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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(13) "R_413EH2R.pdf" ["wpmf_size"]=> string(8) "10188771" ["wpmf_filetype"]=> string(3) "pdf" ["wpmf_order"]=> string(1) "0" ["searchwp_content"]=> string(119922) "www.ppic.org Stress Relief Prescriptions for a Healthier Delta Ecosystem A p r i l 2 013 Ellen Hanak • Jay Lund • John Durand • William Fleenor Brian Gray • Josué Medellín-Azuara • Jeffrey Mount Peter Moyle • Caitrin Phillips • Barton “Buzz” Thompson with research support from Elizabeth Stryjewski Supported with funding from the S. D. Bechtel, Jr. Foundation Summary A century and a half of human uses of the Sacramento–San Joaquin Delta and its greater watershed have transformed the aquatic ecosystem, sharply reducing native fish popula- tions. Efforts to reverse these declines have been largely unsuccessful, and the rising costs of regulation have fueled social conflicts. These conflicts have often played out in the court - room, where scientific uncertainty has been used to undermine the legitimacy of Delta science. The state is at a critical juncture on Delta policy. Implementation of the first “Delta Plan”— the foundational plan for meeting the “co-equal goals” of ecosystem health and water supply reliability called for in the Delta Reform Act of 2009—is to begin in 2013. Decisions are also expected on the Bay Delta Conservation Plan (BDCP), which is intended to improve conditions for native species while facilitating continued water exports from the Delta under the federal and state Endangered Species Acts. These and related efforts offer significant promise. But Cali - fornia still faces an uphill battle to incorporate science effectively in decisionmaking and make judicious management choices within a highly fragmented and adversarial institutional struc - ture, involving dozens of federal, state, and local entities. This report summarizes the results of a wide-ranging study examining steps California can take to improve the health of the Delta ecosystem through science-based, integrated manage - ment of the many sources of ecosystem stress. Our key findings: 1. “Reconciliation ecology” offers a realistic approach to managing the Delta’s highly altered ecosystem and meeting the co-equal goals. Reconciliation seeks to improve ecosystem Car Son J Effr ES Stress Relief 2 www.ppic.org processes to support desirable species while acknowledging that humans will continue to rely on the region’s land and water resources. This approach would restore natural pro - cesses wherever possible (particularly favorable flows and habitat) and use infrastructure and technology (such as hatcheries) to support native species. Because some parts of the Delta are unlikely to support native species, area specialization is essential. Both the Delta Plan and BDCP contain elements of a reconciliation approach. 2. The reconciliation process needs to be guided by science and broadly supported by Cali - fornians. We surveyed the scientific community and engaged policymakers and stake - holders to gauge their current views. Scientists favor reconciliation strategies: strong majorities emphasized flow and habitat actions in and upstream of the Delta that would restore more natural processes. Stakeholders and policymakers generally agree with sci - entists on high-priority solutions. However, stakeholders were more likely to prioritize actions in areas unrelated to their own uses of the Delta and shy away from actions that would be costly for them. 3. A modest but powerful set of changes to existing institutional structures can help achieve better environmental outcomes while containing costs, which are likely to exceed several hundred million dollars annually: Consistent planning. Comprehensive reviews of the numerous related planning efforts to determine their compatibility with the state’s overall Delta Plan. Integrated and accountable management. Proactive use of the new Delta Plan Inter - agency Implementation Committee to coordinate implementation of work plans, hold agencies accountable, and integrate adaptive management. More comprehensive and integrated regulation. Regulatory coverage of more stress- ors, reduced duplication, and expedited environmental permitting (currently a costly obstacle to ecosystem reconciliation). Common pool science. Creation of a Delta science joint powers authority involving reg - ulators and regulated parties that would foster shared understanding, build knowledge, and inform adaptive management efforts. With this game plan for a more environmentally effective, fiscally responsible approach, policy- makers can make a stronger case to stakeholders and the broader public for the necessary financial support. Please visit the report’s publication page to find related resources: www.ppic.org/main/publication.asp?i=1051 3 Stress Relief www.ppic.org Introduction In times of stress, be bold and valiant. —Horace The Problem Th e most vexing area of California water policy is the Sacramento–San Joaquin Delta, a network of mostly manmade islands and channels at the confl uence of the Sacramento and San Joaquin Rivers. Together with the San Francisco Bay, the Delta forms the largest estuary on the Pacifi c Coast of the Americas. It is the terminus of Cali- fornia’s largest watershed and a major source of the state’s water supply. It is also a valued ecological resource. Human actions since the arrival of European settlers in the mid-1800s have severely disrupted conditions for native species, and especially fi sh, in the Delta itself and in upstream areas within the greater Sacramento and San Joaquin River watershed. • More than 95 percent of the Delta’s original 700,000 acres of tidal wetlands have been replaced by rock- rimmed agricultural islands, many of which lie well below sea level (Whipple et al. 2012). • Water fl ows into and through the Delta have been pro- foundly altered from their natural, seasonally variable patterns by infrastructure built for water supply and fl ood control, including upstream dams and diversions and large export pumps in the south Delta. From 1995 to 2005, upstream diversions removed an average of 38 percent of annual runoff in the greater watershed (46.6 million acre-feet), and in-Delta and export diver- sions removed another 14 percent (Lund et al. 2007). Most of California’s residents and irrigated farmland rely at least in part on water from this watershed (Figure 1). • Wastewater and runoff from roughly 1.7 million house- holds and 4 million acres of farmland within the Sacra- mento and San Joaquin River regions and the Delta itself have polluted the fl ows remaining in the system, degrad- ing water quality. • Upstream dams have cut off most natural salmon and steelhead spawning areas, and levees have shrunk the availability of riparian and seasonal fl oodplain habitat. Hatcheries, established to maintain salmon and steel- head fi sheries aft er dams were built, have unintentionally harmed wild populations of these fi sh (Williams 2006; Lindley et al. 2009; Carlson and Satterthwaite 2011). • Alien species have been introduced intentionally for fi shing or through ship ballast water, aquarium releases, and ponds and nurseries, making the San Francisco Bay–Delta one of the most invaded estuaries in the world (Cohen and Carlton 1998). Some aliens thrive in this highly altered ecosystem, competing with natives for food, preying upon them, and degrading their habitat. Th e causes of the Delta’s aquatic ecosystem declines are many, and virtually all Californians bear some respon- sibility, as land and water users, consumers of local fi sh, and purchasers of imported goods that arrive in California by ship (Figure 1). Th e past three decades have seen numerous rebalanc- ing eff orts to improve the health of the Delta’s aquatic North Coast SacramentoRiver San JoaquinRiver Tulare Lake South Lahontan North Lahontan San Francisco Bay ColoradoRiver Central Coast South Coast 0 mi 50100 150 0 km80160 240 N Upstream diverters, drainage, and habitat Legal Delta and Suisun Marsh Out-of-basin diverters Of-shore commercial and recreational fshing Hydrologic regions Figure 1. Almost all Californians use Delta resources and share responsibility for its ecosystem woes NOTES: Out-of-basin diverters include those receiving Delta exports as well as parts of the San Francisco Bay and Tulare Lake hydrologic regions receiving water from the Mokelumne, Tuolumne, and San Joaquin Rivers. Some water users in the San Joaquin River hydrologic region also receive Delta exports. Stress Relief 4 www.ppic.org ecosystem and especially its imperiled native fish spe- cies, many of which are now listed under federal and state Endangered Species Acts (ESA). (See the text box for our definition of a “healthy ecosystem.”) Scientific research has helped improve understanding of how the ecosystem works and what native species need to thrive. Mitigation actions have been launched to address many sources of ecosystem stress, including improvements in upstream habitat (e.g., removal of small dams, screening diversions, replacing gravel in spawning areas), changes in flow management (with particular focus on flow seasonality and export vol- umes), and new water quality regulations. And California has attempted to address the highly fragmented nature of resource management—which involves dozens of federal and state agencies and hundreds of local governments, water and wastewater utilities, and flood districts. Stake- holder involvement has been a hallmark of these efforts, with groups representing a wide range of interests partici- pating in public processes (Lund et al. 2007; Layzer 2008). The two most recent high-profile efforts at greater coor - dination are the Delta Plan and the Bay Delta Conservation Plan (BDCP). The Delta Plan is the state’s foundational long- term (100-year) planning tool for meeting the “co-equal goals” of water supply reliability and ecosystem health established by the Delta Reform Act of 2009 (Cal. Water Code § 85054). It is scheduled to be adopted in the spring of 2013. 1 Responsibility for its development and implemen- tation lies with the Delta Stewardship Council—a new state agency created by this same legislation. The BDCP has been under development since 2006 and is scheduled for public review in 2013. It would provide both broader envi- ronmental protection for the Delta’s endangered species and a more reliable framework for water exports under the terms of both federal and state ESAs. 2 The BDCP is large— potentially involving multibillion-dollar investments in Delta habitat restoration and new water conveyance infrastructure—but more narrowly focused than the Delta Plan. If deemed sufficiently protective of native species, BDCP will be incorporated into the Delta Plan, as will other plans related to Delta management (e.g., water qual- ity and flows, flood protection) and the conduct of science. 3 These efforts offer significant promise but also face scientific, political, and institutional hurdles. The scien- tific and political hurdles are closely linked. Decision- makers view science as the basis for policy changes, but science itself has become a major source of conflict. Although scientific understanding of the ecosystem has vastly improved, the Delta’s complexity makes uncertainty inevitable. Also, as native fish populations have continued to decline, regulations intended to reverse these trends have become increasingly costly for the affected parties. Scientific uncertainty—and the inability of the scientific community to communicate effectively about what is and is not known—is frustrating, and decisionmakers often blame science as unreliable. Uncertainty has also become a rationale for resisting mitigation actions, both in regulatory forums and in the courtroom. 4 When parties engaged in coordinated planning processes are likely to meet as legal adversaries, science takes on a “combat” role—where legal defensibility, rather than improved understanding, becomes Ecosystem health: subjective but meaningful Ecologists are often uncomfortable with using the terms “healthy” or “unhealthy” to describe ecosystems. Health is defined according to human perceptions and values—the World Health Organization defines it as complete physical, mental, and social well-being of an individual or a group of individuals. This translates poorly to the food webs, species, and physical and chemical processes that make up eco- systems. Indeed, some argue that the Delta’s ecosystem, which now resembles a lake in southern Arkansas, is perfectly healthy for today’s mix of nonnative species. Yet, the term ecosystem health is widely used in policy discussions about the Delta. With apologies to ecologists, we define a healthy ecosystem as one with environmental and ecological condi- tions that sustain ecosystem functions or services valuable to society, including stable populations of desirable plants and animals (both native and nonnative), flood hazard reduction, and high-quality water for drinking, irrigation, and recreation. We focus on the objective of improving conditions for native fish—widely considered among the priority species society is seeking to maintain in this ecosystem. 5 Stress Relief www.ppic.org a driver, and all sides develop their own sources of exper- tise and make selective use of facts and analyses. These kinds of disagreements have been debilitating for policy discussions about the causes of native species declines and effective solutions (National Research Council 2012). Another key hurdle is institutional fragmentation, which affects both Delta policy and science. Despite some impor - tant achievements in interagency coordination, fragmented approaches to planning, regulation, and management still threaten California’s ability to manage the Delta ecosystem effectively (and cost effectively). “Stovepipes” and “silos” within and across agencies working on different aspects of a prob - lem or on different stressors lead to piecemeal approaches. The consequences include inconsistent regulations, costly delays, missed opportunities, and, perhaps most important, an inability to make reasoned and balanced tradeoffs. No policy or management package is likely to reverse the declines in native species without a more organized, science- driven approach to Delta problem solving. This will require more integrated monitoring and scientific analysis, adequate and sustainable funding, and truly integrated management across agencies and interests that often operate at cross-purposes. Goals of This Report This report summarizes the results of a study on how Californians can improve the health of the Delta’s aquatic ecosystem through integrated management of the many sources of ecosystem stress. We focus on maintaining native biodiversity—an important social goal in its own right and a key to sustaining the many economic activities that rely on the water and land resources of the Delta’s watershed. We draw together information from scientific, economic, insti - tutional, and legal perspectives on the origins of the Delta ecosystem’s problems, the efficacy of proposed solutions, and strategies for improved science and management. We reviewed relevant scientific, legal, and policy literature and benefitted from extensive input from scientists, policymak - ers, and stakeholders engaged in Delta science and policy. We also conducted two confidential surveys in the summer of 2012. The first sought input from scientific experts—researchers who have authored peer-reviewed scientific journal articles on the Delta ecosystem—on the impact of ecosystem stressors on native fish species and the biological potential of a suite of management actions proposed to address these stressors. The second survey posed a subset of these questions to engaged stakeholders and policymakers—participants in the Delta Plan or BDCP process or senior officials of key state regulatory agencies. We received responses from 122 scientists (41% of those contacted). 5 Slightly more than half of these scientists work for universities, roughly a third for federal and state agencies, and the remainder for advocacy organizations, local agencies, and consulting firms. We received responses from 240 stake - holders and policymakers (31%). We assign these respondents (often referred to below as “stakeholders”) into six groups: 6 Delta-based interests (38 respondents): representatives of local governments, water agencies, advocacy groups, and other engaged residents; Environmental advocates (56 respondents): employees and members of environmental organizations; Export interests (22 respondents): primarily representa- tives of water agencies outside the watershed that depend on Delta exports; Fishing and other water-based recreation interests (14 respondents): principally representatives of recreational fishing within the watershed but also several representa- tives from the salmon and crab industries; Upstream interests (39 respondents): representatives of agencies that divert water upstream of the Delta or dis- charge pollutants into the watershed; and Federal and state officials (56 respondents): employees of regulatory and management agencies active in the Delta. No policy or management package is likely to reverse the declines in native species without a more organized, science-driven approach to Delta problem solving. Stress Relief 6 www.ppic.org The survey of scientists helps synthesize the current scientific understanding of stressor impacts and mitigating actions, highlighting areas of higher and lower consensus. Seeking expert views is particularly valuable for the Delta, given the incomplete guidance from the scientific litera- ture on forward-looking, ecosystem-based management (National Research Council 2012). 7 The stakeholder survey makes it possible to identify areas of agreement and diver- gence between scientific researchers and stakeholders and among different stakeholder groups. Our surveys aim to provide useful insights into the challenges and opportuni- ties in Delta ecosystem planning and policymaking and to help inform the design of a Delta science effort that better supports the societal goal of ecosystem health. In the following sections, we draw on this diverse set of analyses to answer the following questions: How did we get here? How do scientists, government officials, and stakeholders view the causes of the current condition of the Delta’s native fish species? Where might we go? What is a realistic future for a more native-fish-friendly Delta ecosystem, given limitations imposed by the landscape, water availability, climate change, and the ecological needs of native species? What are the most promising ways to get there? How do a wide range of ecosystem management actions compare in terms of likely biological effectiveness (as assessed by scien- tific experts) and other societal considerations (economic and financial costs and perceptions of various stakeholder g roups)? How can our institutions become more suited to the task? What are options for more integrated science, man- agement, and regulatory oversight? We conclude with some reflections on how to build public support for tackling this complex challenge. The Role of Ecosystem Stressors There is broad scientific agreement that undesirable changes to the Delta ecosystem are caused by a wide range of stress - ors (National Research Council 2012; Delta Independent Science Board 2011). We have grouped these stressors into five categories, all linked to human activity within the Delta and the greater watershed (Mount et al. 2012): Discharges. Land and water use activities that directly alter water quality in the greater Delta watershed by discharging contaminants that pollute the water, degrade habitat, disrupt food webs, or cause direct harm to native species. This category includes point and nonpoint sources of conventional pollutants, nutrients (e.g., from fertilizers), “emerging contaminants,” such as endocrine disruptors (e.g., from personal care products and pharmaceuticals), legacy pollutants from mining and waterfront activities, and other forms of water pollution. Fish management. Policies and activities that can adversely affect populations of native species, such as commercial and sport harvest, poaching, and outdated hatchery practices. This research has generated several reports: Aquatic Ecosystem Stressors in the Sacramento–San Joaquin Delta (Mount et al. 2012) summarizes the science of Delta ecosystem stressors for a policymaking audience. Available at www.ppic.org/main/publication.asp?i=1024 Where the Wild Things Aren’t: Making the Delta a Better Place for Native Species (Moyle et al. 2012) describes a realistic long-term vision for achieving a healthier ecosystem. Available at www. ppic.org/main/publication.asp?i=1025 Integrated Management of Delta Stressors: Institutional and Legal Options (Gray et al. 2013) lays out our proposals for institutional reform of science, management, and regulation. Available at www.ppic.org/main/publication.asp?i=1054 Scientist and Stakeholder Views on the Delta Ecosystem (Hanak et al. 2013) presents more results from our two surveys. Available at www.ppic.org/main/publication.asp?i=1053 Costs of Ecosystem Management Actions for the Sacramento– San Joaquin Delta (Medellín-Azuara et al. 2013) assesses costs of the management actions discussed here. Available at www. ppic.org/main/publication.asp?i=1052 7 Stress Relief www.ppic.org Flow regime change. Alterations in flow characteristics from water management facilities and operations, including volume, timing, hydraulics, sediment load, and tempera- tures. This category includes upstream dams and diversions throughout the greater Delta watershed, in-Delta diver- sions, and exports. Invasive species. Alien plants or animals that harm or dis - place native species by disrupting food webs, altering ecosys - tem functions, introducing disease, or increasing predation. Physical habitat alteration. Land use activities that alter or eliminate physical habitat that supports native species, including upland, floodplain, riparian, open water/channel, and tidal marsh. This category includes levees, channeliza- tion, diking and draining of wetlands, dams, dredging for ship channels, and the narrowing or reduction of riparian zones, shallows, and tidal and fluvial marshes. Two external sources of stress will interact with local stressors and influence the feasibility of management actions. Variability in ocean conditions directly affects native fishes that migrate through the Delta (salmon, steelhead, and sturgeon), as well as the regional climate and weather. 8 And climate change will affect the ecosystem through warmer temperatures, accelerated sea level rise, and changing runoff patterns. Approaching complex stressors in a simplified way allows for a broad analysis of the causes of ecosystem stress and aids strategic thinking about mitigation strategies. Which Stressors Are Most Important? Few scientists are comfortable ranking stressors in order of their responsibility for the decline of the Delta’s native spe - cies, given their significant and often complex interactions (National Resource Council 2012). For example, levees reduce seasonal floodplain habitat from high winter and spring flows, which reduces spawning and rearing areas for many native fish. Likewise, upstream water diversions can intensify effects from agricultural and urban discharges, altering food webs and ecosystems in ways that favor invasive species. Although the scientific community often emphasizes the complexity of the problem, recent public policy debates often oversimplify it—with various stakeholder groups focusing exclusively on one stressor or another. Given this disconnect between scientific and public discourse, it is useful to see how various groups viewed ecosystem stressor roles in our confidential surveys. Figure 2 shows respondents’ views of the importance of each of the five categories of stressors in the decline of native fish species. The pairs of bars compare the views of scientists (green) and the average view across all six stakeholder groups, with each group weighted equally (yellow); the average responses for each stakeholder group are indicated by one-letter abbreviations. Despite often-heated public exchanges, both the scientists and representatives of stakeholder groups gener - ally agree that all five stressor categories have contributed to the decline of the Delta’s native fish. Most respondents believe that all stressor categories have had at least a mod- erately negative influence, and almost no one considers any category completely unimportant. This broad acceptance Moderate impact Low impact High impact No impact Invasives Flows Fish management Discharges Habitat Figure 2. Scientists and stakeholders tend to agree on stressor impacts U=upstream F=fshing and recreation G=state and federal governments SOURCE: Hanak et al. (2013). NOTES: The fgure reports mean responses to the instruction: “Please indicate the level of impact you believe each stressor group has had on the historical decline of the Delta’s native fshes.” Categorical responses were coded as “no impact” (0), “low impact” (1), “moderate impact” (2), and “high impact” (3). For the scientists, this shows the average of responses to separate questions for three types of Delta fshes (pelagic, anadromous, and native resident). Among scientists, “don’t know” rates were highest for discharges (15%) and direct fsh management (12%), followed by invasive species (5%), habitat (2%), and fow regime (1%). For stakeholders, “don’t know” rates were lower: fsh management (9%), discharges (3%), invasives (3%), habitat (1%), and fows (0%). X=exporters E=environmental D=Delta Scientists Average of six stakeholder groups X D U G E F X D U G E F X D U G E F X D U G E F X D UG E F Stress Relief 8 www.ppic.org suggests the potential for a more constructive public dis- course on Delta policy.The groups diverged somewhat in their emphasis, how- ever. A strong majority of scientists considered flows and habitat to be high-impact stressors, and most stakeholders agreed. The exceptions were groups benefiting most from actions causing ecosystem stress. Delta residents, who live and work in the highly altered landscape of today’s Delta, were least likely to rank habitat alteration as a serious problem. Similarly, exporters and upstream interests, who benefit daily from water diversions, tended to view flows less negatively. Scientists generally ascribed a more mod- erate role to the three other stressor groups (discharges, fish management, invasives). 9 This was also the case with stakeholders on average, though here again the views of individual groups reflected their economic interests. Delta and upstream interests, who discharge pollutants into the watershed, gave discharges the lowest score, whereas exporters, located outside the watershed, scored them the highest. The divergence widened when respondents identi- fied the top-two stressor categories (Figure 3). This illus- trates the difficulties in using science to help guide policy- making for the Delta ecosystem. 