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Delta Conservation Framework


Delta Conservation Framework 2017-2050

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife is working with federal, state, and local agencies, and the Delta stakeholder community to develop a high-level conservation framework for the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, Yolo Bypass and Suisun Marsh. Building on prior Delta planning efforts, the Delta Conservation Framework will serve as the long-term continuation of link opens in new windowCalifornia EcoRestore, a recent link opens in new windowCalifornia Natural Resources Agency led Delta restoration implementation initiative. The Delta Conservation Framework will be completed in 2018 and will guide Delta conservation efforts to 2050.

Thank you for providing comments on the public draft of the Delta Conservation Framework. The comment period is now closed.

We appreciate the interest and feedback received. We will incorporate the input provided as best as possible into the final document.

The final document will be posted on this website in early 2018.

Delta Conservation Framework Public Draft Documents (9/26/2017) are available for download below.

Printed copies are also available at the following Delta libraries: Courtland, Clarksburg, Walnut Grove, Isleton, and Rio Vista.

Please find materials from our recent Delta Conservation Framework public draft review workshops below.

  • November 16, 2017, 6:00 - 8:00 p.m,

sandhill crane with wings extended


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:

  1. Serve as the long-term continuation of the California Natural Resource Agency's California EcoRestore initiative;
  2. Provide a shared vision and overarching goals for Delta conservation;
  3. Offer a forum for collaborative engagement and broad buy in;
  4. Inform the amendment of the ecosystem elements of the Delta Plan;
  5. Lay out a path for integrating stakeholder concerns into landscape scale goal setting and regional conservation strategies;
  6. Acknowledge challenges, potential regulatory conflicts, and other barriers to conservation project implementation;
  7. Solicit and integrate local, state, and federal agency feedback to ensure alignment with Habitat Conservation Plans/Natural Community Conservation Plans and other conservation opportunities;
  8. 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.


view of central Isleton ©Christina Sloop
Central Delta Community

aerial view of agriculture fields and highway ©Christina Sloop
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:

  1. Integration of Delta community and conservation goals
  2. Preservation, enhancement, restoration, and adaptive management of the function of Delta ecosystems.

Multi Benefit DiagramEcosystem Function - 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.

Biophysical benefits 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.

waterfowl and tule sedge in shallow flooded fields
Yolo Bypass Wildlife Area Recreation and Working Landscape

motorboat pulling people of floating watercraft in river
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 link opens in new windowDelta 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.

aerial view of field crops divded by serpentine water channel
Delta Agriculture and Leveed Channel

aerial view of barrier stretched across water channel
2015 Temporary Salinity Barrier Installed in Response to Sustained California Drought

Thank You for Your Participation in the Delta Conservation Framework Workshop Series

Your input and recommendations throughout the workshops provided us with invaluable contributions to the Delta Conservation Framework document. 

salt marsh harvest mouse

Beginning in June 2016 the link opens in new windowDelta Restoration Network  held a series of six public meetings/workshops to capture input and feedback from the Delta stakeholder community and inform the development of the central elements of the Delta Conservation Framework. These elements include the Delta Conservation Framework purpose, vision, principles, goals, and strategies that address the need for: 

  1. Integration of conservation, agriculture and community goals,
  2. Conservation of ecosystem processes to promote function, and
  3. Addressing conservation implementation challenges and establishing good-neighbor practices.

Workshop Materials for Download

Introductory Meeting - June 28, 2016

Workshop 1 - August 18, 2016

Workshop 2 - September 21, 2016

Workshop 3 - October 20, 2016

Workshop 4a - November 30, 2016

Workshop 4b - December 1, 2016

people looking at papers in a meeting August 2016 workshop stakeholders

September 2016 workshop stakeholders October 2016 workshop stakeholders

November 2016 Workshop Stakeholders 

Delta stakeholders participating in the public workshop series.

CDFW Water Branch
830 S Street, Sacramento, CA 95811
(916) 445-8576