The Delta Conservation Framework will guide long-term implementation of strategies and related actions for Delta conservation and stakeholder integration and the protection, enhancement, restoration, and adaptive management of Delta ecosystems and their ecological functions to benefit human and natural communities.
The Delta Conservation Framework will:
- Serve as the long-term continuation of the California Natural Resource Agency's California EcoRestore initiative;
Provide a shared vision and overarching goals for Delta conservation;
- Offer a forum for collaborative engagement and broad buy in;
- Inform the amendment of the ecosystem elements of the Delta Plan;
- Lay out a path for integrating stakeholder concerns into landscape scale goal setting and regional conservation strategies;
- Acknowledge challenges, potential regulatory conflicts, and other barriers to conservation project implementation;
- Solicit and integrate local, state, and federal agency feedback to ensure alignment with Habitat Conservation Plans/Natural Community Conservation Plans and other conservation opportunities;
- Inform State funding priorities.
Vision for a Dynamic Delta
We envision the future Delta as a mosaic of towns, agricultural landscapes, managed wetlands, and resilient ecosystems where people prosper and healthy fish, wildlife, and plant communities thrive.
Central Delta Community
Yolo Bypass Wildlife Area – An example of Multi-benefit Land Use
Desired Conservation Benefits
Implementation goals of the Delta Conservation Framework are focused on achieving desired conservation and Delta community benefits by:
Ecosystem Function -
- Integration of Delta community and conservation goals
- Preservation, enhancement, restoration, and adaptive management of the function of Delta ecosystems.
The magnitude of expected changes and major associated uncertainties in the future require us to focus Delta conservation practices on the improvement or reestablishment of ecological processes. This will nurture ecosystem resilience in the face of continued pressures.
Delta Community and Agricultural benefit
include agricultural sustainability, low-impact recreation and tourism, including fishing, hunting, bird watching, and flood protection.
include natural functional flows, improved water quality, subsidence reversal, and carbon sequestration.
Ecological benefits contain natural communities dominated by native species, self-sustaining populations of special status species, expanding total available habitat and patch size for targeted species and communities, improving connectivity, and reestablishing mosaics of complementary habitat types.
Multiple-outcome benefits result from projects that promote strategies that combine biophysical, ecological, and Delta community benefits. Examples include wildlife-friendly farming and low-impact outdoor recreation including boating, birding, fishing, and hunting.
Yolo Bypass Wildlife Area Recreation and Working Landscape
Delta Water Recreation
A Transformed Delta
In the past 150 years, Delta ecosystems were altered such that meandering channels were straightened, vast and fertile floodplains were converted for agricultural use, and steep rip-rapped levees were built, where lush riparian forests used to be. As a result, Delta habitat for native California fish, wildlife, and plant species was lost or severely degraded. A number of California native species are now on the brink of extinction, and degraded ecosystems are increasingly dominated by non-native invasive species and impacted by pollution. The Delta Transformed publication provides an account of how the Delta has changed.
An aging Delta levee system is of concern to ensure sustained flood protection of Delta communities, and climate change promises to put additional stresses on ecosystems, such as increasing sea levels and extreme weather events, including sustained drought, and severe storms.
California EcoRestore and the long-term Delta Conservation Framework are aimed at reversing this trend of loss and degradation to increase Delta ecosystem health and resilience. The idea is to protect and restore functional ecosystems not only to provide habitat for native plant and animal communities, but also to secure the natural services that benefit people, such as clean water, open space, recreational opportunities and flood protection.
Delta Agriculture and Leveed Channel
2015 Temporary Salinity Barrier Installed in Response to Sustained California Drought