10 A Realistic Vision for the Delta Ecosystem Although assessments of the relative contributions of stressors may differ, it is hard to deny that the present-day Delta ecosystem bears only a superficial resemblance to the ecosystem of 25 years ago, not to mention the ecosystem of 50, 100, 150, and 250 years ago (Moyle and Bennett 2008; Whipple et al. 2012). Few of the changes to the ecosystem have been intentional. Rather, hundreds of actions over time to facilitate growth in California’s human population and its economy have had unintended effects. Thanks to greater scientific understanding of ecological and human systems, Californians now know that social and economic choices lead to ecological change. In making such choices, policymakers and stakeholders must have ecological goals more firmly in mind. Otherwise, the Delta ecosystem will continue to change willy-nilly in ways that are bound to be progressively worse for its native species—and probably also for humans. The Harsh Realities Effective policies must be based on an acknowledgment that it is not possible to “undo” the damage caused by past actions: The structure and functions of the Delta ecosystem have changed dramatically and will continue to change, regardless of future policy decisions. For instance, many deeply subsided Delta islands are bound to flood perma - nently at some point, creating habitat unlike anything exist - ing there before. New invasive species will keep arriving, driving further changes. Numerous human-caused and natural constraints limit management options. Human-caused constraints include widespread land subsidence, local urbanization, water scarcity, Percentage Invasives Flows Fish management Discharges Habitat Figure 3. Views difered widely on which two stressors are most important U=upstream F=fshing and recreation G=state and federal governments SOURCE: Hanak et al. (2013). NOTES: The fgure reports the share of each group that selected stressor categories in response to the question: “Considering interactions among diferent types of stressors, which two stressor groups have contributed most to the decline in the Delta ecosystem’s overall ability to support native species?” “Don’t know” response rates were as follows: state and federal ofcials (4%), scientists (2%), and no one in the other groups shown X=exporters E=environmental D=Delta Scientists Average of six stakeholder groups 100 90 80 70 60 50 40 30 20 100 X D U G E F X D U G EF X D U G E F X D U G EF X D UG E F 9 Stress Relief www.ppic.org and invasive species. Sediment availability and tidal energy also limit management actions. The current ecosystem is novel in its species composition and many of its physical features. The Delta is now home to a mix of native species and alien species from all over the world, and they interact in ways that are not always well understood. Some alien species (e.g., overbite clam, Brazilian waterweed, inland silverside fish) are clearly making the ecosystem less favorable for native species, whereas others have more positive effects (e.g., alien cray- fish are now a major food for river otters). Ecological improvement will require reducing physical and behavioral stresses on fish and other organisms, both within and upstream of the Delta. This will require tackling multiple sources of stress to better support eco- logical functions in the system. Climate warming and sea level rise are steadily chang- ing environmental conditions for individual species and entire biological communities. Managers can compensate for these changes to some extent (e.g., through better man- agement of cold-water pools in reservoirs), but the effec- tiveness of most actions will reach a limit within 100 years without successful global efforts to slow the pace of climate change (Moyle, Quiñones, and Kiernan 2012). These realities are sobering, but with sufficient political and institutional will, Californians can direct and adapt to inevitable ecological changes. To do this, Californians need a vision of what a desirable future Delta ecosystem should look like, what services they want it to provide, and what species it should support (“desirable” species). Otherwise, large sums of money are likely to be spent on measures that do little good for native fishes and the ecological functions that support them, such as massive levees to protect low-value land, additional and bigger dams, piecemeal mitigations for water diversions, and increased floodplain development. A Hopeful Vision: Reconciliation Ecology “Reconciliation ecology” offers a realistic but hopeful way to envision the future. 11 Reconciliation ecology recognizes that since humans are major players in all of the world’s ecosys - tems, the conservation of biodiversity must occur within human-dominated systems. But reconciled ecosystems can have the look, feel, and function of natural systems— especially in terms of services provided—and these ecosys- tems can be managed to favor some organisms over others. The idea of a reconciled Delta ecosystem fits well with the co-equal goals of water supply reliability and ecosystem health established by the Delta Reform Act of 2009 and by feder a l law. 12 Reconciliation requires functional integration of the co-equal goals, accounting for interactions among stressors and the many beneficial uses that depend on the waters and lands that constitute the ecosystem. Likewise, reconciliation is compatible with state and federal ESAs, which are intended to prevent extinction and maintain populations of endangered species in their native range. Protection of endangered species can be a driver of a reconciled ecosystem, but climate and other irreversible changes may push even a reconciled ecosystem to a state where it cannot support some listed species. 13 In Where the Wild Things Aren’t: Making the Delta a Better Place for Native Species (Moyle et al. 2012), we pre- sent a vision of a reconciled Delta ecosystem that reflects our own evolving ideas of desirable possible futures. According to this thinking, a reconciled Delta should be guided by five concepts. Natural processes should be restored wherever possible. In broad terms, this means allowing the Delta to func- tion like the upper estuary it once was by providing for a strong, seasonally changing, upstream-downstream gradi- ent in salinity, temperature, turbidity, and other factors related to inflow and outflow (Moyle et al. 2010). Locally, this will require breaching dikes to restore tidal marshes in parts of Suisun Marsh and the north Delta and managing parts of the Yolo Bypass as seasonal floodplain to benefit native fish and other wildlife. Different parts of the Delta should be specialized for different functions. Although the Delta is often thought of as a single block of habitat, different regions functioned quite differently in the past (Whipple et al. 2012) and have Stress Relief 10 www.ppic.org different trajectories for the future. The region where the native ecosystem has the most ability to recover, given current land elevations and other ecosystem attributes, is the bayou-like Sacramento Delta: an arc of interconnected habitats (or potential habitats) for native species extend- ing from the Yolo Bypass, through the northwest Delta (Cache-Lindsay Slough), past Sherman Island, and into Suisun Marsh. At the opposite extreme, a large block of subsided islands in the central Delta has a high probability of becoming permanently flooded, creating “lakes” with no historical equivalent that will mostly favor alien species. Many native species already prefer other areas (Figure 4a), and it seems realistic to promote area specialization in managing the ecosystem (Figure 4b). Levees, channels, diversions, and gates should be reop- erated, reconstructed, or removed to benefit desirable species. This will be needed partly to restore more natural processes, such as seasonal variation, habitat creation, and natural flow directions. In a reconciled Delta, this infra- structure would be redesigned and managed to meet the co-equal goals—a marked shift from when most of this infrastructure was built. Near-term solutions will differ from long-term solutions. Today’s ecosystem has been so heavily altered—physically and biologically—that it will take decades to bring about a more favorable state. In the near term, intensive manage- ment actions, such as conservation hatcheries, deliberately flooded islands, and managed floodplains, may be needed to prevent species from going extinct and to learn more about what works. The Delta needs an effective, well-funded system of adap- tive management. Adaptive management is a systematic, science-based approach to operating a dynamic system that encourages experimentation and does not punish manag- ers for taking risks, as long as one can learn from failures. This approach should be built into the culture of organiza- tions that do large-scale management of the Delta’s natural resources. Experimental adaptation will be needed to deal with new invasions in the short run (e.g., quagga mussel) and with climate change in the longer run.Elements of these guiding concepts are contained in available drafts of both the Delta Plan and the BDCP. At their core, both plans attempt to reconcile competing demands for use of the Delta’s natural resources. Both acknowledge the need to restore ecological processes for native species, and neither envisions restoring the Delta to a historical condition. Both call for extensive habitat res- toration in key areas where elevation, hydrology, and land use allow it, implicitly promoting the type of area special- ization discussed above (and shown in Figure 4b). However, neither plan offers a comprehensive approach to ecosystem reconciliation. Neither fully regionalizes eco - system management in the Delta—both plans tend to focus only on areas where native species are likely to persist, rather than also considering how other parts of the Delta might support alien species with some desirable properties, such as largemouth bass. And although both plans acknowledge that changes in climate, island flooding, land use, and invasive species will alter future ecosystems, they offer limited guid - ance on how to address these changes. Both plans envision a new conveyance system for Delta exports but otherwise tend to view flow management infrastructure in the Delta— particularly levees—as static for the indefinite future. This is highly unlikely to be the case (Lund et al. 2010). Finally, although both plans call for adaptive management and science-based decisionmaking, neither has yet offered a well-funded, well-designed adaptive management strategy supported by a robust and integrated science program. Choosing the Most Promising Actions In choosing a portfolio of actions to support a reconciled Delta ecosystem, two considerations are key: the biologi- cal potential to support desirable species and the cost to those using the Delta’s lands and waters. Ideally, the high- est potential for biological payoff would come at the lowest cost. In practice, high-potential actions may have high costs, which means that negotiating tradeoffs is a major challenge for Delta policymaking. 11 Stress Relief www.ppic.org Here, we examine the biological potential and likely costs of some promising actions for supporting the Delta’s native fi sh species. For views on biological potential, we draw on our survey of scientists, who assessed the ability of 32 actions to improve conditions for the Delta’s native fi sh species and picked the fi ve actions they considered most promising as a package. Although scientifi c under- standing of what will work in this ecosystem is still uncer- tain and subject to change, ecosystem management will need to be informed by science on an ongoing basis. Th e survey gauges the current views of the scientifi c commu- nity about the success and relative importance of a broad suite of actions. We also examine the potential costs of actions and the views of policymakers and stakeholders on ecosystem priori- ties. Our study Costs of Ecosystem Management Actions for the Sacramento–San Joaquin Delta (Medellín-Azuara et al. 2013) is a fi rst attempt at sorting a large suite of potential actions by their economic and fi nancial costs. Our survey of stakeholders and policymakers allows a comparison with scientist views on priority ecosystem actions. Although ecosystem policy must be informed by science, policy is ultimately made by society. Mokelumne River Bear Creek Marsh Creek Calaveras River Putah Creek Sacramento RiverAmerican River Cosumnes River Dry Creek Stanislaus River San Joaquin River Sacramento Stockton Tr ac y Antioch Fairfeld YOLO BYPASS Suisun Marsh Sherman IslandLake Suisun Marsh Big Break Cache Slough Splittail movements to other parts of the Delta are omitted because of poor understanding of their patterns.* LARGEMOUTH BASS resident area SAN JOAQUIN SALMON migration SACRAMENTO SALMON migration and rearing SPLITTAIL*rearing and spawning D E LTA S M E LT r earing and spawning Mokelumne River Bear Creek Marsh Creek Calaveras River Putah Creek Sacramento RiverAmerican River Cosumnes River Dry Creek Stanislaus River YOLO BYPASS Suisun Marsh Sherman Island Lake Suisun Marsh Big Break Cache Slough San Joaquin River Sacramento Stockton Tracy Antioch Fairfeld CENTRAL DELTA LOWLANDS & LAKES Deep freshwaterlake species POTENTIAL SAN JOAQUIN RIVER MIGRATORY CORRIDORS EASTSIDE RIVERS Freshwater riparian, foodplain species, local salmon rearing SACRAMENTO RIVER & BYPASS HABITAT ARC Freshwater seasonal foodplain, tidal marshlands, & riverine habitat: delta smelt, splittail, salmon, other native fsh LOWER SAN JOAQUIN FLOODPLAIN Partially restored marsh & seasonal foodplain Suisun Marsh Suisun MarshSuisun MarshSuisun MarshSuisun MarshSuisun MarshSuisun MarshSuisun MarshSuisun MarshSuisun MarshSuisun MarshSuisun MarshSuisun Marsh BigBreak Figure 4. Fish habitats today and in a reconciled Delta a. Current habitat b. Future habitat (ecosystem areas) SOURCES: Moyle et al. (2012); the base elevation map is adapted from Stuart Siegel, Wetlands and Water Resources (2009). LiDAR elevation sources: Suisun Marsh (2005); Delta (2007). NOTES: The northwest corridor provides the most favorable habitat for native fsh species. Salmon, delta smelt, and splittail are native fsh species, and largemouth bass is an alien species valued for recreational fshing that does well in the more altered central Delta. Colored lines indicate principal migratory routes through the Delta of each species. Dashed line indicates San Joaquin salmon migration (poor conditions). Topography of major urban areas excluded. NOTES: Ecosystem areas would support diferent functions. These areas would continue to support most urban and agricultural land uses as well as transportation functions. Islands within the central Delta whose economic value (including for such strategic uses as roads and rail lines) justifes the expense would continue to be protected. The Sacramento River and Bypass Habitat Arc includes a migratory corridor for Sacramento River salmon and steelhead. San Joaquin River salmon would need migratory corridors through the inhospitable central Delta. Topography of major urban areas excluded. 0 mi 510 0 km 10 20 N Current land elevation 0–5 ft above sea level (potential marshland with sea level rise) Within tidal range 0–3 ft below sea level 3–6 ft below sea level 6–9 ft below sea level 9 ft or more below sea level Existing waters Major Delta pumping stations Stress Relief 12 www.ppic.org When stakeholder views diverge from those of scientists, strategies are needed to develop a common understanding. What Do Scientists Consider Most Promising? Table 1 presents the actions we asked scientists to evaluate for their potential to improve the Delta ecosystem’s ability to support native fishes. The list includes interventions addressing each stressor area, sorted by level of implemen - tation experience within the Delta watershed and likely costs. Over half of these actions (denoted as “under way”) are already employed to some extent within the Delta watershed, with additional implementation planned or being considered. 14 The other measures have not yet been tried here. Two actions—tidal marsh restoration (#29) and farm fertilizer discharge control (#5)—are planned for near-term implementation (“planned ”). Several others are being considered based on modeling or experience outside the basin (“considered”). For example, BDCP negotiators are studying a canal or tunnel to divert exports around or under the Delta (#21). Finally, some actions are still at the concep - tual stage (“conceptual”) and not yet sufficiently developed for active consideration—for example, ideas about control - ling invasive clams, which compete with native species for food (#24), and increasing sediment available to the Delta, which could help support tidal marsh restoration (#32). Gauging Potential Impact We asked scientists to consider the potential impact of each action relative to current conditions. Table 2 summarizes their responses along several dimensions: the columns group the actions into three groups according to the mean impact score, and the rows group them according to the level of consensus on these scores, as measured by the standard deviation of responses. Asterisks designate actions about which a high share of respondents (10% or more) answered “don’t know”—another measure of uncertainty. And the actions are grouped by annual cost (lower cost is under $100 million per year and higher cost is over this amount). Scientists were most likely to rank habitat- and flow- related actions as having a strong potential for positive impact. 15 Consensus was highest (Table 2, top left corner) regarding two flow actions (introducing more variable flows and reducing exports), two Delta habitat actions (expanding seasonal floodplains and tidal marshes), and two actions addressing habitat upstream of the Delta (improving upstream spawning and rearing habitat and removing selected dams). “Don’t know” response rates were also low for these actions. The scientific consensus on the strong potential of sea - sonal floodplain expansion is not surprising; field experience shows that several native fish species benefit from spawning and rearing in floodplain environments (Sommer et al. 2001; Moyle et al. 2004; Jeffres, Opperman, and Moyle 2008). The consensus over tidal marsh restoration is more surprising, because some public discussions have tended to highlight perceived difficulties in regenerating the type of tidal marsh habitat that was once abundant in the Delta. 16 The top two flow management options are quite dis- tinct. Reducing exports is a familiar option that can simul- taneously freshen water outflow (helping to get fish to the productive “mixing” zone in the west Delta near Suisun Marsh) and reduce entrainment of fish and larvae in the export pumps in the south Delta. Reducing exports is also a “knob” that can be turned quickly to affect Delta ecosys- tem conditions. In contrast, patterning flow variability to better support native fish species has been much discussed in recent years but is not yet well defined, and its potential consequences have yet to be fully explored. 17 In the middle of the pack—with medium impact scores and high-to-medium levels of consensus—are actions designed to reduce discharges (#1–#5) and control invasive species directly and through salinity variation (#22, #25), as well as efforts to support wild salmon populations by reducing their harvest and changing hatchery management policies (#14). Most of these actions are already employed within the Delta watershed. The idea of separating hatchery and wild populations of salmon is new for California but has been successful in the Pacific Northwest (Fraser 2008). 18 Average impact scores were lowest for most direct fish management actions and two engineering solutions to alter flows—adding new gates to improve fish passage (#15) and diverting exports through a new canal or tunnel (#21). 13 Stress Relief www.ppic.org Table 1. Many actions might help improve conditions for the Delta’s native fishes action Implementation stage aannualized costs b 1. Reduce urban nonpoint discharges (e.g., stormwater, landscaping runoff) Under way$–$$ 2. Reduce farm pesticide discharges Under way$$–$$$ 3. Reduce toxic substance discharges (e.g., emerging contaminants) Under way$$–$$$ 4. Reduce urban point discharges (e.g., wastewater treatment plants, industry) Under way$$–$$$ 5. Reduce farm fertilizer discharges Planned$$$ 6. Dilute pollutant loads with increased freshwater flows Considered$$–$$$ 7. Truck juvenile salmonids around the Delta Under way$ 8. Increase enforcement to prevent poaching Under way$ 9. Increase screening of water diversions Under way$–$$ 10. Develop new conservation hatcheries to support native fish (e.g., delta smelt hatchery) Under way$$ 11. Reduce harvest of anadromous fish (salmon, steelhead, sturgeon) Under way$$ 12. Trap and truck fish around dams Considered$ 13. Allow unrestricted fishing on nonnative predatory fish (e.g., striped bass, largemouth bass) Considered$$ 14. Manage hatcheries to separate hatchery fish from wild populations (e.g., change hatchery locations, mark hatchery fish) Considered $$ 15. Add gated structures within the Delta to improve fish passage Under way$–$$ 16. Reduce entrainment at export pumps Under way$$ 17. Reduce Delta exports Under way$$–$$$ 18. Increase net Delta outflows Under way$$–$$$ 19. Improve flow regime upstream of the Delta Under way$$–$$$ 20. Pattern Delta flow variability to support native species Considered$$–$$$ 21. Divert Delta exports through a canal or tunnel Considered$$$ 22. Directly control invasive aquatic vegetation Under way$–$$ 23. Increase actions to prevent new invasions (e.g., ballast water, trailered boats, aquarium trade) Under way $$ 24. Directly control invasive clams Conceptual$–$$ 25. Increase salinity variability in the Delta Conceptual$$$ 26. Expand seasonal floodplains Under way$–$$ 27. Improve or increase upstream spawning and rearing habitat Under way$$ 28. Remove selected dams Under way$$–$$$ 29. Restore tidal marsh and shallow water habitat (e.g., Liberty Island, Suisun Marsh) Planned$$ 30. Improve in-Delta channel margin habitat (e.g., setback levees) Considered$$ 31. Increase deep-water habitat (e.g., Franks Tract, Mildred Island) Conceptual$$ 32. Increase sediment loads flowing into Delta Conceptual? a “Under way” denotes actions that are currently being implemented in the Delta watershed to some extent; “planned” denotes actions not yet implemented but planned for near-term implementation; “considered” denotes actions being considered based on modeling or experience outside the basin; ”conceptual” denotes actions still at the conceptual stage, not likely to be implemented in the near term. b $, < $10 million; $$, $10 million to $99 million; $$$, $100 million to $700 million. Investment costs are annualized at 5 percent for perpetuity (so, a $1 billion investment costs $50 million per year). Cost estimates do not include economic spillover (multiplier) effects—e.g., additional revenue losses in other sectors from reductions in crop output or increased revenues from new investments (Medellín-Azuara et al. 2013). Discharges Direct fish management Flow regime Invasive species Physical habitat Stress Relief 14 www.ppic.org within the scientific community—reflect uncertainty regarding the project’s size and operation. Whereas most other actions focus primarily on ecosystem enhancement, this project has been conceived to both improve water export reliability and reduce the harmful effects of south Delta pumping on native fish. If managed for conserva- tion objectives, a tunnel could facilitate more variable flow patterns (#20) and reduce entrainment (#16)—two actions scientists consider quite promising. At the time of the sur- vey (and as of this writing in February 2013), information about operations was not sufficient to allow most scientists to weigh in on this issue with confidence. Scientists agreed that neither screening of diversions (#9) nor greater enforcement of antipoaching laws (#8) is likely to offer significant ecosystem benefits (Table 2, top-right c or ner). 19 For other actions, the low impact scores reflect wide divergences in views (Table 2, bottom-right corner). This group of actions also had the highest shares of “don’t know” responses; nearly a quarter of those surveyed stated that they could not assess the potential of the two flow- engineering actions. The lack of consensus and high share of nonresponses on the canal or tunnel—which has been under active consideration in BDCP negotiations and much discussed Table 2. Scientists agree more about the potential impact of some actions than others High potential impact medium potential impact Low potential impact High scientific consensus Lower-cost actions #26 Expand seasonal floodplains (U) #27 Improve upstream habitat (U) #29 Restore tidal marsh (IP) Higher-cost actions #28 Remove selected dams (U) #20 Introduce more variable flows (IC) #17 Reduce exports (U) Lower-cost actions #2 Reduce farm pesticides (U) #3 Reduce toxic discharges (U) #1 Reduce urban nonpoint discharges (U) #22 Control invasive vegetation (U)* Higher-cost actions #4 Reduce urban point discharges (U) Lower-cost actions #9 Screen more diversions (U) #8 Prevent poaching (U)* m edium scientific consensus Lower-cost actions #29 Improve channel habitat (IC)* #23 Prevent new invasions (U) Higher-cost actions #18 Increase net outflow (U) #19 Improve upstream flows (U) Lower-cost actions #16 Reduce entrainment (U) #14 Separate hatchery/wild fish (IC)** #11 Reduce salmon harvest (U) Higher-cost actions #25 Increase salinity variability (CO)* #5 Reduce fertilizer discharges (IP) Low scientific consensus Lower-cost actions #24 Control invasive clams (CO)* Higher-cost actions #6 Dilute pollutant loads (IC)*Lower-cost actions #32 Increase sediment loads (CO)** #15 Add gates for fish passage (U)** #13 More fishing of predators (IC)* #10 Conservation hatcheries (U)* #12 Truck fish around dams (U)* #31 Increase deep-water habitat (CO) #7 Truck salmon around Delta (U)* Higher-cost actions #21 Divert exports via tunnel (IC)** SOURCE: Hanak et al. (2013). NOTES: For a more detailed list of actions, see Table 1. Actions are split into thirds based on two survey scores. “Impact” measures the sample average impact score, in answer to the question: “In your opinion, what is the potential impact of each of the following actions on the Delta ecosystem’s ability to support native fishes?” with “strongly positive” = 3, “moderately positive” = 2, “weakly positive” = 1, “neutral” = 0, and “negative” = – 2. “Consensus” is measured as the standard deviation of these impact scores, where a low standard deviation indicates high consensus. Actions within each section are ranked by impact scores (highest to lowest). Implementation stage: “U” = already under way to some extent, “IP” = implementation planned in the near-term, “IC” = implementation under consideration, and “CO” = conceptual only. Costs: Lower-cost actions are likely to cost under $100 million per year, and higher-cost actions are likely to cost more than this amount. *10 percent to 16 percent of respondents answered “don’t know.” **21 percent to 25 percent responded “don’t know.” 15 Stress Relief www.ppic.org Choosing Priority Packages Because actions to mitigate Delta stressors are likely to work best in combination, we also sought scientists’ views on the five actions that together would most benefit the Delta’s native fish species. To isolate the priorities from a biological perspective, scientists were instructed to con- sider only impacts on native fish, not the economic costs of the actions. This question elicits top priorities only; respon- dents might consider actions not chosen to be worthwhile. (Indeed, some scientists noted that they would have liked to choose more than five.) To better see the patterns, we grouped actions with similar functions or focus into nine areas. Table 3 reports the share of scientists who picked at least one action in each of these nine areas, along with the share that picked each individual action. For scientific experts on the Delta ecosystem, the most promising ways to improve conditions for native fish com - bine habitat and flow management, both within the Delta and upstream. More than 60 percent of all scientists surveyed picked Delta habitat (82%), Delta flow variability (65%), reduced diversions (62%), and upstream management (61%). There is tremendous agreement on these choices: 63 percent of those surveyed picked actions in at least three of these areas; 93 percent chose at least two; and only one scientist selected none. These choices reflect the prevalence of high- impact actions in all four areas (Table 2, second column), particularly expanding seasonal floodplains (chosen by 61%) and the more experimental tools of patterning flow vari- ability to support native species (59%) and restoring tidal marsh (48%). 20 Although most scientists also picked at least one action outside these four areas, there were no strong patterns in the other combinations selected. 21 Some familiar actions, such as reducing discharges, had moderate support, as did some more experimental actions, such as separating hatch- ery and wild populations of salmon and steelhead. Few scientists chose other experimental actions, such as expand - ing conservation hatcheries and using gated structures to improve fish passage. And few selected harvest manage- ment actions, even though some of these—most notably, increased harvesting of predators—are often promoted in public debates. 