquakes, with grave consequences for those relying on the Delta’s services. An abandoned Delta would likely have additional water quality problems in its southern and perhaps eastern areas. Aside from effects on landowners within the Delta, almost all adaptation expenses would be incurred outside the Delta. The eastern Delta ecosystem would most likely resemble that found on Franks Tract and Mildred Island, dominated by invasive, alien species such as Asiatic clams and Brazilian waterweed. The salinity regime in the western Delta would revert to greater fluctuation than at present. Nonwater-related uses of the Delta, for roadways and bridges, pipelines, and power lines, would be rerouted or hardened for these new conditions. Some Unexamined Alternatives We have discussed only nine of a nearly infinite number of possible Delta alternatives. Examining all possible alternatives is obviously impossible in the pure sense. Instead, our intent is to stimulate comparative, solution-oriented discussions of future options. Hybrid Solutions Many of the alternatives described above have promising features that could be combined into an even more favorable hybrid alternative. A more extensive study of solutions for the Delta should include the development, evaluation, and discussion of such alternatives. We suspect that the best solutions will be combinations of the ones described here, providing better performance across multiple dimensions, conditions, and a broader financial and political base. Identification of such alternatives is unlikely to emerge from a political process, however. A serious technical process, supporting a political process at some distance, will be needed. Upstream Storage We have deliberately avoided considering one set of commonly discussed alternatives that focus on the construction of additional upstream storage. As discussed in Chapter 2, the release of freshwater flows from upstream storage (particularly Shasta, Oroville, Folsom, and New Melones Reservoirs) 154 has been a central tool in the regulation of Delta salinity since the early conception of both the Central Valley Project and the State Water Project. A persistent popular and political school of thought continues to support this strategy, in the belief that additional upstream storage capacity should remain part of the solution to problems with Delta salinity. However, there is little technical or economic support for expanding upstream storage to serve California’s larger water system. As discussed in Chapter 6, major expansions of upstream storage have scant likelihood of being an economically desirable solution, either on their own or as a central component of a Delta alternative. Because the biggest long-term problems within the Delta are island subsidence and levee weakening, the regulation of upstream flows would, by itself, be ineffective in resolving Delta salinity and flood control problems. The desirability of greater fluctuations in western Delta salinities further decreases the value of upstream reservoir storage. Although some expansions of storage capacity might have significant operational or water quality benefits for downstream water users, this is more likely to be appropriate as off-stream storage in locations south of the Delta. Even in these cases, off-stream storage probably would be cost-effective only for urban water users. We are unaware of any major recent study indicating that major reservoir expansion is economically justifiable in California for water supply purposes relative to other, more readily available forms of water supply. The fact that water agencies have not expressed a willingness to pay for storage projects, as they did for the development of the State Water Project, is another indication of the limited value of storage expansion relative to other investment opportunities. Serious discussions and policy debates on Delta water policy can ill afford to be distracted by efforts to include expensive and ineffective options as a major part of the solution strategy. What’s “New”? There are few completely “new” Delta options. Over the decades, although many people have claimed to have found the “obvious” solution to the Delta’s problems, disagreement tends to arise over which solution is “obviously” the best. Nevertheless, several relatively new ideas appear among the alternatives presented above. 155 • Creating localized specialization within the Delta. Traditionally, policymakers have sought to treat the entire Delta homogeneously. By maintaining the entire Delta as a perennially freshwater body, many habitats that once existed in the Delta have been displaced, and variability, which is useful for reducing the potential harm of invasive species and providing habitat for native species, has been reduced. Allowing different parts of the Delta to specialize in particular functions or services might allow for greater overall performance for all, or almost all, purposes. Local and temporal variability in flows and various aspects of water quality and habitat was common in the pre-European Delta. As discussed in Chapter 4, different areas of the Delta could specialize in supporting different types of habitat, with greater and more natural fluctuations in flows and salinity. One version of a heterogeneous Delta appears in Figure 7.6; it might apply to several of the Delta alternatives. • Establishing a western Delta fluctuating salinity ecosystem. Western Delta salinity appears to have naturally fluctuated more in the past than it does now; reintroducing this fluctuation in parts of the western Delta should benefit many desirable species. Many of the alternatives proposed above would allow for greater fluctuations in salinity. • Using peripheral areas to bring back desirable natural conditions that existed in the Delta historically. Suisun Marsh, Cache Slough, and Yolo Bypass are especially promising examples of locations that could serve valuable, but very different, environmental functions. Again, many of the above alternatives would allow for the return of natural conditions to parts of the Delta. • Allowing the urbanization of some Delta lands. Local land use pressures, access to major transportation and employment centers, and financial opportunities make urbanization of some Delta lands seemingly inevitable, despite high costs and risks of flooding. Given recent housing prices, urbanization provides a significant ability to contribute financially and politically to solving problems in certain areas of the Delta and to aid the overall health of the Delta. Careful regulation should be able to provide substantial flood protection 156 (exceeding 200-year average recurrence) and prevent unreasonable interference with environmental functions. • Building a Sacramento–San Joaquin Canal. Such a canal, a central feature of the South Delta Restoration Aqueduct alternative described above, would supplement lower San Joaquin River flows with Sacramento River water. This would provide larger flows than the San Joaquin supplemental flows envisioned in earlier peripheral canal proposals, because most or all canal flows would transfer into the San Joaquin River. Having Sacramento River flows enter the lower San Joaquin River should reduce the need for San Joaquin and Stanislaus River flows to improve water quality in the southern Delta and lower San Joaquin River. • Creating a San Joaquin River marsh and flood bypass. As part of supplementing water deliveries to the San Joaquin River, a marsh and flood bypass system might provide additional environmental habitat, water quality improvements for southern Delta farmers, flood control capacity for the lower San Joaquin River, and conjunctive management opportunities (groundwater banking). • Managing expectations and providing mitigation solutions. It is unlikely that any alternative would satisfy all Delta interests in terms of water and land use. The approach outlined here differs from the underlying assumption of CALFED that everyone can “get better together.” Stakeholders whose land and water interests cannot be directly satisfied may be compensated by financial or other means. Even with such mitigations, one cannot reasonably expect universal satisfaction. Conclusions A primary thesis of this report is that variability in Delta flows, water quality, and functions is potentially desirable, allowing different parts of the Delta to function differently, as they did before European settlement. By insisting that all of the Delta be managed as a static system, as it is in its present configuration, a very unnatural Delta has been created—one that suits neither natural nor human objectives. Maintaining such a vast area, subject to great natural variability, as a more or less homogeneous region, 157 requires substantial resources and implies substantial risks. The Delta is now too important to tolerate such risks. The potentially catastrophic nature of risks in the Delta implies some need to seek solutions that allow for a soft landing. Any proposed solution will take considerable time to complete, but the existence of an agreed-on direction will allow California to take advantage of some opportunities and gradually transform the Delta into a more functional and less risky environment. In the next chapter, we evaluate the alternatives presented in this chapter. 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