22 Overall, the scientists’ priorities are consistent with the broad vision of a reconciled Delta outlined above—most notably, the emphasis on co-managing habitat and flows to restore more natural ecosystem functions in support of native species. However, they steered away from some actions that might be useful for attaining these objectives— including diversion engineering with a tunnel (#21), fish screens (#9), or gates (#15) and creating conservation hatcheries to maintain genetic diversity in native fish populations in the near term (#10). The lower priority levels for these actions reflect higher uncertainty about their potential impacts (Table 2, bottom-right corner). What Do Stakeholders Prioritize? On average, stakeholder groups and scientists had broadly similar rankings of priority areas (compare the green and yellow bars in Figure 5). They agreed on four out of five top areas—all but upstream management (which ranked sixth for stakeholder groups) and diversion engineering (which ranked seventh for scientists). However, as with the stressor rankings, there were some significant differences Scientists have found that young salmon grow faster in seasonal floodplains. Car Son J Effr ES Stress Relief 16 www.ppic.org Table 3. Scientists’ top priorities include better management of habitat and flowsa ction area Individual actions Delta habitat (82%) Habitat actions within the Delta #26 expanding seasonal floodplain (61%) #29 restoring tidal marsh (48%) #30 improving channel-margin habitat (15%) #32 increasing sediment loads (8%) #31 increasing deep-water habitat (3%) Delta flow variability (65%) Flow manipulations focusing on variability (not average water diversions) #20 patterning Delta flow variability to support native species (59%) #25 increasing salinity variability to control invasive species (24%) Reduced diversions (62%) Increasing the volume of instream flows #17 reducing exports (39%) #18 increasing net Delta outflows (35%) #6 diluting pollutant loads with increased freshwater flows (4%) Upstream management (61%) Habitat and flow actions upstream of the Delta #19 improving upstream flow regime (30%) #27 increasing upstream spawning and rearing habitat (25%) #28 removing selected dams (21%) Reduced discharges (30%) Reducing discharges directly (rather than by dilution) #4 urban point sources (13%) #3 toxic substances (11%) #2 farm pesticides (7%) #5 farm fertilizers (6%) #1 urban nonpoint sources (4%) Hatchery management (22%) Improving the role of hatcheries #14 separating hatchery and wild fish (16%) #10 developing conservation hatcheries for native fish (5%) #12 trapping and trucking fish around dams (1%) #7 trucking juvenile salmon around the Delta (1%) Diversion engineering (20%) aUsing technology to make diversions less harmful for native fish #16 reducing entrainment at the export pumps (11%) #21 building a canal or tunnel for exports (7%) #9 increasing screening of diversions (2%) #15 adding gated structures to improve fish passage (0%) Invasive species control (20%) Managing invasive species directly (rather than with flows) #23 preventing new invasions (11%) #22 directly controlling existing invasive plants (7%) #24 directly controlling existing invasive clams (5%) Harvest management (12%) Directly managing recreational and commercial fishing #11 reducing harvest of anadromous fish (7%) #13 allowing unrestricted fishing of nonnative predatory fish (6%) #8 preventing poaching (1%) SOURCE: Hanak et al. (2013). NOTES: This table reports the shares of scientists that picked each individual action (right-hand column) and at least one action in each of the nine action areas (left-hand column), in answer to the question: “Considering interactions, what are the five actions that would result in the most beneficial impact on the Delta’s native fish species?” Table 1 lists individual actions. a We included reducing entrainment (action #16) in diversion engineering even though one way to achieve this is to reduce export diversions. Other options involve technological methods, such as changing the timing of diversions and using barriers and fish screens. 17 Stress Relief www.ppic.org between scientists and individual stakeholder groups.23 Scientists were more likely to prioritize Delta habitat than all groups except exporters and government officials. Sci- entists were also more likely than most to prioritize Delta flow variability and upstream management, and they were in the middle regarding reduced diversions—higher than exporters (almost none of whom chose this alternative)— and lower than Delta and fishing interests (almost all of whom did). They were less likely than many other groups to prioritize reduced discharges, diversion engineering, and harvest management. State and federal officials overlapped most with the scientists on management priorities, just as they did on the relative importance of different stressor categories. 24 Environmental advocates’ views were also fairly similar to those of the scientists, though environmental respondents were more likely to concentrate on flow-related actions and less on habitat or other complementary actions. 25 Although all survey respondents were instructed to focus only on the biological potential of actions (not costs), groups with economic interests tended to steer away from actions likely to impose additional costs or other social or economic disruptions on themselves. Instead, each group tended to choose actions more likely to shift financial burdens to someone else. Thus, exporters avoided mea- sures that would reduce their diversions (either directly or through changes in upstream management), while pri- oritizing “nonflow” stressors—such as discharges, Delta habitat, and harvest management—for which costs would likely be borne by other stakeholder groups or taxpayers. (Exporters have pledged to pay for the construction of a canal or tunnel, the diversion-engineering tool many of them favor, but negotiations to date have assumed that this new facility would pay for itself by improving their water supply reliability and quality.) Likewise, fishery interests did not support harvest management—a direct hit on their livelihood—but strongly endorsed reducing diversions and improving upstream management to benefit fish popula- tions. Upstream interests did not support upstream man - agement measures, which could cost them land and water, and they supported reducing diversions only if those came at the expense of exporters, not themselves (41 percent of Percentage Upstream management Reduced diversions Flow variability Delta habitat Reduced discharges Invasive control Diversion engineering Hatchery management Harvest management Figure 5. Some stakeholders diverged from scientists on top-priority actions U=upstream F=fshing and recreation G=state and federal governments SOURCE: Hanak et al. (2013). NOTE: See Table 3 for a mapping of individual actions into action groups. X=exporters E=environmental D=Delta Scientists Average of six stakeholder groups 100 90 80 70 60 50 40 30 20 100X D UG E F X DUG E F X D U G E F X D UG E F X D UG EF X D U G E F X D U G E F X D U G E F X D U G E F Stress Relief 18 www.ppic.org upstream stakeholders selected reducing Delta exports as a priority action, versus only 3 percent who chose increas- ing net Delta outflows—a more general action that could reduce upstream diversions). Delta interests were more enthusiastic about reducing other water users’ diversions and less enthusiastic about measures to develop more Delta habitat, which might harm the local economy, even if land- owners are compensated for converted lands. 26 Stakeholders can find support for these disparate views in the information they consult on the Delta. Most stake - holders responding to the survey are actively engaged in Delta issues, consulting media on this topic daily and gov- ernment and scientific materials at least weekly. In recent years some groups—notably exporter interests—have expanded their own scientific efforts on multiple stressor topics. Some of this research has supported the idea that discharges (and consequent reduced food supplies), rather than diversions, are the key culprit (and hence key solu- tion) to native fish declines (Glibert 2010; Miller et al. 2012). In contrast, environmental advocates and fishery interests are most likely to rely on advocacy group publica- tions, which often emphasize the importance of reducing diversions. 27 Given these differences, it is heartening that stakehold- ers often seem willing to consider actions that might be costly to them but beneficial to native species. For instance, more than half of Delta-based respondents chose at least one Delta habitat action, and more than 60 percent of upstream interests and nearly half of Delta-based interests selected at least one discharge-related action. Over 40 per- cent of exporters chose flow variability actions, which could reduce diversions. And many more environmental advocates picked nonflow actions than might have been expected, given the public positions taken by many envi- ronmental groups. Costs of Reconciliation The patterns of stakeholder priorities highlight an impor- tant social consideration in ecosystem management for the Delta: many individual management actions will be costly. Our cost estimates suggest that any comprehensive recon- ciliation package will cost at least several hundred million dollars per year on an ongoing basis. Some highly ranked flow- and discharge-related actions are likely to be par- ticularly expensive (more than $100 million per year each), and the combined costs of habitat improvements could easily exceed this amount as well. In many cases, there has been an expectation that individual groups would bear the costs directly (especially for discharges and flows). Even in areas that are expected to receive some taxpayer support (e.g., habitat, proposed to be covered at least in part by state bond funds), fiscal and social realities will require imple- menting ecosystem management cost effectively. Institutions for a Reconciled Delta Reconciliation ecology offers promise for meeting the co-equal goals of improving ecosystem health while sup- porting the economic activities that depend on Delta land and water. But for this to happen, management institutions must become more effective. And science must become a more reliable and relied-upon basis for shared understand- ing of the Delta’s problems by reducing uncertainties sur- rounding potential management strategies in an ongoing and interactive way. Despite some recent progress, institutional fragmenta- tion is a major obstacle to achieving ecosystem manage- ment goals (National Research Council 2012). Here we propose some modest, yet powerful, changes to better integrate planning and management, regulatory oversight, and science and adaptive management. Further details are in Integrated Management of Delta Stressors: Institutional and Legal Options (Gray et al. 2013). The Fragmentation Challenge A list of key regulatory and management entities highlights the barriers to coherent ecosystem management (Table 4). For each stressor, numerous agencies at different levels of government provide regulatory oversight, and many other agencies and individuals manage the related resources. This fragmentation makes it hard to address individual 19 Stress Relief www.ppic.org stressors effectively and nearly impossible to develop inte- grated approaches that consider interactions among stress- ors at appropriate geographic scales. The consequences of this fragmentation include: Missed opportunities for watershed-based approaches. The federal and state ESAs are governed by two federal agencies (USFWS for most aquatic and terrestrial species and NMFS for ocean-going fish including salmon, steel - head, and sturgeon) and one state agency (DFW). “Inci- dental take authority” and “take permits” (which authorize project managers to kill or harm listed species up to speci - fied numeric limits) are typically issued for individual species on a project-by-project basis. These agencies have made progress in coordinating guidance, and habitat con- servation plans (such as the BDCP) now encourage multi- species approaches. But even with a BDCP permit for water exports, ESA compliance within the watershed will remain fragmented, with many smaller projects by other regulated entities (land users, flood control, water and wastewater utilities) running separate mitigation programs. Oversight gaps. Numerous entities at the federal and state levels have some hand in invasive species prevention and control, but no entity is charged with coordinating these efforts. The lack of comprehensive regulation of some Table 4. The alphabet soup of Delta ecosystem stressor management Stressor regulatory agencies management entities Discharges State: State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB) and Regional Water Quality Control Boards (RWQCBs), Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC), Department of Pesticide Regulation (DPR), county agricultural offices Federal : U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA), U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) Local urban and agricultural dischargers Fish management State : Department of Fish and Wildlife (DFW), Fish and Game Commission (FGC) Federal : U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), Pacific Fisheries Management Council (PFMC) Hatcheries : USFWS, DFW Fish screens: urban and agricultural diverters Harvest : commercial and recreational fishery Flows State: SWRCB, DFW, Central Valley Flood Protection Board (CVFPB) Federal : USACE, USFWS, NMFS, Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) State Water Project (SWP) : Department of Water Resources (DWR) Central Valley Project (CVP) : U.S. Bureau of Reclamation (USBR) Local projects : local urban and agricultural water agencies Delta habitat State: RWQCB/SWRCB, DFW, CVFPB, Delta Stewardship Council (DSC), Delta Protection Commission (DPC) Federal : USACE, USFWS, NMFS Local : cities and counties Flood control: USACE, DWR, and local reclamation districts Land use : land owners Restoration : Delta Conservancy (DC) Upstream habitat State : DFW, RWQCB/SWRCB Federal : USACE, FERC, USFWS, NMFS Local : cities and counties Water diverters : DWR, USBR, and local agricultural and urban water agencies Flood control: USACE, USBR, DWR, CVFPB, and local dam owners, operators, and reclamation districts Land development : land owners Invasive species State : DFW, RWQCB/SWRCB, DPR, Department of Boating and Waterways (DBW), Department of Food and Agriculture (DFA) Federal : USEPA, U.S. Coast Guard (USCG), U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Invasive weed treatment : DBW, local landowners SOURCE: For more details, see Gray et al. (2013). NOTES: This list is not exhaustive. Local governments (cities and counties) must approve any actions that involve land use or construction. Permission of additional state and federal agencies may also be required for some actions (e.g., for historical preservation). Stress Relief 20 www.ppic.org stressors also raises concerns of fairness in regulatory bur- dens across different segments of society. Conflicting mandates. The USACE proposes to remove vegetation on levees in the interests of flood control, whereas the fisheries agencies promote this vegetation to provide shaded habitat along river edges. Costly delays. Many permits and approvals are required to demonstrate that projects are not causing environmen- tal harm. Even projects whose primary intent is to help the environment are encountering obstacles. To restore habitat on a small island in the north Delta—a project on which there is broad agreement—the managers may need to obtain ten permits, consult on ten statutes, and ensure consistency with eight programs, with 18 state, federal, and local agencies. 28 Each approval requires a separate process, which raises costs and increases the odds that agencies will require inconsistent terms for approval. These kinds of roadblocks will be multiplied many times over in the restoration of large acreages of physical habitat in the Delta—a top priority for BDCP and for more than 80 per- cent of scientists in our survey. Less reliable science. Most of the entities listed in Table 4—and many others—are involved in largely sepa- rate scientific activities related to the ecosystem. Although some coordination occurs under the Interagency Ecologi- cal Program (IEP), which unites nine federal and state agencies for monitoring and evaluation related to the take permits for the export projects, integrated approaches to key activities such as large-scale modeling have proven elusive. In its review of multiple stressors, the National Research Council (2012) cited the lack of an integrated approach to science in the Delta as a primary reason for the failure to understand and manage stressors effectively. Lack of a com - mon basis for hypothesis testing has also encouraged the development of parallel efforts by regulated parties. Finally, fragmentation has not only hindered the ability to deal with tradeoffs in ecosystem management (such as those in the levee vegetation example above), it has also made it hard to provide regulatory incentives to manage stressors jointly. Yet joint stressor management is likely to yield sizable environmental benefits and should also reduce overall costs. Building on existing governance structures and manage - ment models, we propose four types of institutional change. Consistent planning. More comprehensive use of consis - tency reviews by the Delta Stewardship Council to deter- mine whether planning efforts relevant for addressing Delta ecosystem stressors are consistent with the state’s overall Delta Plan. Integrated and accountable management. Proactive use of the new Delta Plan Interagency Implementation Com- mittee (DPIIC) to coordinate implementation of agency plans and to integrate multiagency adaptive management. More comprehensive and integrated regulatory over- sight. Additional stressor regulation, reduced duplication, new incentives for joint stressor management, and coordi- nated and expedited permit review through a new office: the Delta Ecosystem Regulatory Coordinator (DERC). Integrated science and adaptive management. Creation of a Delta science joint powers authority (JPA), involving regulators and regulated parties and the Delta Science Program (DSP). Formation of an adaptive management alliance within the DPIIC to link science and management. Water hyacinth has invaded many Delta channels. Many agencies— and none—are responsible for preventing new invasive species. D Epa r t m Ent of Wat Er rES our CES 21 Stress Relief www.ppic.org Most of these changes can be accomplished without new legislation, but they will require new commitments by and interactions among various state, federal, and local agencies, including some pooling of resources. Consistent Planning The Delta Plan is the foundational long-term vision for meeting the state’s co-equal goals for the Delta. The first Delta Plan 29 comprehensively examines the Delta ecosys - tem’s problems and establishes policies to guide the Delta Stewardship Council and the actions of other agencies and individuals. The DSC’s authority to regulate plan implemen - tation is limited: when petitioned to review proposed local actions and state nonregulatory actions within the statutory Delta and Suisun Marsh, the DSC must determine whether these actions are consistent with the Delta Plan (“consistency determinations”). It can deny certification of consistency even if the proposed actions are permitted under other state, federal, or local laws, thereby potentially blocking those actions from being carried out until amended. 30 For all other relevant actions—including state regulatory actions within the Delta, federal actions, and all actions outside the statu - tory Delta—the DSC can provide comments and recom - mendations but has no regulatory authority. The limits on the DSC’s regulatory authority reflect multiple parties’ resistance to additional oversight of their actions. (Indeed, the DSC’s authority within the Delta is causing consternation among local governments there, who object to its oversight of their land-use decisions.) However, there is great value in an expert agency’s assess- ment of whether actions are consistent with the state’s comprehensive planning tool for the Delta ecosystem. The DSC should use its advisory role to provide nonbind- ing “consistency opinions” for plans outside its regulatory purview. Assessments could be initiated by the DSC or requested by outside parties, including planning agen- cies themselves (who may wish to demonstrate that their intended actions are consistent with the overall Delta Plan). These DSC opinions would provide guidance to the agencies themselves, and they would establish an eviden- tiary record for judicial review of the agencies’ actions. 31 Integrated and Accountable Management An underappreciated component of new Delta governance is the Delta Plan Interagency Implementation Committee, also called for under the Delta Reform Act of 2009. Con - vened by the DSC, this committee is charged with coor- dinating implementation of all relevant actions pursuant to the Delta Plan. The DPIIC will consist of the principal state, federal, and local planning and regulatory agencies. It will provide a forum for harmonizing the many plan- ning processes relating to the Delta and the greater water- shed and for devising common implementation strategies. To boost the effectiveness of this forum, the DSC should require that agencies present their near- and long- term plans to help implement the Delta Plan. This will increase the potential for consistent actions and heighten public awareness of the many decisions that affect the Delta ecosystem. This will also make it easier to hold agen- cies accountable for actions and inaction. As discussed below, the DPIIC is also the appropriate forum for coordi- nating adaptive management. Comprehensive and Integrated Regulatory Oversight Regulatory oversight of Delta ecosystem stressors is better today than it was 20 or even 10 years ago. 32 However, there are still significant gaps in the regulation of stressors. Most regulatory efforts focus on Delta exports, point sources of pollution, and commercial fishery harvests. Far less attention has been paid to upstream and in-Delta water diversions, agricultural and urban runoff, invasive species, and physical habitat disturbance, even though legal authority generally exists to address these stressors. Effective and fair ecosystem management requires comprehensive regulatory approaches. Going forward, regulatory bodies must also continue to reduce regulatory duplication and inconsistencies. The DPIIC public coordination process provides opportunities to identify and address these problems. To help inform decisionmakers about the need for action, the DPIIC should issue regular reports about gaps and conflicts in regulatory approaches. Two recent proposals have suggested frameworks for one area particularly worth exploring: the use of regulatory incen - tives to jointly manage stressors. The BDCP is considering Stress Relief 22 www.ppic.org increasing the volume of water exports authorized in response to improvements in physical habitat. And the SWRCB, in its draft water quality control plan for the San Joaquin River, has proposed adjusting the volume of instream flows that upstream water diverters will be required to maintain in response to changing conditions. 33 This would provide incen- tives for water diverters to work with landowners on creating more favorable conditions for aquatic and riparian species. 34 Another priority is to encourage more integrated envi- ronmental permitting. Environmental review and permit - ting processes were instituted to prevent construction and development from causing environmental harm or putting public safety at risk. But the current, fragmented system is often costly and time-consuming and does little to ensure that mitigation actions truly benefit the environment. We propose the creation of a new office—the Delta Ecosystem Regulatory Coordinator (DERC)—to coordinate and expe- dite permitting. The DERC, which could be located within the Office of the Governor or the DSC, would convene the various agencies whose approval is needed for any given action that affects the resources of the Delta ecosystem. Actual permitting decisions would remain vested in the individual agencies, but the DERC would ensure that agen- cies share information, collaborate, establish record sub- mission and hearing schedules that encourage applicants to present integrated analyses and minimize duplication, and make timely decisions. Common Pool Science and Adaptive Management Delta science must push the frontiers of knowledge on effective ecosystem management in ways that enhance its legitimacy in the eyes of the many interests who have a stake in the outcome. Scientific knowledge should inform, not prescribe, policies and decisionmaking—the use of the Delta’s resources will ultimately be decided through politi- cal and legal processes. Instead of serving these needs, Delta science has been used in some of the Delta’s most vigorous disputes and contentious litigation. Low opinions of scientific reliability are unlikely to be changed by fund- ing increases, new programs, and prescriptions for more coordination alone. Although scientific research will never be completely removed from the courtroom, “combat sci- ence” needs to be sidelined in favor of new ways of advanc- ing knowledge and guiding management. Shared Purposes, Resources, and Results: Delta Science JPA Lessons from two successful collaborative science models in Southern and Northern California (see the box) lead us to recommend that science for multiple stressors in the Joint powers authorities: A new model for Delta science Two successful and respected programs working on multiple stressors in California—the Southern California Coastal Water Research Program (SCCWRP) and the San Francisco Estuary Institute (SFEI)—may serve as models for integrated research that garners broad support. The success of these programs stems from their high-quality research and transparency and their involvement of a mix of regulators, regulated parties, and other stakeholders to build consensus on research plans and results. Both programs use JPAs among regulating and regu - lated agencies that allow for efficient oversight and funding of research. SCCWRP was created in 1969 through a JPA between water dischargers and state regulators to conduct research and monitoring focused on the coastal waters and ecosystems of Southern California. SCCWRP monitors wastewater and storm discharge, guides the development of new standards, identi - fies and tests new technology, and develops new approaches to water and ecosystem management. Fourteen commission members represent regulatory and regulated agencies that oversee and fund the program. Stakeholder groups are regu - larly involved in monitoring and research activities. SFEI was established in 1986 as the Aquatic Habitat Institute; it expanded to become SFEI in 1993. This nonprofit conducts monitoring and research on the waters of the San Francisco Bay–Delta and the Central Valley. Although it originally focused on storm and wastewater monitoring and management, SFEI has expanded its efforts to a broad range of multiple stressors and ecosystem restoration. In 2007, SFEI began administering the Aquatic Science Center, a JPA involving the SWRCB and wastewater agencies in the Bay Area. SFEI is overseen by an 11-member board of directors made up of water managers, regulators, stakeholders, and academics. 23 Stress Relief www.ppic.org Delta ecosystem be overseen by a new organization that pools resources, plans jointly, shares data, and fosters con- sensus understanding of scientific results and their impli- cations for management. A joint powers authority (JPA) or similar instrument could bind the primary regulators with the regulated entities. 35 To ensure a broad consensus on scientific results, it may be appropriate to include other key groups in this JPA. The many disparate science and monitoring initiatives— including the IEP—should be overseen by the JPA. The JPA would fund much of the relevant research by outside parties, such as the U.S. Geological Survey, nonprofits, and universities, through contracts and grants. The JPA would not terminate participating agencies’ own scientific studies or their legal obligation to base policy decisions on sound science. Rather, it would tackle the larger, most complex and controversial issues. It would also foster the development of common science plans, system models of operations, hydrodynamics, water quality, ecosystems, and biological life cycles, and facilitate common data standards, storage, and access. And it would become a major source of information for adaptive management programs in the Delta (discussed below). All parties to the Delta JPA must invest in the outcome by contributing funds and/or staff. This creates an incen- tive for parties to resolve differences within the JPA and achieve consensus on means and ends, reducing the likeli- hood of litigation. Under this proposal, the Delta Science Program (DSP) would oversee Delta science for the JPA. Although the Delta Plan prescribes that the DSP serve as the coordinator of sci - ence in the Delta, this program does not currently have the mandate, authority, or budget to take on integration. 36 Adaptive Management: Using Science in Management A framework is also needed to organize ecosystem man - agement efforts and ensure that they both inform and are informed by evolving scientific understanding. This is the essence of the adaptive management idea advanced in so many recent Delta planning processes. Adaptive manage - ment seeks to bring scientific work into the center of man -agement decisions for complex problems that involve uncer - tainty. The original concept envisioned a central scientific group responsible for synthesizing and regularly suggesting promising actions to a management group, which could modify operations accordingly (Hollings 1978). Suggestions would be developed through computer models, pilot stud - ies, and empirical results from field data. Results from each management cycle would improve understanding of the system. In essence, all adaptive management efforts should be hypotheses to be tested, refined, or rejected. Adaptive management is essential to improve the health of the Delta ecosystem, given the changing condi- tions in the ecosystem and the many uncertainties about how effective various management actions may be. (Recall the many experimental actions ranked as high priorities by scientists in our survey and the many “low consensus” actions that still need fleshing out.) But it cannot be carried out effectively by dozens of agencies operating indepen- dently (Walters 2007). To integrate the necessary expertise, resources, and authorities, we suggest that the major par- ties pool their efforts through the DPIIC. Many field-level actions should be coordinated at the subregional level, following the area specialization needed for successful ecosystem reconciliation (Figure 4b). Getting There The proposals outlined here are not radical, but they will be a stretch for many agencies—perhaps most notably for parties to the BDCP, who have proposed parallel science and adaptive management structures tailored to implement a project that is ambitious, but not sufficiently comprehen- sive, to address the many sources of ecosystem stress. A common pool approach to science—which requires that “Combat science” needs to be sidelined in favor of new ways of advancing knowledge and guiding management. Stress Relief 24 www.ppic.org each entity give up some control to make it more useful, reliable, and relied upon—may be a worthwhile and neces- sary tradeoff. Secure and stable resources will be required for the DSC to serve as a coordinating agency, the new DERC to coordinate and expedite permits, and the DSP to manage the new science JPA. More generally, strong institutions will require strong leaders at the helm. Integration will be elusive in some areas. But existing institutions can be man- aged and adapted to become more ecologically successful and cost effective. Building Public Support More integrated and effective enforcement of environmen - tal laws can contribute to a healthier Delta ecosystem, but achieving this goal will also require broad public support. The costs of reconciliation efforts could be several hundred million dollars per year. This amount pales in comparison with the state’s $1.9 trillion economy, or even the $30-plus billion that Californians spend annually on water services and management (Hanak et al. 2012). But many of these costs would be borne by specific stakeholders (both busi- nesses and households), and recent Delta conflicts have been fueled by their cost concerns. As our survey shows, stakeholders are more likely to prioritize actions unrelated to their own uses of Delta resources and to shy away from actions that would be costly for them. However, there is more common ground than is usually assumed. All parties agree that multiple sources of stress—including those related to their own actions—have contributed to the decline in the Delta’s native fish populations, and many prioritize at least some actions that might directly increase their water, wastewater, stormwater, or flood control fees. In addition to the direct costs of more environmentally protective water and land management, a Delta solution will likely require that California voters approve state general obligation bond funds. As part of the 2009 water reform package, the legislature approved a large ($11 billion) water bond for the November 2010 ballot. The bond includes roughly $2 billion for Delta ecosystem investments—a large share of the habitat improvement planned under the BDCP. Weak polling caused the vote to be delayed twice, and the legislature seems likely to revamp (and shrink) the pro- posal before it goes to voters in late 2014. Without a bond financed with general tax dollars, a comprehensive Delta ecosystem solution will require additional fees on those benefiting from the Delta’s water and land resources. 37 Garnering public support for either new fees or new bonds will require clear messages about the benefits. In a recent PPIC opinion poll, a strong majority of Califor- nians (61%) said that they supported more state spending to improve conditions for the state’s native fish species, but support fell to less than half (39%) when the funding source was identified as higher water bills. 38 The case for more funding will be easier to make if policymakers and managers can demonstrate that the money will be spent in an integrated, cost-effective manner to promote the co- equal goals of ecosystem protection and reliable water sup- ply. California also needs a statewide conversation about the value of a reconciled Delta that meets these goals— not just a source of water and land to support our economy, but also a place of natural heritage for current and future generations to appreciate. California needs a statewide conversation about the value of a reconciled Delta— not just a source of water and land to support our economy, but also a place of natural heritage for current and future generations to appreciate. 25 Stress Relief www.ppic.org Notes 1 When discussing this plan, we refer to the final draft, issued in November 2012 (Delta Stewardship Council 2012). 2 When discussing this program, we refer to materials that were made public in 2012 (Bay Delta Conservation Plan 2012). 3 Technically, BDCP must meet the conservation standards of the state’s Natural Communities Conservation Planning Act, which provide for recovery of listed species, and it must other- wise be deemed consistent with the Delta Plan (Gray et al. 2013). For an overview of other related planning processes, see Mount (2011) and Water Education Foundation (2012). 4 See Kahan (2012) for a discussion of this phenomenon as it relates to climate change policy. 5 To check for potential bias, we ran statistical tests to determine whether responses to key survey questions differed along the dimensions on which respondents differed from nonrespondents. In general, we found relatively few statistically significant differ - ences; these are noted in endnotes where relevant (see Hanak et al. 2013, Technical Appendix A, for details). 6 A seventh “other” category (15 respondents) includes a mix of groups too small to analyze separately; those responses are reported along with detailed survey results in Hanak et al. (2 013). 7 The use of expert elicitation is expanding in many fields to address gaps in the scientific literature, particularly where there is uncertainty about priorities for decisionmaking (see Hanak et al. 2013, Technical Appendix A). 8 Ocean-related sources of climate variability include the El Niño–Southern Oscillation and the Pacific Decadal Oscillation, among others. 9 Scientists considered fish management to be more serious for anadromous fish—the focus of many management actions— than for pelagic or resident native fish (Hanak et al. 2013). 10 Similar patterns appeared when respondents were asked to consider how stressors would affect native fishes in the future if management continued as it is today. Upstream and Delta interests were the most optimistic regarding the future impacts of both discharges and habitat alterations, areas where they bear primary responsibility. Similarly, exporters and upstream interests expressed the most optimistic view regarding flows. For all three stressors, scientists do not share this optimism (Hanak et al. 2013). 11 The term was coined in 2003 by Mark Rosenzweig, a Univer - sity of Arizona ecologist, after assessing worldwide declines in biodiversity. 12 The U.S. Congress has also adopted these co-equal goals (Energy and Water Development Appropriations Act of 2012 § 205). The concept of co-equality also appears prominently in the Draft Principles and Regulations for federal water resource projects (Council on Environmental Quality 2009). 13 For example, climate change models suggest that Delta tem- peratures will become increasingly inhospitable to delta smelt if present trends continue (Brown et al. 2013). Several environ- mental laws currently constrain the range of responses to such threats, including the ability to make conservation investment tradeoffs or triage between species for whom extinction in the wild is highly likely and others in less advanced stages of decline (Hanak et al. 2011). 14 For instance, the Sacramento Regional County Sanitation District—the Delta’s main urban point source of ammonium— has been ordered to upgrade its treatment facilities by 2022. Efforts also are under way to reduce farm pesticide discharges, to improve flow regimes upstream of the Delta, and to expand seasonal floodplain habitat in the Yolo Bypass. The National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) has proposed removing two dams on the Yuba River to improve salmon access to upstream habitat. (Some smaller dams have already been removed in upstream tributaries, such as Butte Creek, Battle Creek, and Clear Creek.) 15 There were few distinguishing characteristics of scientists choosing actions with high versus low average impact scores. Leading scientists (those named by their peers as having excep- tional understanding of the Delta’s aquatic ecosystem), those with broader publishing experience across stressor groups, and those with past or present affiliation with the Moyle fish labora - tory at the University of California, Davis, tended to rank most actions as having lower potential (Hanak et al. 2013). However, these characteristics were not generally associated with choices of priority actions, as described below. 16 Much of the Delta is so deeply subsided that re-creation of tidal marsh is impossible in many areas. However, restoration opportunities exist in parts of the Sacramento River and Bypass Habitat Arc shown in Figure 4b. This includes areas within the north Delta, centered on the Cache-Lindsey Slough region, and perhaps in a few other areas, such as the McCormack-Williamson Stress Relief 26 www.ppic.org Tract, and within Suisun Marsh, now managed as a nontidal freshwater or brackish marsh. This marsh is likely to become increasingly saline as sea level rises, so it will bear only superficial resemblance to former Delta marshes, which were principally freshwater (Moyle, Manfree, and Feidler in press). 17 This action would likely include increased seasonal flood flows and perhaps reduced flows in the fall to more closely mimic sea- sonal flow variability that existed before human development of the Delta. However, the alteration of habitat and increasing pres- sures on the system from a warming climate could also make some “unnatural” flow patterns desirable (Moyle et al. 2012). The cost in terms of reduced water diversions for human uses would depend on the specific timing and the ability to recapture these flows after they serve environmental purposes (Medellín-Azuara et al. 2013). 18 This would involve such measures as marking all hatchery fish and changing hatchery locations to reduce commingling of hatchery fish and wild populations during spawning. This strat- egy might be less successful in California, given the challenges of siting replacement hatcheries. 19 Poaching is regarded worldwide as a major problem for sturgeon conservation (Pires and Moreto 2011), and reducing poaching on green and white sturgeon within the Delta could be effective because these fish are slow to reach maturity, live a long time, and have high fecundity. The low impact score for this action likely reflects the view that poaching is not a major issue for other native Delta fishes such as salmon and steelhead. 20 More generally, the correlation between mean impact scores and the share of scientists who picked each action in their top five priorities was very high (0.73). 21 Clustering exercises in which action choices were weighted by their ranks produced one very large cluster favoring the habitat- flow combinations described above (102 scientists) and four very small clusters, generally emphasizing one or more of the less popular areas. No systematic differences appeared in the char- acteristics of these scientists relative to those in the larger group. In addition, there were few significant differences in the char- acteristics of scientists choosing the nine action areas: Leading scientists (see note 5) were less likely to choose diversion engi - neering options and more likely to choose flow variability, Moyle lab affiliates were less likely to choose upstream management actions, those with publications on invasive species were more likely to choose actions in that area, and those with publications on fish management were more likely to favor hatchery manage- ment actions (Hanak et al. 2013, Table C7a). 22 In 2008, a group of exporter interests sued the state Depart- ment of Fish and Game (DFG) (now the Department of Fish and Wildlife), arguing that predation by nonnative striped bass was a major contributor to the decline in salmon populations. In a 2012 settlement, DFG agreed to reduce restrictions on striped bass fishing, but this action was not approved by the state Fish and Game Commission, which regulates hunting and fishing licenses. Most scientists consider that the heavy predation of juvenile salmon moving through the Delta is a symptom of other problems and that increased fishing of predators is unlikely to be very effective in restoring salmon populations (Moyle 2011). 23 The differences reported here are statistically significant at the 90 percent level or higher in two-tailed tests following logit regressions in which action areas are dependent variables, and independent variables are stakeholder group affiliations (Hanak et al. 2013). 24 The correlation coefficient between action choices of the scien- tists and the state-federal government group is highest—between 0.88 and 0.92, depending on how the actions are measured (Hanak et al. 2013). 25 Exporters had the most diverse portfolio of priority action areas (with 73% picking actions in four or five areas, out of a potential of five), and environmental advocates had the least diverse (with only 43% picking four or five action areas). 26 Delta interests’ high score for diversion engineering reflected a preference for reducing entrainment at the export pumps (32%) and screening diversions (18%), not for building a canal or tun- nel (5%) (see Hanak et al. 2013, Table B19). 27 Examples of environmental advocacy publications empha- sizing reduced diversions include Natural Resources Defense Council (2008) and Friends of The River (n.d.). Examples of fish- ing industry positions include Grader (2013) (salmon industry) and Jennings (2011) (sports fishing more generally). 28 For details, see Gray et al. (2013), Table 1. 29 The plan is to be adopted by the DSC in the spring of 2013 and updated every five years. 30 As discussed in Gray et al. (2013), there is some ambiguity in the current statute regarding whether state and local agencies can pursue actions deemed inconsistent with the Delta Plan. The legislature should clarify the DSC’s existing certification authority for these actions. It could explicitly provide that agencies cannot take actions that the DSC has found to be inconsistent with the Delta Plan. Alternatively, it could provide 27 Stress Relief www.ppic.org that all actions must be consistent with the plan but leave it up to the courts to make the ultimate determination. Under this approach, agencies could proceed with actions not certified as consistent, and parties could sue to block such actions as violat- ing the Delta Reform Act. Both approaches are found in other statutory schemes. 31 Because the courts are likely to give significant deference to the council’s expert opinions, agencies may have an incentive to seek the DSC’s opinion on the consistency of their proposed actions with the Delta Plan, even though they would be neither legally obligated to do so nor bound to follow the council’s rec- ommendations. A DSC consistency opinion would help to affirm the agency’s decision. In contrast, an opinion by the council that an action would be inconsistent with the Delta Plan would undermine the agency’s defense of the action in court. 32 The state and regional water boards have begun coordinating the regulation of water quality and flows. The three state and federal fisheries agencies now work jointly on many recom- mendations. USACE and DWR collaborated closely on the latest Central Valley flood plan. FERC is doing more holistic water- shed analysis before permitting hydropower dams. And state and federal pesticide regulators are getting better at providing coherent oversight of different laws related to the use of these products. 33 See State Water Resources Control Board (2012), Appendix K. 34 From an equity standpoint, this is an imperfect solution, because the burden of compliance falls on water diverters, who will have to encourage land users to participate in habitat restoration (even though land users are benefiting from earlier destruction of physical habitat). But it is preferable to simply regulating flows as though other stressors do not exist. 35 Key regulators would include USFWS, NMFS, DFW, USEPA, SWRCB, the Central Valley and San Francisco RWQCBs, USACE, and the DSC. Regulated entity members would include USBR, DWR, CVP and SWP contractors, upstream and in-Delta diverters, representatives of dischargers, and others. Legally, only two entities need to form the JPA; all other members, including federal agencies, can join without being formal signa- tories to the agreement creating the JPA. 36 Moreover, the DSP answers only to the DSC, limiting its relationship to other science programs. 37 Various funding mechanisms could be used, ranging from Delta-specific diversion, discharge, and use fees to statewide water and environmental fees (Hanak et al. 2011). 38 Results are from Baldassare et al. (2012). In regression analy- ses controlling for various factors at once, willingness to pay for additional native fish protection with higher residential water bills increased with education and income and was higher for whites and Latinos than for Asians or African Americans, and higher for renters than owners (who are more likely to directly pay for their water bills). It was also higher for those who con- sider themselves more liberal and more supportive of the idea of paying higher taxes for more government services. Although willingness to pay was not associated with people’s views about whether water supply is a problem in their region, it was lower among residents of two major regions relying on Delta exports— Southern California and especially the San Joaquin Valley. Stress Relief 28 www.ppic.org References Baldassare, M., D. Bonner, S. Petek, and J. Shrestha. 2012. PPIC Statewide Survey: Californian’s and the Future. San Francisco: Public Policy Institute of California. December. 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San Francisco: Public Policy Institute of California. 29 Stress Relief www.ppic.org Lund, J., E. Hanak, W. Fleenor, W. Bennett, R. Howitt, J. Mount, and P. Moyle. 2010. Comparing Futures for the Sacramento– San Joaquin Delta . Berkeley, CA: University of California Press and Public Policy Institute of California. Medellín-Azuara, J., J. Durand, W. Fleenor, E. Hanak, J. Lund, P. Moyle, and C. Phillips. 2013. Costs of Ecosystem Management Actions for the Sacramento–San Joaquin Delta . San Francisco: Public Policy Institute of California. Miller, W. J., B. F. J. Manly, D. D. Murphy, D. Fullerton, and R. R. Ramey. 2012. “An Investigation of Factors Affecting the Decline of Delta Smelt (Hypomesus transpacificus) in the Sacramento–San Joaquin Estuary.” Reviews in Fisheries Science 20: 1–19. Mount, J. 2011. “The Stockholm Syndrome in Water Planning in California.” californiawaterblog.com. September 27. Mount, J., W. Bennett, J. Durand, W. Fleenor, E. Hanak, J. Lund, and P. Moyle. 2012. Aquatic Ecosystem Stressors in the Sacramento– San Joaquin Delta . San Francisco: Public Policy Institute of California. Moyle, P. 2011. “Striped Bass Control: The Cure Worse Than the Disease?” californiawaterblog.com. January 31. Moyle, P. B., R. D. Baxter, T. Sommer, T. C. Foin, and S. A. Matern. 2004. “Biology and Population Dynamics of Sacramento Splittail ( Pogonichthys macrolepidotus ) in the San Francisco Estuary: A Re v ie w.” San Francisco Estuary and Watershed Science 2(2): 1–47. Moyle, P. B., and W. A. Bennett. 2008. “The Future of the Delta Ecosystem and Its Fish.” Technical Appendix D, Comparing Futures for the Sacramento–San Joaquin Delta . San Francisco: Public Policy Institute of California. Moyle, P. B., W. A. Bennett, W. E. Fleenor, and J. R. Lund. 2010. “Habitat Variability and Complexity in the Upper San Francisco E s t u a r y.” San Francisco Estuary and Watershed Science 8 (3): 1–2 4 . Moyle, P. B. , W. Bennett, J. Durand, W. Fleenor, B. Gray, E. Hanak, J. Lund, and J. Mount. 2012. Where the Wild Things Aren’t: Making the Delta a Better Place for Native Species . San Francisco: Public Policy Institute of California. Moyle, P. B., R. M. Quiñones, and J. D. Kiernan. 2012. “Projected Effects of Future Climates on Freshwater Fishes of California.” California Energy Commission, California Climate Change Center, White Paper CEC-500-2012-028. Moyle, P. B., A. Manfree, and P. L. Fiedler, eds. In press. Suisun: Ecology and Future of California’s Largest Tidal Marsh . Berkeley: UC Press. National Research Council. 2012. Sustainable Water and Environmental Management in the California Bay-Delta . Wa s h- ington, DC: National Academies Press. Natural Resource Defense Council. 2008. “Fish Out of Water.” Available at w w w.nrdc.org/water/conservation/salmon/salmon.pdf. Pires, S. F. and W. D. Moreto. 2011. “Preventing Wildlife Crimes: Solutions That Can Overcome the ‘Tragedy of the Commons.’” European Journal on Criminal Policy and Research 17:101–123. Sommer, T. R., W. C. Harrell, M. Nobriga, R. Brown, P. B. Moyle, W. J. Kimmerer, and L. Schemel. 2001. “California’s Yolo Bypass: Evidence That Flood Control Can Be Compatible with Fish, Wetlands, Wildlife and Agriculture.” Fisheries 58(2): 325–333. State Water Resources Control Board. 2012. “Substitute Envi- ronmental Document in Support of Potential Changes to the Water Quality Control Plan for the Bay-Delta: San Joaquin River Flows and Southern Delta Water Quality” (public draft). Sacramento, CA. Available at www.swrcb.ca.gov/waterrights /water_issues/programs/bay_delta/bay_delta_plan/water _quality_control_planning/2012 _sed/. Walters, C. 2007. “Is Adaptive Management Helping to Solve Fisheries Problems?” Ambio 36(4): 304–307. Water Education Foundation. 2012. Available at w w w.aquafornia .com/wp-content/uploads/2012/07/DeltaOrganizationChart1.pdf. Whipple, A., R. M. Grossinger, D. Rankin, B. Stanford, and R. Askevold. 2012. Sacramento–San Joaquin Delta Historical Ecology Investigation: Exploring Pattern and Process . Richmond, CA: San Francisco Estuary Institute. Williams, J. G. 2006. “Central Valley Salmon: A Perspective on Chinook and Steelhead in the Central Valley of California.” San Francisco Estuary and Watershed Science 4 (3). Stress Relief 30 www.ppic.org About the Authors John Durand is a researcher and doctoral candidate in ecology at the University of California, Davis. William Fleenor is a research engineer in the Civil and Environmental Engineering Department at UC Davis. Brian Gray is a professor of law at the UC Hastings College of Law, San Francisco. Ellen Hanak is a senior fellow and co-director of research at the Public Policy Institute of California. Jay Lund is the Ray B. Krone Professor of Environmental Engineering and director of the Center for Watershed Sciences at UC Davis. Josué Medellín-Azuara is a research scientist at the Center for Watershed Sciences at UC Davis. Jeffrey Mount is a professor emeritus in the Geology Department at UC Davis and a partner in Saracino & Mount, LLC. Peter Moyle is a professor of fish biology in the Department of Wildlife, Fish, and Conservation Biology at UC Davis and associate director of the UC Davis Center for Watershed Sciences. Caitrin Phillips is a research associate at the Public Policy Institute of California. Barton “Buzz” Thompson is the Robert E. Paradise Professor in Natural Resources Law at Stanford Law School and the Perry L. McCarty Director of the Woods Institute for the Environment at Stanford University. Acknowledgments Many people have provided invaluable support to this study, by participating in small brain- storming workshops, completing our formal surveys, responding to requests for information, and reviewing draft reports. We particularly wish to thank the reviewers of this synthesis report and the five detailed reports on which it is based: Celeste Cantú, Cliff Dahm, Greg Gartrell, Ryken Grattet, Joe Grindstaff, Robin Grossinger, Tom Hagler, Bruce Herbold, Ray Hoagland, Mimi Jenkins, Mark Lubell, Dean Misczynski, Tim Quinn, Richard Roos-Collins, Anthony Saracino, Andy Sawyer, Lester Snow, Jan Thompson, Alison Whipple, Terry Young, and one reviewer who wished to remain anonymous. We also thank Patricia Bedrosian, Mary Severance, and Lynette Ubois for editorial advice and Janice Fong for developing the maps. We gratefully acknowledge The Riordan Founda- tion for their support of Caitrin Phillips during her time as a 2012 PPIC summer intern. We alone are responsible for any remaining errors or omissions. www.ppic.org Board of Directors GARY K . H ART, CHAIRFormer State Senator and Secretary of Education State of California MARK BALDASSAREPresident and CEO Public Policy Institute of California RUBEN BARRALESPresident and CEO GROW Elect MAR í A BLANCOVice President, Civic Engagement California Community Foundation BRIGITTE BRENAttorney ROBERT M. HERTzBERGPartner Mayer Brown, LLP W A LT E R B. HEWLETTChair, Board of Directors William and Flora Hewlett Foundation DONNA LUCASChief Executive Officer Lucas Public Affairs M AS MASUMOTOAuthor and farmer STEVEN A. MERKSAMERSenior Partner Nielsen, Merksamer, Parrinello, Gross & Leoni, LLP KIM POLESEChairman ClearStreet, Inc. THOMAS C. SUT TONRetired Chairman and CEO Pacific Life Insurance Company PPIC is a private operating foundation. It does not take or support positions on any ballot measures or on any local, state, or federal legislation, nor does it endorse, support, or oppose any political parties or candidates for public office. PPIC was established in 1994 with an endowment from William R. Hewlett. © 2013 Public Policy Institute of California. All rights reserved. San Francisco, CA Short sections of text, not to exceed three paragraphs, may be quoted without written permission provided that full attribution is given to the source and the above copyright notice is included. Research publications reflect the views of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the staff, officers, or Board of Directors of the Public Policy Institute of California. Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data are available for this publication. I S B N 978 -1-5 8213 -153 -5 PUBLIC POLICY INSTITUTE OF CALIFORNIA 500 Washington Street, Suite 600 San Francisco, California 94111 Telephone 415.291.4400 Fa x 415 . 2 91. 4 4 01 PPIC S ACRAMENTO CENTER Senator Office Building 1121 L Street, Suite 801 Sacramento, California 95814 Telephone 916.440.1120 Fax 916.440.1121 Additional resources related to water policy are available at www.ppic.org. The Public Policy Institute of California is dedicated to informing and improving public policy in California through independent, objective, nonpartisan research." } ["___content":protected]=> string(104) "

R 413EH2R

" ["_permalink":protected]=> string(103) "https://www.ppic.org/publication/stress-relief-prescriptions-for-a-healthier-delta-ecosystem/r_413eh2r/" ["_next":protected]=> array(0) { } ["_prev":protected]=> array(0) { } ["_css_class":protected]=> NULL ["id"]=> int(8865) ["ID"]=> int(8865) ["post_author"]=> string(1) "1" ["post_content"]=> string(0) "" ["post_date"]=> string(19) "2017-05-20 02:41:34" ["post_excerpt"]=> string(0) "" ["post_parent"]=> int(4273) ["post_status"]=> string(7) "inherit" ["post_title"]=> string(9) "R 413EH2R" ["post_type"]=> string(10) "attachment" ["slug"]=> string(9) "r_413eh2r" ["__type":protected]=> NULL ["_wp_attached_file"]=> string(13) "R_413EH2R.pdf" ["wpmf_size"]=> string(8) "10188771" ["wpmf_filetype"]=> string(3) "pdf" ["wpmf_order"]=> string(1) "0" ["searchwp_content"]=> string(119922) "www.ppic.org Stress Relief Prescriptions for a Healthier Delta Ecosystem A p r i l 2 013 Ellen Hanak • Jay Lund • John Durand • William Fleenor Brian Gray • Josué Medellín-Azuara • Jeffrey Mount Peter Moyle • Caitrin Phillips • Barton “Buzz” Thompson with research support from Elizabeth Stryjewski Supported with funding from the S. D. Bechtel, Jr. Foundation Summary A century and a half of human uses of the Sacramento–San Joaquin Delta and its greater watershed have transformed the aquatic ecosystem, sharply reducing native fish popula- tions. Efforts to reverse these declines have been largely unsuccessful, and the rising costs of regulation have fueled social conflicts. These conflicts have often played out in the court - room, where scientific uncertainty has been used to undermine the legitimacy of Delta science. The state is at a critical juncture on Delta policy. Implementation of the first “Delta Plan”— the foundational plan for meeting the “co-equal goals” of ecosystem health and water supply reliability called for in the Delta Reform Act of 2009—is to begin in 2013. Decisions are also expected on the Bay Delta Conservation Plan (BDCP), which is intended to improve conditions for native species while facilitating continued water exports from the Delta under the federal and state Endangered Species Acts. These and related efforts offer significant promise. But Cali - fornia still faces an uphill battle to incorporate science effectively in decisionmaking and make judicious management choices within a highly fragmented and adversarial institutional struc - ture, involving dozens of federal, state, and local entities. This report summarizes the results of a wide-ranging study examining steps California can take to improve the health of the Delta ecosystem through science-based, integrated manage - ment of the many sources of ecosystem stress. Our key findings: 1. “Reconciliation ecology” offers a realistic approach to managing the Delta’s highly altered ecosystem and meeting the co-equal goals. Reconciliation seeks to improve ecosystem Car Son J Effr ES Stress Relief 2 www.ppic.org processes to support desirable species while acknowledging that humans will continue to rely on the region’s land and water resources. This approach would restore natural pro - cesses wherever possible (particularly favorable flows and habitat) and use infrastructure and technology (such as hatcheries) to support native species. Because some parts of the Delta are unlikely to support native species, area specialization is essential. Both the Delta Plan and BDCP contain elements of a reconciliation approach. 2. The reconciliation process needs to be guided by science and broadly supported by Cali - fornians. We surveyed the scientific community and engaged policymakers and stake - holders to gauge their current views. Scientists favor reconciliation strategies: strong majorities emphasized flow and habitat actions in and upstream of the Delta that would restore more natural processes. Stakeholders and policymakers generally agree with sci - entists on high-priority solutions. However, stakeholders were more likely to prioritize actions in areas unrelated to their own uses of the Delta and shy away from actions that would be costly for them. 3. A modest but powerful set of changes to existing institutional structures can help achieve better environmental outcomes while containing costs, which are likely to exceed several hundred million dollars annually: Consistent planning. Comprehensive reviews of the numerous related planning efforts to determine their compatibility with the state’s overall Delta Plan. Integrated and accountable management. Proactive use of the new Delta Plan Inter - agency Implementation Committee to coordinate implementation of work plans, hold agencies accountable, and integrate adaptive management. More comprehensive and integrated regulation. Regulatory coverage of more stress- ors, reduced duplication, and expedited environmental permitting (currently a costly obstacle to ecosystem reconciliation). Common pool science. Creation of a Delta science joint powers authority involving reg - ulators and regulated parties that would foster shared understanding, build knowledge, and inform adaptive management efforts. With this game plan for a more environmentally effective, fiscally responsible approach, policy- makers can make a stronger case to stakeholders and the broader public for the necessary financial support. Please visit the report’s publication page to find related resources: www.ppic.org/main/publication.asp?i=1051 3 Stress Relief www.ppic.org Introduction In times of stress, be bold and valiant. —Horace The Problem Th e most vexing area of California water policy is the Sacramento–San Joaquin Delta, a network of mostly manmade islands and channels at the confl uence of the Sacramento and San Joaquin Rivers. Together with the San Francisco Bay, the Delta forms the largest estuary on the Pacifi c Coast of the Americas. It is the terminus of Cali- fornia’s largest watershed and a major source of the state’s water supply. It is also a valued ecological resource. Human actions since the arrival of European settlers in the mid-1800s have severely disrupted conditions for native species, and especially fi sh, in the Delta itself and in upstream areas within the greater Sacramento and San Joaquin River watershed. • More than 95 percent of the Delta’s original 700,000 acres of tidal wetlands have been replaced by rock- rimmed agricultural islands, many of which lie well below sea level (Whipple et al. 2012). • Water fl ows into and through the Delta have been pro- foundly altered from their natural, seasonally variable patterns by infrastructure built for water supply and fl ood control, including upstream dams and diversions and large export pumps in the south Delta. From 1995 to 2005, upstream diversions removed an average of 38 percent of annual runoff in the greater watershed (46.6 million acre-feet), and in-Delta and export diver- sions removed another 14 percent (Lund et al. 2007). Most of California’s residents and irrigated farmland rely at least in part on water from this watershed (Figure 1). • Wastewater and runoff from roughly 1.7 million house- holds and 4 million acres of farmland within the Sacra- mento and San Joaquin River regions and the Delta itself have polluted the fl ows remaining in the system, degrad- ing water quality. • Upstream dams have cut off most natural salmon and steelhead spawning areas, and levees have shrunk the availability of riparian and seasonal fl oodplain habitat. Hatcheries, established to maintain salmon and steel- head fi sheries aft er dams were built, have unintentionally harmed wild populations of these fi sh (Williams 2006; Lindley et al. 2009; Carlson and Satterthwaite 2011). • Alien species have been introduced intentionally for fi shing or through ship ballast water, aquarium releases, and ponds and nurseries, making the San Francisco Bay–Delta one of the most invaded estuaries in the world (Cohen and Carlton 1998). Some aliens thrive in this highly altered ecosystem, competing with natives for food, preying upon them, and degrading their habitat. Th e causes of the Delta’s aquatic ecosystem declines are many, and virtually all Californians bear some respon- sibility, as land and water users, consumers of local fi sh, and purchasers of imported goods that arrive in California by ship (Figure 1). Th e past three decades have seen numerous rebalanc- ing eff orts to improve the health of the Delta’s aquatic North Coast SacramentoRiver San JoaquinRiver Tulare Lake South Lahontan North Lahontan San Francisco Bay ColoradoRiver Central Coast South Coast 0 mi 50100 150 0 km80160 240 N Upstream diverters, drainage, and habitat Legal Delta and Suisun Marsh Out-of-basin diverters Of-shore commercial and recreational fshing Hydrologic regions Figure 1. Almost all Californians use Delta resources and share responsibility for its ecosystem woes NOTES: Out-of-basin diverters include those receiving Delta exports as well as parts of the San Francisco Bay and Tulare Lake hydrologic regions receiving water from the Mokelumne, Tuolumne, and San Joaquin Rivers. Some water users in the San Joaquin River hydrologic region also receive Delta exports. Stress Relief 4 www.ppic.org ecosystem and especially its imperiled native fish spe- cies, many of which are now listed under federal and state Endangered Species Acts (ESA). (See the text box for our definition of a “healthy ecosystem.”) Scientific research has helped improve understanding of how the ecosystem works and what native species need to thrive. Mitigation actions have been launched to address many sources of ecosystem stress, including improvements in upstream habitat (e.g., removal of small dams, screening diversions, replacing gravel in spawning areas), changes in flow management (with particular focus on flow seasonality and export vol- umes), and new water quality regulations. And California has attempted to address the highly fragmented nature of resource management—which involves dozens of federal and state agencies and hundreds of local governments, water and wastewater utilities, and flood districts. Stake- holder involvement has been a hallmark of these efforts, with groups representing a wide range of interests partici- pating in public processes (Lund et al. 2007; Layzer 2008). The two most recent high-profile efforts at greater coor - dination are the Delta Plan and the Bay Delta Conservation Plan (BDCP). The Delta Plan is the state’s foundational long- term (100-year) planning tool for meeting the “co-equal goals” of water supply reliability and ecosystem health established by the Delta Reform Act of 2009 (Cal. Water Code § 85054). It is scheduled to be adopted in the spring of 2013. 1 Responsibility for its development and implemen- tation lies with the Delta Stewardship Council—a new state agency created by this same legislation. The BDCP has been under development since 2006 and is scheduled for public review in 2013. It would provide both broader envi- ronmental protection for the Delta’s endangered species and a more reliable framework for water exports under the terms of both federal and state ESAs. 2 The BDCP is large— potentially involving multibillion-dollar investments in Delta habitat restoration and new water conveyance infrastructure—but more narrowly focused than the Delta Plan. If deemed sufficiently protective of native species, BDCP will be incorporated into the Delta Plan, as will other plans related to Delta management (e.g., water qual- ity and flows, flood protection) and the conduct of science. 3 These efforts offer significant promise but also face scientific, political, and institutional hurdles. The scien- tific and political hurdles are closely linked. Decision- makers view science as the basis for policy changes, but science itself has become a major source of conflict. Although scientific understanding of the ecosystem has vastly improved, the Delta’s complexity makes uncertainty inevitable. Also, as native fish populations have continued to decline, regulations intended to reverse these trends have become increasingly costly for the affected parties. Scientific uncertainty—and the inability of the scientific community to communicate effectively about what is and is not known—is frustrating, and decisionmakers often blame science as unreliable. Uncertainty has also become a rationale for resisting mitigation actions, both in regulatory forums and in the courtroom. 4 When parties engaged in coordinated planning processes are likely to meet as legal adversaries, science takes on a “combat” role—where legal defensibility, rather than improved understanding, becomes Ecosystem health: subjective but meaningful Ecologists are often uncomfortable with using the terms “healthy” or “unhealthy” to describe ecosystems. Health is defined according to human perceptions and values—the World Health Organization defines it as complete physical, mental, and social well-being of an individual or a group of individuals. This translates poorly to the food webs, species, and physical and chemical processes that make up eco- systems. Indeed, some argue that the Delta’s ecosystem, which now resembles a lake in southern Arkansas, is perfectly healthy for today’s mix of nonnative species. Yet, the term ecosystem health is widely used in policy discussions about the Delta. With apologies to ecologists, we define a healthy ecosystem as one with environmental and ecological condi- tions that sustain ecosystem functions or services valuable to society, including stable populations of desirable plants and animals (both native and nonnative), flood hazard reduction, and high-quality water for drinking, irrigation, and recreation. We focus on the objective of improving conditions for native fish—widely considered among the priority species society is seeking to maintain in this ecosystem. 5 Stress Relief www.ppic.org a driver, and all sides develop their own sources of exper- tise and make selective use of facts and analyses. These kinds of disagreements have been debilitating for policy discussions about the causes of native species declines and effective solutions (National Research Council 2012). Another key hurdle is institutional fragmentation, which affects both Delta policy and science. Despite some impor - tant achievements in interagency coordination, fragmented approaches to planning, regulation, and management still threaten California’s ability to manage the Delta ecosystem effectively (and cost effectively). “Stovepipes” and “silos” within and across agencies working on different aspects of a prob - lem or on different stressors lead to piecemeal approaches. The consequences include inconsistent regulations, costly delays, missed opportunities, and, perhaps most important, an inability to make reasoned and balanced tradeoffs. No policy or management package is likely to reverse the declines in native species without a more organized, science- driven approach to Delta problem solving. This will require more integrated monitoring and scientific analysis, adequate and sustainable funding, and truly integrated management across agencies and interests that often operate at cross-purposes. Goals of This Report This report summarizes the results of a study on how Californians can improve the health of the Delta’s aquatic ecosystem through integrated management of the many sources of ecosystem stress. We focus on maintaining native biodiversity—an important social goal in its own right and a key to sustaining the many economic activities that rely on the water and land resources of the Delta’s watershed. We draw together information from scientific, economic, insti - tutional, and legal perspectives on the origins of the Delta ecosystem’s problems, the efficacy of proposed solutions, and strategies for improved science and management. We reviewed relevant scientific, legal, and policy literature and benefitted from extensive input from scientists, policymak - ers, and stakeholders engaged in Delta science and policy. We also conducted two confidential surveys in the summer of 2012. The first sought input from scientific experts—researchers who have authored peer-reviewed scientific journal articles on the Delta ecosystem—on the impact of ecosystem stressors on native fish species and the biological potential of a suite of management actions proposed to address these stressors. The second survey posed a subset of these questions to engaged stakeholders and policymakers—participants in the Delta Plan or BDCP process or senior officials of key state regulatory agencies. We received responses from 122 scientists (41% of those contacted). 5 Slightly more than half of these scientists work for universities, roughly a third for federal and state agencies, and the remainder for advocacy organizations, local agencies, and consulting firms. We received responses from 240 stake - holders and policymakers (31%). We assign these respondents (often referred to below as “stakeholders”) into six groups: 6 Delta-based interests (38 respondents): representatives of local governments, water agencies, advocacy groups, and other engaged residents; Environmental advocates (56 respondents): employees and members of environmental organizations; Export interests (22 respondents): primarily representa- tives of water agencies outside the watershed that depend on Delta exports; Fishing and other water-based recreation interests (14 respondents): principally representatives of recreational fishing within the watershed but also several representa- tives from the salmon and crab industries; Upstream interests (39 respondents): representatives of agencies that divert water upstream of the Delta or dis- charge pollutants into the watershed; and Federal and state officials (56 respondents): employees of regulatory and management agencies active in the Delta. No policy or management package is likely to reverse the declines in native species without a more organized, science-driven approach to Delta problem solving. Stress Relief 6 www.ppic.org The survey of scientists helps synthesize the current scientific understanding of stressor impacts and mitigating actions, highlighting areas of higher and lower consensus. Seeking expert views is particularly valuable for the Delta, given the incomplete guidance from the scientific litera- ture on forward-looking, ecosystem-based management (National Research Council 2012). 7 The stakeholder survey makes it possible to identify areas of agreement and diver- gence between scientific researchers and stakeholders and among different stakeholder groups. Our surveys aim to provide useful insights into the challenges and opportuni- ties in Delta ecosystem planning and policymaking and to help inform the design of a Delta science effort that better supports the societal goal of ecosystem health. In the following sections, we draw on this diverse set of analyses to answer the following questions: How did we get here? How do scientists, government officials, and stakeholders view the causes of the current condition of the Delta’s native fish species? Where might we go? What is a realistic future for a more native-fish-friendly Delta ecosystem, given limitations imposed by the landscape, water availability, climate change, and the ecological needs of native species? What are the most promising ways to get there? How do a wide range of ecosystem management actions compare in terms of likely biological effectiveness (as assessed by scien- tific experts) and other societal considerations (economic and financial costs and perceptions of various stakeholder g roups)? How can our institutions become more suited to the task? What are options for more integrated science, man- agement, and regulatory oversight? We conclude with some reflections on how to build public support for tackling this complex challenge. The Role of Ecosystem Stressors There is broad scientific agreement that undesirable changes to the Delta ecosystem are caused by a wide range of stress - ors (National Research Council 2012; Delta Independent Science Board 2011). We have grouped these stressors into five categories, all linked to human activity within the Delta and the greater watershed (Mount et al. 2012): Discharges. Land and water use activities that directly alter water quality in the greater Delta watershed by discharging contaminants that pollute the water, degrade habitat, disrupt food webs, or cause direct harm to native species. This category includes point and nonpoint sources of conventional pollutants, nutrients (e.g., from fertilizers), “emerging contaminants,” such as endocrine disruptors (e.g., from personal care products and pharmaceuticals), legacy pollutants from mining and waterfront activities, and other forms of water pollution. Fish management. Policies and activities that can adversely affect populations of native species, such as commercial and sport harvest, poaching, and outdated hatchery practices. This research has generated several reports: Aquatic Ecosystem Stressors in the Sacramento–San Joaquin Delta (Mount et al. 2012) summarizes the science of Delta ecosystem stressors for a policymaking audience. Available at www.ppic.org/main/publication.asp?i=1024 Where the Wild Things Aren’t: Making the Delta a Better Place for Native Species (Moyle et al. 2012) describes a realistic long-term vision for achieving a healthier ecosystem. Available at www. ppic.org/main/publication.asp?i=1025 Integrated Management of Delta Stressors: Institutional and Legal Options (Gray et al. 2013) lays out our proposals for institutional reform of science, management, and regulation. Available at www.ppic.org/main/publication.asp?i=1054 Scientist and Stakeholder Views on the Delta Ecosystem (Hanak et al. 2013) presents more results from our two surveys. Available at www.ppic.org/main/publication.asp?i=1053 Costs of Ecosystem Management Actions for the Sacramento– San Joaquin Delta (Medellín-Azuara et al. 2013) assesses costs of the management actions discussed here. Available at www. ppic.org/main/publication.asp?i=1052 7 Stress Relief www.ppic.org Flow regime change. Alterations in flow characteristics from water management facilities and operations, including volume, timing, hydraulics, sediment load, and tempera- tures. This category includes upstream dams and diversions throughout the greater Delta watershed, in-Delta diver- sions, and exports. Invasive species. Alien plants or animals that harm or dis - place native species by disrupting food webs, altering ecosys - tem functions, introducing disease, or increasing predation. Physical habitat alteration. Land use activities that alter or eliminate physical habitat that supports native species, including upland, floodplain, riparian, open water/channel, and tidal marsh. This category includes levees, channeliza- tion, diking and draining of wetlands, dams, dredging for ship channels, and the narrowing or reduction of riparian zones, shallows, and tidal and fluvial marshes. Two external sources of stress will interact with local stressors and influence the feasibility of management actions. Variability in ocean conditions directly affects native fishes that migrate through the Delta (salmon, steelhead, and sturgeon), as well as the regional climate and weather. 8 And climate change will affect the ecosystem through warmer temperatures, accelerated sea level rise, and changing runoff patterns. Approaching complex stressors in a simplified way allows for a broad analysis of the causes of ecosystem stress and aids strategic thinking about mitigation strategies. Which Stressors Are Most Important? Few scientists are comfortable ranking stressors in order of their responsibility for the decline of the Delta’s native spe - cies, given their significant and often complex interactions (National Resource Council 2012). For example, levees reduce seasonal floodplain habitat from high winter and spring flows, which reduces spawning and rearing areas for many native fish. Likewise, upstream water diversions can intensify effects from agricultural and urban discharges, altering food webs and ecosystems in ways that favor invasive species. Although the scientific community often emphasizes the complexity of the problem, recent public policy debates often oversimplify it—with various stakeholder groups focusing exclusively on one stressor or another. Given this disconnect between scientific and public discourse, it is useful to see how various groups viewed ecosystem stressor roles in our confidential surveys. Figure 2 shows respondents’ views of the importance of each of the five categories of stressors in the decline of native fish species. The pairs of bars compare the views of scientists (green) and the average view across all six stakeholder groups, with each group weighted equally (yellow); the average responses for each stakeholder group are indicated by one-letter abbreviations. Despite often-heated public exchanges, both the scientists and representatives of stakeholder groups gener - ally agree that all five stressor categories have contributed to the decline of the Delta’s native fish. Most respondents believe that all stressor categories have had at least a mod- erately negative influence, and almost no one considers any category completely unimportant. This broad acceptance Moderate impact Low impact High impact No impact Invasives Flows Fish management Discharges Habitat Figure 2. Scientists and stakeholders tend to agree on stressor impacts U=upstream F=fshing and recreation G=state and federal governments SOURCE: Hanak et al. (2013). NOTES: The fgure reports mean responses to the instruction: “Please indicate the level of impact you believe each stressor group has had on the historical decline of the Delta’s native fshes.” Categorical responses were coded as “no impact” (0), “low impact” (1), “moderate impact” (2), and “high impact” (3). For the scientists, this shows the average of responses to separate questions for three types of Delta fshes (pelagic, anadromous, and native resident). Among scientists, “don’t know” rates were highest for discharges (15%) and direct fsh management (12%), followed by invasive species (5%), habitat (2%), and fow regime (1%). For stakeholders, “don’t know” rates were lower: fsh management (9%), discharges (3%), invasives (3%), habitat (1%), and fows (0%). X=exporters E=environmental D=Delta Scientists Average of six stakeholder groups X D U G E F X D U G E F X D U G E F X D U G E F X D UG E F Stress Relief 8 www.ppic.org suggests the potential for a more constructive public dis- course on Delta policy.The groups diverged somewhat in their emphasis, how- ever. A strong majority of scientists considered flows and habitat to be high-impact stressors, and most stakeholders agreed. The exceptions were groups benefiting most from actions causing ecosystem stress. Delta residents, who live and work in the highly altered landscape of today’s Delta, were least likely to rank habitat alteration as a serious problem. Similarly, exporters and upstream interests, who benefit daily from water diversions, tended to view flows less negatively. Scientists generally ascribed a more mod- erate role to the three other stressor groups (discharges, fish management, invasives). 9 This was also the case with stakeholders on average, though here again the views of individual groups reflected their economic interests. Delta and upstream interests, who discharge pollutants into the watershed, gave discharges the lowest score, whereas exporters, located outside the watershed, scored them the highest. The divergence widened when respondents identi- fied the top-two stressor categories (Figure 3). This illus- trates the difficulties in using science to help guide policy- making for the Delta ecosystem. 10 A Realistic Vision for the Delta Ecosystem Although assessments of the relative contributions of stressors may differ, it is hard to deny that the present-day Delta ecosystem bears only a superficial resemblance to the ecosystem of 25 years ago, not to mention the ecosystem of 50, 100, 150, and 250 years ago (Moyle and Bennett 2008; Whipple et al. 2012). Few of the changes to the ecosystem have been intentional. Rather, hundreds of actions over time to facilitate growth in California’s human population and its economy have had unintended effects. Thanks to greater scientific understanding of ecological and human systems, Californians now know that social and economic choices lead to ecological change. In making such choices, policymakers and stakeholders must have ecological goals more firmly in mind. Otherwise, the Delta ecosystem will continue to change willy-nilly in ways that are bound to be progressively worse for its native species—and probably also for humans. The Harsh Realities Effective policies must be based on an acknowledgment that it is not possible to “undo” the damage caused by past actions: The structure and functions of the Delta ecosystem have changed dramatically and will continue to change, regardless of future policy decisions. For instance, many deeply subsided Delta islands are bound to flood perma - nently at some point, creating habitat unlike anything exist - ing there before. New invasive species will keep arriving, driving further changes. Numerous human-caused and natural constraints limit management options. Human-caused constraints include widespread land subsidence, local urbanization, water scarcity, Percentage Invasives Flows Fish management Discharges Habitat Figure 3. Views difered widely on which two stressors are most important U=upstream F=fshing and recreation G=state and federal governments SOURCE: Hanak et al. (2013). NOTES: The fgure reports the share of each group that selected stressor categories in response to the question: “Considering interactions among diferent types of stressors, which two stressor groups have contributed most to the decline in the Delta ecosystem’s overall ability to support native species?” “Don’t know” response rates were as follows: state and federal ofcials (4%), scientists (2%), and no one in the other groups shown X=exporters E=environmental D=Delta Scientists Average of six stakeholder groups 100 90 80 70 60 50 40 30 20 100 X D U G E F X D U G EF X D U G E F X D U G EF X D UG E F 9 Stress Relief www.ppic.org and invasive species. Sediment availability and tidal energy also limit management actions. The current ecosystem is novel in its species composition and many of its physical features. The Delta is now home to a mix of native species and alien species from all over the world, and they interact in ways that are not always well understood. Some alien species (e.g., overbite clam, Brazilian waterweed, inland silverside fish) are clearly making the ecosystem less favorable for native species, whereas others have more positive effects (e.g., alien cray- fish are now a major food for river otters). Ecological improvement will require reducing physical and behavioral stresses on fish and other organisms, both within and upstream of the Delta. This will require tackling multiple sources of stress to better support eco- logical functions in the system. Climate warming and sea level rise are steadily chang- ing environmental conditions for individual species and entire biological communities. Managers can compensate for these changes to some extent (e.g., through better man- agement of cold-water pools in reservoirs), but the effec- tiveness of most actions will reach a limit within 100 years without successful global efforts to slow the pace of climate change (Moyle, Quiñones, and Kiernan 2012). These realities are sobering, but with sufficient political and institutional will, Californians can direct and adapt to inevitable ecological changes. To do this, Californians need a vision of what a desirable future Delta ecosystem should look like, what services they want it to provide, and what species it should support (“desirable” species). Otherwise, large sums of money are likely to be spent on measures that do little good for native fishes and the ecological functions that support them, such as massive levees to protect low-value land, additional and bigger dams, piecemeal mitigations for water diversions, and increased floodplain development. A Hopeful Vision: Reconciliation Ecology “Reconciliation ecology” offers a realistic but hopeful way to envision the future. 11 Reconciliation ecology recognizes that since humans are major players in all of the world’s ecosys - tems, the conservation of biodiversity must occur within human-dominated systems. But reconciled ecosystems can have the look, feel, and function of natural systems— especially in terms of services provided—and these ecosys- tems can be managed to favor some organisms over others. The idea of a reconciled Delta ecosystem fits well with the co-equal goals of water supply reliability and ecosystem health established by the Delta Reform Act of 2009 and by feder a l law. 12 Reconciliation requires functional integration of the co-equal goals, accounting for interactions among stressors and the many beneficial uses that depend on the waters and lands that constitute the ecosystem. Likewise, reconciliation is compatible with state and federal ESAs, which are intended to prevent extinction and maintain populations of endangered species in their native range. Protection of endangered species can be a driver of a reconciled ecosystem, but climate and other irreversible changes may push even a reconciled ecosystem to a state where it cannot support some listed species. 13 In Where the Wild Things Aren’t: Making the Delta a Better Place for Native Species (Moyle et al. 2012), we pre- sent a vision of a reconciled Delta ecosystem that reflects our own evolving ideas of desirable possible futures. According to this thinking, a reconciled Delta should be guided by five concepts. Natural processes should be restored wherever possible. In broad terms, this means allowing the Delta to func- tion like the upper estuary it once was by providing for a strong, seasonally changing, upstream-downstream gradi- ent in salinity, temperature, turbidity, and other factors related to inflow and outflow (Moyle et al. 2010). Locally, this will require breaching dikes to restore tidal marshes in parts of Suisun Marsh and the north Delta and managing parts of the Yolo Bypass as seasonal floodplain to benefit native fish and other wildlife. Different parts of the Delta should be specialized for different functions. Although the Delta is often thought of as a single block of habitat, different regions functioned quite differently in the past (Whipple et al. 2012) and have Stress Relief 10 www.ppic.org different trajectories for the future. The region where the native ecosystem has the most ability to recover, given current land elevations and other ecosystem attributes, is the bayou-like Sacramento Delta: an arc of interconnected habitats (or potential habitats) for native species extend- ing from the Yolo Bypass, through the northwest Delta (Cache-Lindsay Slough), past Sherman Island, and into Suisun Marsh. At the opposite extreme, a large block of subsided islands in the central Delta has a high probability of becoming permanently flooded, creating “lakes” with no historical equivalent that will mostly favor alien species. Many native species already prefer other areas (Figure 4a), and it seems realistic to promote area specialization in managing the ecosystem (Figure 4b). Levees, channels, diversions, and gates should be reop- erated, reconstructed, or removed to benefit desirable species. This will be needed partly to restore more natural processes, such as seasonal variation, habitat creation, and natural flow directions. In a reconciled Delta, this infra- structure would be redesigned and managed to meet the co-equal goals—a marked shift from when most of this infrastructure was built. Near-term solutions will differ from long-term solutions. Today’s ecosystem has been so heavily altered—physically and biologically—that it will take decades to bring about a more favorable state. In the near term, intensive manage- ment actions, such as conservation hatcheries, deliberately flooded islands, and managed floodplains, may be needed to prevent species from going extinct and to learn more about what works. The Delta needs an effective, well-funded system of adap- tive management. Adaptive management is a systematic, science-based approach to operating a dynamic system that encourages experimentation and does not punish manag- ers for taking risks, as long as one can learn from failures. This approach should be built into the culture of organiza- tions that do large-scale management of the Delta’s natural resources. Experimental adaptation will be needed to deal with new invasions in the short run (e.g., quagga mussel) and with climate change in the longer run.Elements of these guiding concepts are contained in available drafts of both the Delta Plan and the BDCP. At their core, both plans attempt to reconcile competing demands for use of the Delta’s natural resources. Both acknowledge the need to restore ecological processes for native species, and neither envisions restoring the Delta to a historical condition. Both call for extensive habitat res- toration in key areas where elevation, hydrology, and land use allow it, implicitly promoting the type of area special- ization discussed above (and shown in Figure 4b). However, neither plan offers a comprehensive approach to ecosystem reconciliation. Neither fully regionalizes eco - system management in the Delta—both plans tend to focus only on areas where native species are likely to persist, rather than also considering how other parts of the Delta might support alien species with some desirable properties, such as largemouth bass. And although both plans acknowledge that changes in climate, island flooding, land use, and invasive species will alter future ecosystems, they offer limited guid - ance on how to address these changes. Both plans envision a new conveyance system for Delta exports but otherwise tend to view flow management infrastructure in the Delta— particularly levees—as static for the indefinite future. This is highly unlikely to be the case (Lund et al. 2010). Finally, although both plans call for adaptive management and science-based decisionmaking, neither has yet offered a well-funded, well-designed adaptive management strategy supported by a robust and integrated science program. Choosing the Most Promising Actions In choosing a portfolio of actions to support a reconciled Delta ecosystem, two considerations are key: the biologi- cal potential to support desirable species and the cost to those using the Delta’s lands and waters. Ideally, the high- est potential for biological payoff would come at the lowest cost. In practice, high-potential actions may have high costs, which means that negotiating tradeoffs is a major challenge for Delta policymaking. 11 Stress Relief www.ppic.org Here, we examine the biological potential and likely costs of some promising actions for supporting the Delta’s native fi sh species. For views on biological potential, we draw on our survey of scientists, who assessed the ability of 32 actions to improve conditions for the Delta’s native fi sh species and picked the fi ve actions they considered most promising as a package. Although scientifi c under- standing of what will work in this ecosystem is still uncer- tain and subject to change, ecosystem management will need to be informed by science on an ongoing basis. Th e survey gauges the current views of the scientifi c commu- nity about the success and relative importance of a broad suite of actions. We also examine the potential costs of actions and the views of policymakers and stakeholders on ecosystem priori- ties. Our study Costs of Ecosystem Management Actions for the Sacramento–San Joaquin Delta (Medellín-Azuara et al. 2013) is a fi rst attempt at sorting a large suite of potential actions by their economic and fi nancial costs. Our survey of stakeholders and policymakers allows a comparison with scientist views on priority ecosystem actions. Although ecosystem policy must be informed by science, policy is ultimately made by society. Mokelumne River Bear Creek Marsh Creek Calaveras River Putah Creek Sacramento RiverAmerican River Cosumnes River Dry Creek Stanislaus River San Joaquin River Sacramento Stockton Tr ac y Antioch Fairfeld YOLO BYPASS Suisun Marsh Sherman IslandLake Suisun Marsh Big Break Cache Slough Splittail movements to other parts of the Delta are omitted because of poor understanding of their patterns.* LARGEMOUTH BASS resident area SAN JOAQUIN SALMON migration SACRAMENTO SALMON migration and rearing SPLITTAIL*rearing and spawning D E LTA S M E LT r earing and spawning Mokelumne River Bear Creek Marsh Creek Calaveras River Putah Creek Sacramento RiverAmerican River Cosumnes River Dry Creek Stanislaus River YOLO BYPASS Suisun Marsh Sherman Island Lake Suisun Marsh Big Break Cache Slough San Joaquin River Sacramento Stockton Tracy Antioch Fairfeld CENTRAL DELTA LOWLANDS & LAKES Deep freshwaterlake species POTENTIAL SAN JOAQUIN RIVER MIGRATORY CORRIDORS EASTSIDE RIVERS Freshwater riparian, foodplain species, local salmon rearing SACRAMENTO RIVER & BYPASS HABITAT ARC Freshwater seasonal foodplain, tidal marshlands, & riverine habitat: delta smelt, splittail, salmon, other native fsh LOWER SAN JOAQUIN FLOODPLAIN Partially restored marsh & seasonal foodplain Suisun Marsh Suisun MarshSuisun MarshSuisun MarshSuisun MarshSuisun MarshSuisun MarshSuisun MarshSuisun MarshSuisun MarshSuisun MarshSuisun MarshSuisun Marsh BigBreak Figure 4. Fish habitats today and in a reconciled Delta a. Current habitat b. Future habitat (ecosystem areas) SOURCES: Moyle et al. (2012); the base elevation map is adapted from Stuart Siegel, Wetlands and Water Resources (2009). LiDAR elevation sources: Suisun Marsh (2005); Delta (2007). NOTES: The northwest corridor provides the most favorable habitat for native fsh species. Salmon, delta smelt, and splittail are native fsh species, and largemouth bass is an alien species valued for recreational fshing that does well in the more altered central Delta. Colored lines indicate principal migratory routes through the Delta of each species. Dashed line indicates San Joaquin salmon migration (poor conditions). Topography of major urban areas excluded. NOTES: Ecosystem areas would support diferent functions. These areas would continue to support most urban and agricultural land uses as well as transportation functions. Islands within the central Delta whose economic value (including for such strategic uses as roads and rail lines) justifes the expense would continue to be protected. The Sacramento River and Bypass Habitat Arc includes a migratory corridor for Sacramento River salmon and steelhead. San Joaquin River salmon would need migratory corridors through the inhospitable central Delta. Topography of major urban areas excluded. 0 mi 510 0 km 10 20 N Current land elevation 0–5 ft above sea level (potential marshland with sea level rise) Within tidal range 0–3 ft below sea level 3–6 ft below sea level 6–9 ft below sea level 9 ft or more below sea level Existing waters Major Delta pumping stations Stress Relief 12 www.ppic.org When stakeholder views diverge from those of scientists, strategies are needed to develop a common understanding. What Do Scientists Consider Most Promising? Table 1 presents the actions we asked scientists to evaluate for their potential to improve the Delta ecosystem’s ability to support native fishes. The list includes interventions addressing each stressor area, sorted by level of implemen - tation experience within the Delta watershed and likely costs. Over half of these actions (denoted as “under way”) are already employed to some extent within the Delta watershed, with additional implementation planned or being considered. 14 The other measures have not yet been tried here. Two actions—tidal marsh restoration (#29) and farm fertilizer discharge control (#5)—are planned for near-term implementation (“planned ”). Several others are being considered based on modeling or experience outside the basin (“considered”). For example, BDCP negotiators are studying a canal or tunnel to divert exports around or under the Delta (#21). Finally, some actions are still at the concep - tual stage (“conceptual”) and not yet sufficiently developed for active consideration—for example, ideas about control - ling invasive clams, which compete with native species for food (#24), and increasing sediment available to the Delta, which could help support tidal marsh restoration (#32). Gauging Potential Impact We asked scientists to consider the potential impact of each action relative to current conditions. Table 2 summarizes their responses along several dimensions: the columns group the actions into three groups according to the mean impact score, and the rows group them according to the level of consensus on these scores, as measured by the standard deviation of responses. Asterisks designate actions about which a high share of respondents (10% or more) answered “don’t know”—another measure of uncertainty. And the actions are grouped by annual cost (lower cost is under $100 million per year and higher cost is over this amount). Scientists were most likely to rank habitat- and flow- related actions as having a strong potential for positive impact. 15 Consensus was highest (Table 2, top left corner) regarding two flow actions (introducing more variable flows and reducing exports), two Delta habitat actions (expanding seasonal floodplains and tidal marshes), and two actions addressing habitat upstream of the Delta (improving upstream spawning and rearing habitat and removing selected dams). “Don’t know” response rates were also low for these actions. The scientific consensus on the strong potential of sea - sonal floodplain expansion is not surprising; field experience shows that several native fish species benefit from spawning and rearing in floodplain environments (Sommer et al. 2001; Moyle et al. 2004; Jeffres, Opperman, and Moyle 2008). The consensus over tidal marsh restoration is more surprising, because some public discussions have tended to highlight perceived difficulties in regenerating the type of tidal marsh habitat that was once abundant in the Delta. 16 The top two flow management options are quite dis- tinct. Reducing exports is a familiar option that can simul- taneously freshen water outflow (helping to get fish to the productive “mixing” zone in the west Delta near Suisun Marsh) and reduce entrainment of fish and larvae in the export pumps in the south Delta. Reducing exports is also a “knob” that can be turned quickly to affect Delta ecosys- tem conditions. In contrast, patterning flow variability to better support native fish species has been much discussed in recent years but is not yet well defined, and its potential consequences have yet to be fully explored. 17 In the middle of the pack—with medium impact scores and high-to-medium levels of consensus—are actions designed to reduce discharges (#1–#5) and control invasive species directly and through salinity variation (#22, #25), as well as efforts to support wild salmon populations by reducing their harvest and changing hatchery management policies (#14). Most of these actions are already employed within the Delta watershed. The idea of separating hatchery and wild populations of salmon is new for California but has been successful in the Pacific Northwest (Fraser 2008). 18 Average impact scores were lowest for most direct fish management actions and two engineering solutions to alter flows—adding new gates to improve fish passage (#15) and diverting exports through a new canal or tunnel (#21). 13 Stress Relief www.ppic.org Table 1. Many actions might help improve conditions for the Delta’s native fishes action Implementation stage aannualized costs b 1. Reduce urban nonpoint discharges (e.g., stormwater, landscaping runoff) Under way$–$$ 2. Reduce farm pesticide discharges Under way$$–$$$ 3. Reduce toxic substance discharges (e.g., emerging contaminants) Under way$$–$$$ 4. Reduce urban point discharges (e.g., wastewater treatment plants, industry) Under way$$–$$$ 5. Reduce farm fertilizer discharges Planned$$$ 6. Dilute pollutant loads with increased freshwater flows Considered$$–$$$ 7. Truck juvenile salmonids around the Delta Under way$ 8. Increase enforcement to prevent poaching Under way$ 9. Increase screening of water diversions Under way$–$$ 10. Develop new conservation hatcheries to support native fish (e.g., delta smelt hatchery) Under way$$ 11. Reduce harvest of anadromous fish (salmon, steelhead, sturgeon) Under way$$ 12. Trap and truck fish around dams Considered$ 13. Allow unrestricted fishing on nonnative predatory fish (e.g., striped bass, largemouth bass) Considered$$ 14. Manage hatcheries to separate hatchery fish from wild populations (e.g., change hatchery locations, mark hatchery fish) Considered $$ 15. Add gated structures within the Delta to improve fish passage Under way$–$$ 16. Reduce entrainment at export pumps Under way$$ 17. Reduce Delta exports Under way$$–$$$ 18. Increase net Delta outflows Under way$$–$$$ 19. Improve flow regime upstream of the Delta Under way$$–$$$ 20. Pattern Delta flow variability to support native species Considered$$–$$$ 21. Divert Delta exports through a canal or tunnel Considered$$$ 22. Directly control invasive aquatic vegetation Under way$–$$ 23. Increase actions to prevent new invasions (e.g., ballast water, trailered boats, aquarium trade) Under way $$ 24. Directly control invasive clams Conceptual$–$$ 25. Increase salinity variability in the Delta Conceptual$$$ 26. Expand seasonal floodplains Under way$–$$ 27. Improve or increase upstream spawning and rearing habitat Under way$$ 28. Remove selected dams Under way$$–$$$ 29. Restore tidal marsh and shallow water habitat (e.g., Liberty Island, Suisun Marsh) Planned$$ 30. Improve in-Delta channel margin habitat (e.g., setback levees) Considered$$ 31. Increase deep-water habitat (e.g., Franks Tract, Mildred Island) Conceptual$$ 32. Increase sediment loads flowing into Delta Conceptual? a “Under way” denotes actions that are currently being implemented in the Delta watershed to some extent; “planned” denotes actions not yet implemented but planned for near-term implementation; “considered” denotes actions being considered based on modeling or experience outside the basin; ”conceptual” denotes actions still at the conceptual stage, not likely to be implemented in the near term. b $, < $10 million; $$, $10 million to $99 million; $$$, $100 million to $700 million. Investment costs are annualized at 5 percent for perpetuity (so, a $1 billion investment costs $50 million per year). Cost estimates do not include economic spillover (multiplier) effects—e.g., additional revenue losses in other sectors from reductions in crop output or increased revenues from new investments (Medellín-Azuara et al. 2013). Discharges Direct fish management Flow regime Invasive species Physical habitat Stress Relief 14 www.ppic.org within the scientific community—reflect uncertainty regarding the project’s size and operation. Whereas most other actions focus primarily on ecosystem enhancement, this project has been conceived to both improve water export reliability and reduce the harmful effects of south Delta pumping on native fish. If managed for conserva- tion objectives, a tunnel could facilitate more variable flow patterns (#20) and reduce entrainment (#16)—two actions scientists consider quite promising. At the time of the sur- vey (and as of this writing in February 2013), information about operations was not sufficient to allow most scientists to weigh in on this issue with confidence. Scientists agreed that neither screening of diversions (#9) nor greater enforcement of antipoaching laws (#8) is likely to offer significant ecosystem benefits (Table 2, top-right c or ner). 19 For other actions, the low impact scores reflect wide divergences in views (Table 2, bottom-right corner). This group of actions also had the highest shares of “don’t know” responses; nearly a quarter of those surveyed stated that they could not assess the potential of the two flow- engineering actions. The lack of consensus and high share of nonresponses on the canal or tunnel—which has been under active consideration in BDCP negotiations and much discussed Table 2. Scientists agree more about the potential impact of some actions than others High potential impact medium potential impact Low potential impact High scientific consensus Lower-cost actions #26 Expand seasonal floodplains (U) #27 Improve upstream habitat (U) #29 Restore tidal marsh (IP) Higher-cost actions #28 Remove selected dams (U) #20 Introduce more variable flows (IC) #17 Reduce exports (U) Lower-cost actions #2 Reduce farm pesticides (U) #3 Reduce toxic discharges (U) #1 Reduce urban nonpoint discharges (U) #22 Control invasive vegetation (U)* Higher-cost actions #4 Reduce urban point discharges (U) Lower-cost actions #9 Screen more diversions (U) #8 Prevent poaching (U)* m edium scientific consensus Lower-cost actions #29 Improve channel habitat (IC)* #23 Prevent new invasions (U) Higher-cost actions #18 Increase net outflow (U) #19 Improve upstream flows (U) Lower-cost actions #16 Reduce entrainment (U) #14 Separate hatchery/wild fish (IC)** #11 Reduce salmon harvest (U) Higher-cost actions #25 Increase salinity variability (CO)* #5 Reduce fertilizer discharges (IP) Low scientific consensus Lower-cost actions #24 Control invasive clams (CO)* Higher-cost actions #6 Dilute pollutant loads (IC)*Lower-cost actions #32 Increase sediment loads (CO)** #15 Add gates for fish passage (U)** #13 More fishing of predators (IC)* #10 Conservation hatcheries (U)* #12 Truck fish around dams (U)* #31 Increase deep-water habitat (CO) #7 Truck salmon around Delta (U)* Higher-cost actions #21 Divert exports via tunnel (IC)** SOURCE: Hanak et al. (2013). NOTES: For a more detailed list of actions, see Table 1. Actions are split into thirds based on two survey scores. “Impact” measures the sample average impact score, in answer to the question: “In your opinion, what is the potential impact of each of the following actions on the Delta ecosystem’s ability to support native fishes?” with “strongly positive” = 3, “moderately positive” = 2, “weakly positive” = 1, “neutral” = 0, and “negative” = – 2. “Consensus” is measured as the standard deviation of these impact scores, where a low standard deviation indicates high consensus. Actions within each section are ranked by impact scores (highest to lowest). Implementation stage: “U” = already under way to some extent, “IP” = implementation planned in the near-term, “IC” = implementation under consideration, and “CO” = conceptual only. Costs: Lower-cost actions are likely to cost under $100 million per year, and higher-cost actions are likely to cost more than this amount. *10 percent to 16 percent of respondents answered “don’t know.” **21 percent to 25 percent responded “don’t know.” 15 Stress Relief www.ppic.org Choosing Priority Packages Because actions to mitigate Delta stressors are likely to work best in combination, we also sought scientists’ views on the five actions that together would most benefit the Delta’s native fish species. To isolate the priorities from a biological perspective, scientists were instructed to con- sider only impacts on native fish, not the economic costs of the actions. This question elicits top priorities only; respon- dents might consider actions not chosen to be worthwhile. (Indeed, some scientists noted that they would have liked to choose more than five.) To better see the patterns, we grouped actions with similar functions or focus into nine areas. Table 3 reports the share of scientists who picked at least one action in each of these nine areas, along with the share that picked each individual action. For scientific experts on the Delta ecosystem, the most promising ways to improve conditions for native fish com - bine habitat and flow management, both within the Delta and upstream. More than 60 percent of all scientists surveyed picked Delta habitat (82%), Delta flow variability (65%), reduced diversions (62%), and upstream management (61%). There is tremendous agreement on these choices: 63 percent of those surveyed picked actions in at least three of these areas; 93 percent chose at least two; and only one scientist selected none. These choices reflect the prevalence of high- impact actions in all four areas (Table 2, second column), particularly expanding seasonal floodplains (chosen by 61%) and the more experimental tools of patterning flow vari- ability to support native species (59%) and restoring tidal marsh (48%). 20 Although most scientists also picked at least one action outside these four areas, there were no strong patterns in the other combinations selected. 21 Some familiar actions, such as reducing discharges, had moderate support, as did some more experimental actions, such as separating hatch- ery and wild populations of salmon and steelhead. Few scientists chose other experimental actions, such as expand - ing conservation hatcheries and using gated structures to improve fish passage. And few selected harvest manage- ment actions, even though some of these—most notably, increased harvesting of predators—are often promoted in public debates. 22 Overall, the scientists’ priorities are consistent with the broad vision of a reconciled Delta outlined above—most notably, the emphasis on co-managing habitat and flows to restore more natural ecosystem functions in support of native species. However, they steered away from some actions that might be useful for attaining these objectives— including diversion engineering with a tunnel (#21), fish screens (#9), or gates (#15) and creating conservation hatcheries to maintain genetic diversity in native fish populations in the near term (#10). The lower priority levels for these actions reflect higher uncertainty about their potential impacts (Table 2, bottom-right corner). What Do Stakeholders Prioritize? On average, stakeholder groups and scientists had broadly similar rankings of priority areas (compare the green and yellow bars in Figure 5). They agreed on four out of five top areas—all but upstream management (which ranked sixth for stakeholder groups) and diversion engineering (which ranked seventh for scientists). However, as with the stressor rankings, there were some significant differences Scientists have found that young salmon grow faster in seasonal floodplains. Car Son J Effr ES Stress Relief 16 www.ppic.org Table 3. Scientists’ top priorities include better management of habitat and flowsa ction area Individual actions Delta habitat (82%) Habitat actions within the Delta #26 expanding seasonal floodplain (61%) #29 restoring tidal marsh (48%) #30 improving channel-margin habitat (15%) #32 increasing sediment loads (8%) #31 increasing deep-water habitat (3%) Delta flow variability (65%) Flow manipulations focusing on variability (not average water diversions) #20 patterning Delta flow variability to support native species (59%) #25 increasing salinity variability to control invasive species (24%) Reduced diversions (62%) Increasing the volume of instream flows #17 reducing exports (39%) #18 increasing net Delta outflows (35%) #6 diluting pollutant loads with increased freshwater flows (4%) Upstream management (61%) Habitat and flow actions upstream of the Delta #19 improving upstream flow regime (30%) #27 increasing upstream spawning and rearing habitat (25%) #28 removing selected dams (21%) Reduced discharges (30%) Reducing discharges directly (rather than by dilution) #4 urban point sources (13%) #3 toxic substances (11%) #2 farm pesticides (7%) #5 farm fertilizers (6%) #1 urban nonpoint sources (4%) Hatchery management (22%) Improving the role of hatcheries #14 separating hatchery and wild fish (16%) #10 developing conservation hatcheries for native fish (5%) #12 trapping and trucking fish around dams (1%) #7 trucking juvenile salmon around the Delta (1%) Diversion engineering (20%) aUsing technology to make diversions less harmful for native fish #16 reducing entrainment at the export pumps (11%) #21 building a canal or tunnel for exports (7%) #9 increasing screening of diversions (2%) #15 adding gated structures to improve fish passage (0%) Invasive species control (20%) Managing invasive species directly (rather than with flows) #23 preventing new invasions (11%) #22 directly controlling existing invasive plants (7%) #24 directly controlling existing invasive clams (5%) Harvest management (12%) Directly managing recreational and commercial fishing #11 reducing harvest of anadromous fish (7%) #13 allowing unrestricted fishing of nonnative predatory fish (6%) #8 preventing poaching (1%) SOURCE: Hanak et al. (2013). NOTES: This table reports the shares of scientists that picked each individual action (right-hand column) and at least one action in each of the nine action areas (left-hand column), in answer to the question: “Considering interactions, what are the five actions that would result in the most beneficial impact on the Delta’s native fish species?” Table 1 lists individual actions. a We included reducing entrainment (action #16) in diversion engineering even though one way to achieve this is to reduce export diversions. Other options involve technological methods, such as changing the timing of diversions and using barriers and fish screens. 17 Stress Relief www.ppic.org between scientists and individual stakeholder groups.23 Scientists were more likely to prioritize Delta habitat than all groups except exporters and government officials. Sci- entists were also more likely than most to prioritize Delta flow variability and upstream management, and they were in the middle regarding reduced diversions—higher than exporters (almost none of whom chose this alternative)— and lower than Delta and fishing interests (almost all of whom did). They were less likely than many other groups to prioritize reduced discharges, diversion engineering, and harvest management. State and federal officials overlapped most with the scientists on management priorities, just as they did on the relative importance of different stressor categories. 24 Environmental advocates’ views were also fairly similar to those of the scientists, though environmental respondents were more likely to concentrate on flow-related actions and less on habitat or other complementary actions. 25 Although all survey respondents were instructed to focus only on the biological potential of actions (not costs), groups with economic interests tended to steer away from actions likely to impose additional costs or other social or economic disruptions on themselves. Instead, each group tended to choose actions more likely to shift financial burdens to someone else. Thus, exporters avoided mea- sures that would reduce their diversions (either directly or through changes in upstream management), while pri- oritizing “nonflow” stressors—such as discharges, Delta habitat, and harvest management—for which costs would likely be borne by other stakeholder groups or taxpayers. (Exporters have pledged to pay for the construction of a canal or tunnel, the diversion-engineering tool many of them favor, but negotiations to date have assumed that this new facility would pay for itself by improving their water supply reliability and quality.) Likewise, fishery interests did not support harvest management—a direct hit on their livelihood—but strongly endorsed reducing diversions and improving upstream management to benefit fish popula- tions. Upstream interests did not support upstream man - agement measures, which could cost them land and water, and they supported reducing diversions only if those came at the expense of exporters, not themselves (41 percent of Percentage Upstream management Reduced diversions Flow variability Delta habitat Reduced discharges Invasive control Diversion engineering Hatchery management Harvest management Figure 5. Some stakeholders diverged from scientists on top-priority actions U=upstream F=fshing and recreation G=state and federal governments SOURCE: Hanak et al. (2013). NOTE: See Table 3 for a mapping of individual actions into action groups. X=exporters E=environmental D=Delta Scientists Average of six stakeholder groups 100 90 80 70 60 50 40 30 20 100X D UG E F X DUG E F X D U G E F X D UG E F X D UG EF X D U G E F X D U G E F X D U G E F X D U G E F Stress Relief 18 www.ppic.org upstream stakeholders selected reducing Delta exports as a priority action, versus only 3 percent who chose increas- ing net Delta outflows—a more general action that could reduce upstream diversions). Delta interests were more enthusiastic about reducing other water users’ diversions and less enthusiastic about measures to develop more Delta habitat, which might harm the local economy, even if land- owners are compensated for converted lands. 26 Stakeholders can find support for these disparate views in the information they consult on the Delta. Most stake - holders responding to the survey are actively engaged in Delta issues, consulting media on this topic daily and gov- ernment and scientific materials at least weekly. In recent years some groups—notably exporter interests—have expanded their own scientific efforts on multiple stressor topics. Some of this research has supported the idea that discharges (and consequent reduced food supplies), rather than diversions, are the key culprit (and hence key solu- tion) to native fish declines (Glibert 2010; Miller et al. 2012). In contrast, environmental advocates and fishery interests are most likely to rely on advocacy group publica- tions, which often emphasize the importance of reducing diversions. 27 Given these differences, it is heartening that stakehold- ers often seem willing to consider actions that might be costly to them but beneficial to native species. For instance, more than half of Delta-based respondents chose at least one Delta habitat action, and more than 60 percent of upstream interests and nearly half of Delta-based interests selected at least one discharge-related action. Over 40 per- cent of exporters chose flow variability actions, which could reduce diversions. And many more environmental advocates picked nonflow actions than might have been expected, given the public positions taken by many envi- ronmental groups. Costs of Reconciliation The patterns of stakeholder priorities highlight an impor- tant social consideration in ecosystem management for the Delta: many individual management actions will be costly. Our cost estimates suggest that any comprehensive recon- ciliation package will cost at least several hundred million dollars per year on an ongoing basis. Some highly ranked flow- and discharge-related actions are likely to be par- ticularly expensive (more than $100 million per year each), and the combined costs of habitat improvements could easily exceed this amount as well. In many cases, there has been an expectation that individual groups would bear the costs directly (especially for discharges and flows). Even in areas that are expected to receive some taxpayer support (e.g., habitat, proposed to be covered at least in part by state bond funds), fiscal and social realities will require imple- menting ecosystem management cost effectively. Institutions for a Reconciled Delta Reconciliation ecology offers promise for meeting the co-equal goals of improving ecosystem health while sup- porting the economic activities that depend on Delta land and water. But for this to happen, management institutions must become more effective. And science must become a more reliable and relied-upon basis for shared understand- ing of the Delta’s problems by reducing uncertainties sur- rounding potential management strategies in an ongoing and interactive way. Despite some recent progress, institutional fragmenta- tion is a major obstacle to achieving ecosystem manage- ment goals (National Research Council 2012). Here we propose some modest, yet powerful, changes to better integrate planning and management, regulatory oversight, and science and adaptive management. Further details are in Integrated Management of Delta Stressors: Institutional and Legal Options (Gray et al. 2013). The Fragmentation Challenge A list of key regulatory and management entities highlights the barriers to coherent ecosystem management (Table 4). For each stressor, numerous agencies at different levels of government provide regulatory oversight, and many other agencies and individuals manage the related resources. This fragmentation makes it hard to address individual 19 Stress Relief www.ppic.org stressors effectively and nearly impossible to develop inte- grated approaches that consider interactions among stress- ors at appropriate geographic scales. The consequences of this fragmentation include: Missed opportunities for watershed-based approaches. The federal and state ESAs are governed by two federal agencies (USFWS for most aquatic and terrestrial species and NMFS for ocean-going fish including salmon, steel - head, and sturgeon) and one state agency (DFW). “Inci- dental take authority” and “take permits” (which authorize project managers to kill or harm listed species up to speci - fied numeric limits) are typically issued for individual species on a project-by-project basis. These agencies have made progress in coordinating guidance, and habitat con- servation plans (such as the BDCP) now encourage multi- species approaches. But even with a BDCP permit for water exports, ESA compliance within the watershed will remain fragmented, with many smaller projects by other regulated entities (land users, flood control, water and wastewater utilities) running separate mitigation programs. Oversight gaps. Numerous entities at the federal and state levels have some hand in invasive species prevention and control, but no entity is charged with coordinating these efforts. The lack of comprehensive regulation of some Table 4. The alphabet soup of Delta ecosystem stressor management Stressor regulatory agencies management entities Discharges State: State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB) and Regional Water Quality Control Boards (RWQCBs), Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC), Department of Pesticide Regulation (DPR), county agricultural offices Federal : U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA), U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) Local urban and agricultural dischargers Fish management State : Department of Fish and Wildlife (DFW), Fish and Game Commission (FGC) Federal : U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), Pacific Fisheries Management Council (PFMC) Hatcheries : USFWS, DFW Fish screens: urban and agricultural diverters Harvest : commercial and recreational fishery Flows State: SWRCB, DFW, Central Valley Flood Protection Board (CVFPB) Federal : USACE, USFWS, NMFS, Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) State Water Project (SWP) : Department of Water Resources (DWR) Central Valley Project (CVP) : U.S. Bureau of Reclamation (USBR) Local projects : local urban and agricultural water agencies Delta habitat State: RWQCB/SWRCB, DFW, CVFPB, Delta Stewardship Council (DSC), Delta Protection Commission (DPC) Federal : USACE, USFWS, NMFS Local : cities and counties Flood control: USACE, DWR, and local reclamation districts Land use : land owners Restoration : Delta Conservancy (DC) Upstream habitat State : DFW, RWQCB/SWRCB Federal : USACE, FERC, USFWS, NMFS Local : cities and counties Water diverters : DWR, USBR, and local agricultural and urban water agencies Flood control: USACE, USBR, DWR, CVFPB, and local dam owners, operators, and reclamation districts Land development : land owners Invasive species State : DFW, RWQCB/SWRCB, DPR, Department of Boating and Waterways (DBW), Department of Food and Agriculture (DFA) Federal : USEPA, U.S. Coast Guard (USCG), U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Invasive weed treatment : DBW, local landowners SOURCE: For more details, see Gray et al. (2013). NOTES: This list is not exhaustive. Local governments (cities and counties) must approve any actions that involve land use or construction. Permission of additional state and federal agencies may also be required for some actions (e.g., for historical preservation). Stress Relief 20 www.ppic.org stressors also raises concerns of fairness in regulatory bur- dens across different segments of society. Conflicting mandates. The USACE proposes to remove vegetation on levees in the interests of flood control, whereas the fisheries agencies promote this vegetation to provide shaded habitat along river edges. Costly delays. Many permits and approvals are required to demonstrate that projects are not causing environmen- tal harm. Even projects whose primary intent is to help the environment are encountering obstacles. To restore habitat on a small island in the north Delta—a project on which there is broad agreement—the managers may need to obtain ten permits, consult on ten statutes, and ensure consistency with eight programs, with 18 state, federal, and local agencies. 28 Each approval requires a separate process, which raises costs and increases the odds that agencies will require inconsistent terms for approval. These kinds of roadblocks will be multiplied many times over in the restoration of large acreages of physical habitat in the Delta—a top priority for BDCP and for more than 80 per- cent of scientists in our survey. Less reliable science. Most of the entities listed in Table 4—and many others—are involved in largely sepa- rate scientific activities related to the ecosystem. Although some coordination occurs under the Interagency Ecologi- cal Program (IEP), which unites nine federal and state agencies for monitoring and evaluation related to the take permits for the export projects, integrated approaches to key activities such as large-scale modeling have proven elusive. In its review of multiple stressors, the National Research Council (2012) cited the lack of an integrated approach to science in the Delta as a primary reason for the failure to understand and manage stressors effectively. Lack of a com - mon basis for hypothesis testing has also encouraged the development of parallel efforts by regulated parties. Finally, fragmentation has not only hindered the ability to deal with tradeoffs in ecosystem management (such as those in the levee vegetation example above), it has also made it hard to provide regulatory incentives to manage stressors jointly. Yet joint stressor management is likely to yield sizable environmental benefits and should also reduce overall costs. Building on existing governance structures and manage - ment models, we propose four types of institutional change. Consistent planning. More comprehensive use of consis - tency reviews by the Delta Stewardship Council to deter- mine whether planning efforts relevant for addressing Delta ecosystem stressors are consistent with the state’s overall Delta Plan. Integrated and accountable management. Proactive use of the new Delta Plan Interagency Implementation Com- mittee (DPIIC) to coordinate implementation of agency plans and to integrate multiagency adaptive management. More comprehensive and integrated regulatory over- sight. Additional stressor regulation, reduced duplication, new incentives for joint stressor management, and coordi- nated and expedited permit review through a new office: the Delta Ecosystem Regulatory Coordinator (DERC). Integrated science and adaptive management. Creation of a Delta science joint powers authority (JPA), involving regulators and regulated parties and the Delta Science Program (DSP). Formation of an adaptive management alliance within the DPIIC to link science and management. Water hyacinth has invaded many Delta channels. Many agencies— and none—are responsible for preventing new invasive species. D Epa r t m Ent of Wat Er rES our CES 21 Stress Relief www.ppic.org Most of these changes can be accomplished without new legislation, but they will require new commitments by and interactions among various state, federal, and local agencies, including some pooling of resources. Consistent Planning The Delta Plan is the foundational long-term vision for meeting the state’s co-equal goals for the Delta. The first Delta Plan 29 comprehensively examines the Delta ecosys - tem’s problems and establishes policies to guide the Delta Stewardship Council and the actions of other agencies and individuals. The DSC’s authority to regulate plan implemen - tation is limited: when petitioned to review proposed local actions and state nonregulatory actions within the statutory Delta and Suisun Marsh, the DSC must determine whether these actions are consistent with the Delta Plan (“consistency determinations”). It can deny certification of consistency even if the proposed actions are permitted under other state, federal, or local laws, thereby potentially blocking those actions from being carried out until amended. 30 For all other relevant actions—including state regulatory actions within the Delta, federal actions, and all actions outside the statu - tory Delta—the DSC can provide comments and recom - mendations but has no regulatory authority. The limits on the DSC’s regulatory authority reflect multiple parties’ resistance to additional oversight of their actions. (Indeed, the DSC’s authority within the Delta is causing consternation among local governments there, who object to its oversight of their land-use decisions.) However, there is great value in an expert agency’s assess- ment of whether actions are consistent with the state’s comprehensive planning tool for the Delta ecosystem. The DSC should use its advisory role to provide nonbind- ing “consistency opinions” for plans outside its regulatory purview. Assessments could be initiated by the DSC or requested by outside parties, including planning agen- cies themselves (who may wish to demonstrate that their intended actions are consistent with the overall Delta Plan). These DSC opinions would provide guidance to the agencies themselves, and they would establish an eviden- tiary record for judicial review of the agencies’ actions. 31 Integrated and Accountable Management An underappreciated component of new Delta governance is the Delta Plan Interagency Implementation Committee, also called for under the Delta Reform Act of 2009. Con - vened by the DSC, this committee is charged with coor- dinating implementation of all relevant actions pursuant to the Delta Plan. The DPIIC will consist of the principal state, federal, and local planning and regulatory agencies. It will provide a forum for harmonizing the many plan- ning processes relating to the Delta and the greater water- shed and for devising common implementation strategies. To boost the effectiveness of this forum, the DSC should require that agencies present their near- and long- term plans to help implement the Delta Plan. This will increase the potential for consistent actions and heighten public awareness of the many decisions that affect the Delta ecosystem. This will also make it easier to hold agen- cies accountable for actions and inaction. As discussed below, the DPIIC is also the appropriate forum for coordi- nating adaptive management. Comprehensive and Integrated Regulatory Oversight Regulatory oversight of Delta ecosystem stressors is better today than it was 20 or even 10 years ago. 32 However, there are still significant gaps in the regulation of stressors. Most regulatory efforts focus on Delta exports, point sources of pollution, and commercial fishery harvests. Far less attention has been paid to upstream and in-Delta water diversions, agricultural and urban runoff, invasive species, and physical habitat disturbance, even though legal authority generally exists to address these stressors. Effective and fair ecosystem management requires comprehensive regulatory approaches. Going forward, regulatory bodies must also continue to reduce regulatory duplication and inconsistencies. The DPIIC public coordination process provides opportunities to identify and address these problems. To help inform decisionmakers about the need for action, the DPIIC should issue regular reports about gaps and conflicts in regulatory approaches. Two recent proposals have suggested frameworks for one area particularly worth exploring: the use of regulatory incen - tives to jointly manage stressors. The BDCP is considering Stress Relief 22 www.ppic.org increasing the volume of water exports authorized in response to improvements in physical habitat. And the SWRCB, in its draft water quality control plan for the San Joaquin River, has proposed adjusting the volume of instream flows that upstream water diverters will be required to maintain in response to changing conditions. 33 This would provide incen- tives for water diverters to work with landowners on creating more favorable conditions for aquatic and riparian species. 34 Another priority is to encourage more integrated envi- ronmental permitting. Environmental review and permit - ting processes were instituted to prevent construction and development from causing environmental harm or putting public safety at risk. But the current, fragmented system is often costly and time-consuming and does little to ensure that mitigation actions truly benefit the environment. We propose the creation of a new office—the Delta Ecosystem Regulatory Coordinator (DERC)—to coordinate and expe- dite permitting. The DERC, which could be located within the Office of the Governor or the DSC, would convene the various agencies whose approval is needed for any given action that affects the resources of the Delta ecosystem. Actual permitting decisions would remain vested in the individual agencies, but the DERC would ensure that agen- cies share information, collaborate, establish record sub- mission and hearing schedules that encourage applicants to present integrated analyses and minimize duplication, and make timely decisions. Common Pool Science and Adaptive Management Delta science must push the frontiers of knowledge on effective ecosystem management in ways that enhance its legitimacy in the eyes of the many interests who have a stake in the outcome. Scientific knowledge should inform, not prescribe, policies and decisionmaking—the use of the Delta’s resources will ultimately be decided through politi- cal and legal processes. Instead of serving these needs, Delta science has been used in some of the Delta’s most vigorous disputes and contentious litigation. Low opinions of scientific reliability are unlikely to be changed by fund- ing increases, new programs, and prescriptions for more coordination alone. Although scientific research will never be completely removed from the courtroom, “combat sci- ence” needs to be sidelined in favor of new ways of advanc- ing knowledge and guiding management. Shared Purposes, Resources, and Results: Delta Science JPA Lessons from two successful collaborative science models in Southern and Northern California (see the box) lead us to recommend that science for multiple stressors in the Joint powers authorities: A new model for Delta science Two successful and respected programs working on multiple stressors in California—the Southern California Coastal Water Research Program (SCCWRP) and the San Francisco Estuary Institute (SFEI)—may serve as models for integrated research that garners broad support. The success of these programs stems from their high-quality research and transparency and their involvement of a mix of regulators, regulated parties, and other stakeholders to build consensus on research plans and results. Both programs use JPAs among regulating and regu - lated agencies that allow for efficient oversight and funding of research. SCCWRP was created in 1969 through a JPA between water dischargers and state regulators to conduct research and monitoring focused on the coastal waters and ecosystems of Southern California. SCCWRP monitors wastewater and storm discharge, guides the development of new standards, identi - fies and tests new technology, and develops new approaches to water and ecosystem management. Fourteen commission members represent regulatory and regulated agencies that oversee and fund the program. Stakeholder groups are regu - larly involved in monitoring and research activities. SFEI was established in 1986 as the Aquatic Habitat Institute; it expanded to become SFEI in 1993. This nonprofit conducts monitoring and research on the waters of the San Francisco Bay–Delta and the Central Valley. Although it originally focused on storm and wastewater monitoring and management, SFEI has expanded its efforts to a broad range of multiple stressors and ecosystem restoration. In 2007, SFEI began administering the Aquatic Science Center, a JPA involving the SWRCB and wastewater agencies in the Bay Area. SFEI is overseen by an 11-member board of directors made up of water managers, regulators, stakeholders, and academics. 23 Stress Relief www.ppic.org Delta ecosystem be overseen by a new organization that pools resources, plans jointly, shares data, and fosters con- sensus understanding of scientific results and their impli- cations for management. A joint powers authority (JPA) or similar instrument could bind the primary regulators with the regulated entities. 35 To ensure a broad consensus on scientific results, it may be appropriate to include other key groups in this JPA. The many disparate science and monitoring initiatives— including the IEP—should be overseen by the JPA. The JPA would fund much of the relevant research by outside parties, such as the U.S. Geological Survey, nonprofits, and universities, through contracts and grants. The JPA would not terminate participating agencies’ own scientific studies or their legal obligation to base policy decisions on sound science. Rather, it would tackle the larger, most complex and controversial issues. It would also foster the development of common science plans, system models of operations, hydrodynamics, water quality, ecosystems, and biological life cycles, and facilitate common data standards, storage, and access. And it would become a major source of information for adaptive management programs in the Delta (discussed below). All parties to the Delta JPA must invest in the outcome by contributing funds and/or staff. This creates an incen- tive for parties to resolve differences within the JPA and achieve consensus on means and ends, reducing the likeli- hood of litigation. Under this proposal, the Delta Science Program (DSP) would oversee Delta science for the JPA. Although the Delta Plan prescribes that the DSP serve as the coordinator of sci - ence in the Delta, this program does not currently have the mandate, authority, or budget to take on integration. 36 Adaptive Management: Using Science in Management A framework is also needed to organize ecosystem man - agement efforts and ensure that they both inform and are informed by evolving scientific understanding. This is the essence of the adaptive management idea advanced in so many recent Delta planning processes. Adaptive manage - ment seeks to bring scientific work into the center of man -agement decisions for complex problems that involve uncer - tainty. The original concept envisioned a central scientific group responsible for synthesizing and regularly suggesting promising actions to a management group, which could modify operations accordingly (Hollings 1978). Suggestions would be developed through computer models, pilot stud - ies, and empirical results from field data. Results from each management cycle would improve understanding of the system. In essence, all adaptive management efforts should be hypotheses to be tested, refined, or rejected. Adaptive management is essential to improve the health of the Delta ecosystem, given the changing condi- tions in the ecosystem and the many uncertainties about how effective various management actions may be. (Recall the many experimental actions ranked as high priorities by scientists in our survey and the many “low consensus” actions that still need fleshing out.) But it cannot be carried out effectively by dozens of agencies operating indepen- dently (Walters 2007). To integrate the necessary expertise, resources, and authorities, we suggest that the major par- ties pool their efforts through the DPIIC. Many field-level actions should be coordinated at the subregional level, following the area specialization needed for successful ecosystem reconciliation (Figure 4b). Getting There The proposals outlined here are not radical, but they will be a stretch for many agencies—perhaps most notably for parties to the BDCP, who have proposed parallel science and adaptive management structures tailored to implement a project that is ambitious, but not sufficiently comprehen- sive, to address the many sources of ecosystem stress. A common pool approach to science—which requires that “Combat science” needs to be sidelined in favor of new ways of advancing knowledge and guiding management. Stress Relief 24 www.ppic.org each entity give up some control to make it more useful, reliable, and relied upon—may be a worthwhile and neces- sary tradeoff. Secure and stable resources will be required for the DSC to serve as a coordinating agency, the new DERC to coordinate and expedite permits, and the DSP to manage the new science JPA. More generally, strong institutions will require strong leaders at the helm. Integration will be elusive in some areas. But existing institutions can be man- aged and adapted to become more ecologically successful and cost effective. Building Public Support More integrated and effective enforcement of environmen - tal laws can contribute to a healthier Delta ecosystem, but achieving this goal will also require broad public support. The costs of reconciliation efforts could be several hundred million dollars per year. This amount pales in comparison with the state’s $1.9 trillion economy, or even the $30-plus billion that Californians spend annually on water services and management (Hanak et al. 2012). But many of these costs would be borne by specific stakeholders (both busi- nesses and households), and recent Delta conflicts have been fueled by their cost concerns. As our survey shows, stakeholders are more likely to prioritize actions unrelated to their own uses of Delta resources and to shy away from actions that would be costly for them. However, there is more common ground than is usually assumed. All parties agree that multiple sources of stress—including those related to their own actions—have contributed to the decline in the Delta’s native fish populations, and many prioritize at least some actions that might directly increase their water, wastewater, stormwater, or flood control fees. In addition to the direct costs of more environmentally protective water and land management, a Delta solution will likely require that California voters approve state general obligation bond funds. As part of the 2009 water reform package, the legislature approved a large ($11 billion) water bond for the November 2010 ballot. The bond includes roughly $2 billion for Delta ecosystem investments—a large share of the habitat improvement planned under the BDCP. Weak polling caused the vote to be delayed twice, and the legislature seems likely to revamp (and shrink) the pro- posal before it goes to voters in late 2014. Without a bond financed with general tax dollars, a comprehensive Delta ecosystem solution will require additional fees on those benefiting from the Delta’s water and land resources. 37 Garnering public support for either new fees or new bonds will require clear messages about the benefits. In a recent PPIC opinion poll, a strong majority of Califor- nians (61%) said that they supported more state spending to improve conditions for the state’s native fish species, but support fell to less than half (39%) when the funding source was identified as higher water bills. 38 The case for more funding will be easier to make if policymakers and managers can demonstrate that the money will be spent in an integrated, cost-effective manner to promote the co- equal goals of ecosystem protection and reliable water sup- ply. California also needs a statewide conversation about the value of a reconciled Delta that meets these goals— not just a source of water and land to support our economy, but also a place of natural heritage for current and future generations to appreciate. California needs a statewide conversation about the value of a reconciled Delta— not just a source of water and land to support our economy, but also a place of natural heritage for current and future generations to appreciate. 25 Stress Relief www.ppic.org Notes 1 When discussing this plan, we refer to the final draft, issued in November 2012 (Delta Stewardship Council 2012). 2 When discussing this program, we refer to materials that were made public in 2012 (Bay Delta Conservation Plan 2012). 3 Technically, BDCP must meet the conservation standards of the state’s Natural Communities Conservation Planning Act, which provide for recovery of listed species, and it must other- wise be deemed consistent with the Delta Plan (Gray et al. 2013). For an overview of other related planning processes, see Mount (2011) and Water Education Foundation (2012). 4 See Kahan (2012) for a discussion of this phenomenon as it relates to climate change policy. 5 To check for potential bias, we ran statistical tests to determine whether responses to key survey questions differed along the dimensions on which respondents differed from nonrespondents. In general, we found relatively few statistically significant differ - ences; these are noted in endnotes where relevant (see Hanak et al. 2013, Technical Appendix A, for details). 6 A seventh “other” category (15 respondents) includes a mix of groups too small to analyze separately; those responses are reported along with detailed survey results in Hanak et al. (2 013). 7 The use of expert elicitation is expanding in many fields to address gaps in the scientific literature, particularly where there is uncertainty about priorities for decisionmaking (see Hanak et al. 2013, Technical Appendix A). 8 Ocean-related sources of climate variability include the El Niño–Southern Oscillation and the Pacific Decadal Oscillation, among others. 9 Scientists considered fish management to be more serious for anadromous fish—the focus of many management actions— than for pelagic or resident native fish (Hanak et al. 2013). 10 Similar patterns appeared when respondents were asked to consider how stressors would affect native fishes in the future if management continued as it is today. Upstream and Delta interests were the most optimistic regarding the future impacts of both discharges and habitat alterations, areas where they bear primary responsibility. Similarly, exporters and upstream interests expressed the most optimistic view regarding flows. For all three stressors, scientists do not share this optimism (Hanak et al. 2013). 11 The term was coined in 2003 by Mark Rosenzweig, a Univer - sity of Arizona ecologist, after assessing worldwide declines in biodiversity. 12 The U.S. Congress has also adopted these co-equal goals (Energy and Water Development Appropriations Act of 2012 § 205). The concept of co-equality also appears prominently in the Draft Principles and Regulations for federal water resource projects (Council on Environmental Quality 2009). 13 For example, climate change models suggest that Delta tem- peratures will become increasingly inhospitable to delta smelt if present trends continue (Brown et al. 2013). Several environ- mental laws currently constrain the range of responses to such threats, including the ability to make conservation investment tradeoffs or triage between species for whom extinction in the wild is highly likely and others in less advanced stages of decline (Hanak et al. 2011). 14 For instance, the Sacramento Regional County Sanitation District—the Delta’s main urban point source of ammonium— has been ordered to upgrade its treatment facilities by 2022. Efforts also are under way to reduce farm pesticide discharges, to improve flow regimes upstream of the Delta, and to expand seasonal floodplain habitat in the Yolo Bypass. The National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) has proposed removing two dams on the Yuba River to improve salmon access to upstream habitat. (Some smaller dams have already been removed in upstream tributaries, such as Butte Creek, Battle Creek, and Clear Creek.) 15 There were few distinguishing characteristics of scientists choosing actions with high versus low average impact scores. Leading scientists (those named by their peers as having excep- tional understanding of the Delta’s aquatic ecosystem), those with broader publishing experience across stressor groups, and those with past or present affiliation with the Moyle fish labora - tory at the University of California, Davis, tended to rank most actions as having lower potential (Hanak et al. 2013). However, these characteristics were not generally associated with choices of priority actions, as described below. 16 Much of the Delta is so deeply subsided that re-creation of tidal marsh is impossible in many areas. However, restoration opportunities exist in parts of the Sacramento River and Bypass Habitat Arc shown in Figure 4b. This includes areas within the north Delta, centered on the Cache-Lindsey Slough region, and perhaps in a few other areas, such as the McCormack-Williamson Stress Relief 26 www.ppic.org Tract, and within Suisun Marsh, now managed as a nontidal freshwater or brackish marsh. This marsh is likely to become increasingly saline as sea level rises, so it will bear only superficial resemblance to former Delta marshes, which were principally freshwater (Moyle, Manfree, and Feidler in press). 17 This action would likely include increased seasonal flood flows and perhaps reduced flows in the fall to more closely mimic sea- sonal flow variability that existed before human development of the Delta. However, the alteration of habitat and increasing pres- sures on the system from a warming climate could also make some “unnatural” flow patterns desirable (Moyle et al. 2012). The cost in terms of reduced water diversions for human uses would depend on the specific timing and the ability to recapture these flows after they serve environmental purposes (Medellín-Azuara et al. 2013). 18 This would involve such measures as marking all hatchery fish and changing hatchery locations to reduce commingling of hatchery fish and wild populations during spawning. This strat- egy might be less successful in California, given the challenges of siting replacement hatcheries. 19 Poaching is regarded worldwide as a major problem for sturgeon conservation (Pires and Moreto 2011), and reducing poaching on green and white sturgeon within the Delta could be effective because these fish are slow to reach maturity, live a long time, and have high fecundity. The low impact score for this action likely reflects the view that poaching is not a major issue for other native Delta fishes such as salmon and steelhead. 20 More generally, the correlation between mean impact scores and the share of scientists who picked each action in their top five priorities was very high (0.73). 21 Clustering exercises in which action choices were weighted by their ranks produced one very large cluster favoring the habitat- flow combinations described above (102 scientists) and four very small clusters, generally emphasizing one or more of the less popular areas. No systematic differences appeared in the char- acteristics of these scientists relative to those in the larger group. In addition, there were few significant differences in the char- acteristics of scientists choosing the nine action areas: Leading scientists (see note 5) were less likely to choose diversion engi - neering options and more likely to choose flow variability, Moyle lab affiliates were less likely to choose upstream management actions, those with publications on invasive species were more likely to choose actions in that area, and those with publications on fish management were more likely to favor hatchery manage- ment actions (Hanak et al. 2013, Table C7a). 22 In 2008, a group of exporter interests sued the state Depart- ment of Fish and Game (DFG) (now the Department of Fish and Wildlife), arguing that predation by nonnative striped bass was a major contributor to the decline in salmon populations. In a 2012 settlement, DFG agreed to reduce restrictions on striped bass fishing, but this action was not approved by the state Fish and Game Commission, which regulates hunting and fishing licenses. Most scientists consider that the heavy predation of juvenile salmon moving through the Delta is a symptom of other problems and that increased fishing of predators is unlikely to be very effective in restoring salmon populations (Moyle 2011). 23 The differences reported here are statistically significant at the 90 percent level or higher in two-tailed tests following logit regressions in which action areas are dependent variables, and independent variables are stakeholder group affiliations (Hanak et al. 2013). 24 The correlation coefficient between action choices of the scien- tists and the state-federal government group is highest—between 0.88 and 0.92, depending on how the actions are measured (Hanak et al. 2013). 25 Exporters had the most diverse portfolio of priority action areas (with 73% picking actions in four or five areas, out of a potential of five), and environmental advocates had the least diverse (with only 43% picking four or five action areas). 26 Delta interests’ high score for diversion engineering reflected a preference for reducing entrainment at the export pumps (32%) and screening diversions (18%), not for building a canal or tun- nel (5%) (see Hanak et al. 2013, Table B19). 27 Examples of environmental advocacy publications empha- sizing reduced diversions include Natural Resources Defense Council (2008) and Friends of The River (n.d.). Examples of fish- ing industry positions include Grader (2013) (salmon industry) and Jennings (2011) (sports fishing more generally). 28 For details, see Gray et al. (2013), Table 1. 29 The plan is to be adopted by the DSC in the spring of 2013 and updated every five years. 30 As discussed in Gray et al. (2013), there is some ambiguity in the current statute regarding whether state and local agencies can pursue actions deemed inconsistent with the Delta Plan. The legislature should clarify the DSC’s existing certification authority for these actions. It could explicitly provide that agencies cannot take actions that the DSC has found to be inconsistent with the Delta Plan. Alternatively, it could provide 27 Stress Relief www.ppic.org that all actions must be consistent with the plan but leave it up to the courts to make the ultimate determination. Under this approach, agencies could proceed with actions not certified as consistent, and parties could sue to block such actions as violat- ing the Delta Reform Act. Both approaches are found in other statutory schemes. 31 Because the courts are likely to give significant deference to the council’s expert opinions, agencies may have an incentive to seek the DSC’s opinion on the consistency of their proposed actions with the Delta Plan, even though they would be neither legally obligated to do so nor bound to follow the council’s rec- ommendations. A DSC consistency opinion would help to affirm the agency’s decision. In contrast, an opinion by the council that an action would be inconsistent with the Delta Plan would undermine the agency’s defense of the action in court. 32 The state and regional water boards have begun coordinating the regulation of water quality and flows. The three state and federal fisheries agencies now work jointly on many recom- mendations. USACE and DWR collaborated closely on the latest Central Valley flood plan. FERC is doing more holistic water- shed analysis before permitting hydropower dams. And state and federal pesticide regulators are getting better at providing coherent oversight of different laws related to the use of these products. 33 See State Water Resources Control Board (2012), Appendix K. 34 From an equity standpoint, this is an imperfect solution, because the burden of compliance falls on water diverters, who will have to encourage land users to participate in habitat restoration (even though land users are benefiting from earlier destruction of physical habitat). But it is preferable to simply regulating flows as though other stressors do not exist. 35 Key regulators would include USFWS, NMFS, DFW, USEPA, SWRCB, the Central Valley and San Francisco RWQCBs, USACE, and the DSC. Regulated entity members would include USBR, DWR, CVP and SWP contractors, upstream and in-Delta diverters, representatives of dischargers, and others. Legally, only two entities need to form the JPA; all other members, including federal agencies, can join without being formal signa- tories to the agreement creating the JPA. 36 Moreover, the DSP answers only to the DSC, limiting its relationship to other science programs. 37 Various funding mechanisms could be used, ranging from Delta-specific diversion, discharge, and use fees to statewide water and environmental fees (Hanak et al. 2011). 38 Results are from Baldassare et al. (2012). In regression analy- ses controlling for various factors at once, willingness to pay for additional native fish protection with higher residential water bills increased with education and income and was higher for whites and Latinos than for Asians or African Americans, and higher for renters than owners (who are more likely to directly pay for their water bills). It was also higher for those who con- sider themselves more liberal and more supportive of the idea of paying higher taxes for more government services. Although willingness to pay was not associated with people’s views about whether water supply is a problem in their region, it was lower among residents of two major regions relying on Delta exports— Southern California and especially the San Joaquin Valley. Stress Relief 28 www.ppic.org References Baldassare, M., D. Bonner, S. Petek, and J. Shrestha. 2012. PPIC Statewide Survey: Californian’s and the Future. San Francisco: Public Policy Institute of California. December. Bay Delta Conservation Plan. 2012. Preliminary BDCP Draft . Brown, L. R., W. A. Bennett, R. Wagner, T. Morgan-King, N. Knowles, F. Feyrer, D. Schoellhamer, M. T. Stacey, and M. Dettinger. 2013. “Implications for Future Survival of Delta Smelt from Four Climate Change Scenarios for the Sacramento– San Joaquin Delta, California.” Estuaries and Coasts . DOI 10.1007/s12237-013-9585-4. Carlson, S., and W. Satterthwaite. 2011. “Weak Portfolio Effect in a Collapsed Fish Population Complex.” Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences 68: 1579–89. Cohen, A. N., and J. T. Carlton. 1998. “Accelerating Invasion Rate in a Highly Invaded Estuary,” Science 279: 555–57. Council on Environmental Quality. 2009. Updated Principles and Guidelines for Water and Land Related Resources Implemen- tation Studies . Washington, DC. Delta Independent Science Board. 2011. “Addressing Multiple Stressors and Multiple Goals in the Delta Plan.” Letter report to the Delta Stewardship Council. January 26. Delta Stewardship Council. 2012. Final Draft Delta Plan . Sacramento: State of California (working draft). Available at http://deltacouncil.ca.gov/sites/default/files/documents/files /FinalDraft_DeltaPlan_Chapters_combined21.pdf. Fraser, D. J. 2008. “How Well Can Captive Breeding Programs Conserve Biodiversity? A Review of Salmonids.” Evolutionary Application 1(4): 535–86. Friends of the River. n.d. “A Sustainable Future for Our Rivers?” Available at www.friendsoftheriver.org/site/PageServer ?pagename=FORPublications. Glibert, P. M. 2010. “Long-term Changes in Nutrient Loading and Stoichiometry and Their Relationships with Changes in the Food Web and Dominant Pelagic Fish Species in the San Francisco Estuary, California.” Reviews in Fisheries Science 18(2): 211–32 . Grader, Z. 2013. “Delta Whopper: How Big Water Spins the Science on Water Policy.” February 7. Available at w w w.californiaprogressreport.com/site/delta-whopper-how -big-water-spins-science-water-policy. Gray, B., B. Thompson, E. Hanak, J. Lund, and J. Mount. 2013. Integrated Management of Delta Stressors: Institutional and Legal Options . San Francisco: Public Policy Institute of California. Hanak, E., J. Lund, A. Dinar, B. Gray, R. Howitt, J. Mount, P. Moyle, and B. Thompson. 2011. Managing California’s Water: From Conflict to Reconciliation . San Francisco: Public Policy Institute of California. Hanak, E., J. Lund, B. Thompson, W. B. Cutter, B. Gray, D. Houston, R. Howitt, K. Jessoe, G. Libecap, J. Medellín-Azuara, S. Olmstead, D. Sumner, D. Sunding, B. Thomas, and R. Wilkin- son. 2012. Water and the California Economy . San Francisco: Public Policy Institute of California. Hanak, E., C. Phillips, J. Lund, J. Durand, J. Mount, and P. Moyle. 2013. Scientist and Stakeholder Views on the Delta Ecosystem . San Francisco: Public Policy Institute of California. Hollings, C. S., ed. 1978. Adaptive Environmental Assessment and Management . London: John Wiley and Sons. Jeffres, C. A., J. J. Opperman, and P. B. Moyle. 2008. “Ephemeral Floodplain Habitats Provide Best Growth Conditions for Juvenile Chinook Salmon in a California River.” Environmental Biology of Fishes 83: 449–58. Jennings, B. 2011. “CSPA, Broad Coalition Submit Highly Critical Comments and Issue Press Release on Delta Plan.” Calsport.org. October 2. Available at http://calsport.org/news /cspa-broad-coalition-submit-highly-critical-comments-and -issue-press-release-on-delta-plan/. Kahan, D. 2012. “Why We Are Poles Apart on Climate Change.” Nature 488: 255. Layzer, J. A. 2008. Natural Experiments: Ecosystem-Based Management and the Environment . Cambridge, MA: MIT Press. Lindley, S. T., et al. 2009. “What Caused the Sacramento River Fall Chinook Stock Collapse?” Report to the Pacific Fishery Management Council. Portland, OR. Lund, J., E. Hanak, W. Fleenor, R. Howitt, J. Mount, and P. Moyle. 2 0 0 7. Envisioning Futures for the Sacramento–San Joaquin Delta . San Francisco: Public Policy Institute of California. 29 Stress Relief www.ppic.org Lund, J., E. Hanak, W. Fleenor, W. Bennett, R. Howitt, J. Mount, and P. Moyle. 2010. Comparing Futures for the Sacramento– San Joaquin Delta . Berkeley, CA: University of California Press and Public Policy Institute of California. Medellín-Azuara, J., J. Durand, W. Fleenor, E. Hanak, J. Lund, P. Moyle, and C. Phillips. 2013. Costs of Ecosystem Management Actions for the Sacramento–San Joaquin Delta . San Francisco: Public Policy Institute of California. Miller, W. J., B. F. J. Manly, D. D. Murphy, D. Fullerton, and R. R. Ramey. 2012. “An Investigation of Factors Affecting the Decline of Delta Smelt (Hypomesus transpacificus) in the Sacramento–San Joaquin Estuary.” Reviews in Fisheries Science 20: 1–19. Mount, J. 2011. “The Stockholm Syndrome in Water Planning in California.” californiawaterblog.com. September 27. Mount, J., W. Bennett, J. Durand, W. Fleenor, E. Hanak, J. Lund, and P. Moyle. 2012. Aquatic Ecosystem Stressors in the Sacramento– San Joaquin Delta . San Francisco: Public Policy Institute of California. Moyle, P. 2011. “Striped Bass Control: The Cure Worse Than the Disease?” californiawaterblog.com. January 31. Moyle, P. B., R. D. Baxter, T. Sommer, T. C. Foin, and S. A. Matern. 2004. “Biology and Population Dynamics of Sacramento Splittail ( Pogonichthys macrolepidotus ) in the San Francisco Estuary: A Re v ie w.” San Francisco Estuary and Watershed Science 2(2): 1–47. Moyle, P. B., and W. A. Bennett. 2008. “The Future of the Delta Ecosystem and Its Fish.” Technical Appendix D, Comparing Futures for the Sacramento–San Joaquin Delta . San Francisco: Public Policy Institute of California. Moyle, P. B., W. A. Bennett, W. E. Fleenor, and J. R. Lund. 2010. “Habitat Variability and Complexity in the Upper San Francisco E s t u a r y.” San Francisco Estuary and Watershed Science 8 (3): 1–2 4 . Moyle, P. B. , W. Bennett, J. Durand, W. Fleenor, B. Gray, E. Hanak, J. Lund, and J. Mount. 2012. Where the Wild Things Aren’t: Making the Delta a Better Place for Native Species . San Francisco: Public Policy Institute of California. Moyle, P. B., R. M. Quiñones, and J. D. Kiernan. 2012. “Projected Effects of Future Climates on Freshwater Fishes of California.” California Energy Commission, California Climate Change Center, White Paper CEC-500-2012-028. Moyle, P. B., A. Manfree, and P. L. Fiedler, eds. In press. Suisun: Ecology and Future of California’s Largest Tidal Marsh . Berkeley: UC Press. National Research Council. 2012. Sustainable Water and Environmental Management in the California Bay-Delta . Wa s h- ington, DC: National Academies Press. Natural Resource Defense Council. 2008. “Fish Out of Water.” Available at w w w.nrdc.org/water/conservation/salmon/salmon.pdf. Pires, S. F. and W. D. Moreto. 2011. “Preventing Wildlife Crimes: Solutions That Can Overcome the ‘Tragedy of the Commons.’” European Journal on Criminal Policy and Research 17:101–123. Sommer, T. R., W. C. Harrell, M. Nobriga, R. Brown, P. B. Moyle, W. J. Kimmerer, and L. Schemel. 2001. “California’s Yolo Bypass: Evidence That Flood Control Can Be Compatible with Fish, Wetlands, Wildlife and Agriculture.” Fisheries 58(2): 325–333. State Water Resources Control Board. 2012. “Substitute Envi- ronmental Document in Support of Potential Changes to the Water Quality Control Plan for the Bay-Delta: San Joaquin River Flows and Southern Delta Water Quality” (public draft). Sacramento, CA. Available at www.swrcb.ca.gov/waterrights /water_issues/programs/bay_delta/bay_delta_plan/water _quality_control_planning/2012 _sed/. Walters, C. 2007. “Is Adaptive Management Helping to Solve Fisheries Problems?” Ambio 36(4): 304–307. Water Education Foundation. 2012. Available at w w w.aquafornia .com/wp-content/uploads/2012/07/DeltaOrganizationChart1.pdf. Whipple, A., R. M. Grossinger, D. Rankin, B. Stanford, and R. Askevold. 2012. Sacramento–San Joaquin Delta Historical Ecology Investigation: Exploring Pattern and Process . Richmond, CA: San Francisco Estuary Institute. Williams, J. G. 2006. “Central Valley Salmon: A Perspective on Chinook and Steelhead in the Central Valley of California.” San Francisco Estuary and Watershed Science 4 (3). Stress Relief 30 www.ppic.org About the Authors John Durand is a researcher and doctoral candidate in ecology at the University of California, Davis. William Fleenor is a research engineer in the Civil and Environmental Engineering Department at UC Davis. Brian Gray is a professor of law at the UC Hastings College of Law, San Francisco. Ellen Hanak is a senior fellow and co-director of research at the Public Policy Institute of California. Jay Lund is the Ray B. Krone Professor of Environmental Engineering and director of the Center for Watershed Sciences at UC Davis. Josué Medellín-Azuara is a research scientist at the Center for Watershed Sciences at UC Davis. Jeffrey Mount is a professor emeritus in the Geology Department at UC Davis and a partner in Saracino & Mount, LLC. Peter Moyle is a professor of fish biology in the Department of Wildlife, Fish, and Conservation Biology at UC Davis and associate director of the UC Davis Center for Watershed Sciences. Caitrin Phillips is a research associate at the Public Policy Institute of California. Barton “Buzz” Thompson is the Robert E. Paradise Professor in Natural Resources Law at Stanford Law School and the Perry L. McCarty Director of the Woods Institute for the Environment at Stanford University. Acknowledgments Many people have provided invaluable support to this study, by participating in small brain- storming workshops, completing our formal surveys, responding to requests for information, and reviewing draft reports. We particularly wish to thank the reviewers of this synthesis report and the five detailed reports on which it is based: Celeste Cantú, Cliff Dahm, Greg Gartrell, Ryken Grattet, Joe Grindstaff, Robin Grossinger, Tom Hagler, Bruce Herbold, Ray Hoagland, Mimi Jenkins, Mark Lubell, Dean Misczynski, Tim Quinn, Richard Roos-Collins, Anthony Saracino, Andy Sawyer, Lester Snow, Jan Thompson, Alison Whipple, Terry Young, and one reviewer who wished to remain anonymous. We also thank Patricia Bedrosian, Mary Severance, and Lynette Ubois for editorial advice and Janice Fong for developing the maps. We gratefully acknowledge The Riordan Founda- tion for their support of Caitrin Phillips during her time as a 2012 PPIC summer intern. We alone are responsible for any remaining errors or omissions. www.ppic.org Board of Directors GARY K . H ART, CHAIRFormer State Senator and Secretary of Education State of California MARK BALDASSAREPresident and CEO Public Policy Institute of California RUBEN BARRALESPresident and CEO GROW Elect MAR í A BLANCOVice President, Civic Engagement California Community Foundation BRIGITTE BRENAttorney ROBERT M. HERTzBERGPartner Mayer Brown, LLP W A LT E R B. HEWLETTChair, Board of Directors William and Flora Hewlett Foundation DONNA LUCASChief Executive Officer Lucas Public Affairs M AS MASUMOTOAuthor and farmer STEVEN A. MERKSAMERSenior Partner Nielsen, Merksamer, Parrinello, Gross & Leoni, LLP KIM POLESEChairman ClearStreet, Inc. THOMAS C. SUT TONRetired Chairman and CEO Pacific Life Insurance Company PPIC is a private operating foundation. It does not take or support positions on any ballot measures or on any local, state, or federal legislation, nor does it endorse, support, or oppose any political parties or candidates for public office. PPIC was established in 1994 with an endowment from William R. Hewlett. © 2013 Public Policy Institute of California. All rights reserved. San Francisco, CA Short sections of text, not to exceed three paragraphs, may be quoted without written permission provided that full attribution is given to the source and the above copyright notice is included. Research publications reflect the views of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the staff, officers, or Board of Directors of the Public Policy Institute of California. Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data are available for this publication. I S B N 978 -1-5 8213 -153 -5 PUBLIC POLICY INSTITUTE OF CALIFORNIA 500 Washington Street, Suite 600 San Francisco, California 94111 Telephone 415.291.4400 Fa x 415 . 2 91. 4 4 01 PPIC S ACRAMENTO CENTER Senator Office Building 1121 L Street, Suite 801 Sacramento, California 95814 Telephone 916.440.1120 Fax 916.440.1121 Additional resources related to water policy are available at www.ppic.org. The Public Policy Institute of California is dedicated to informing and improving public policy in California through independent, objective, nonpartisan research." 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