In response to the release today of the California Resources Agency Highlights report on the status of the Bay Delta Conservation Plan (BDCP), The Nature Conservancy underscored that “the BDCP process in tandem with the Delta Stewardship Council offers perhaps the best chance to restore the ailing Delta ecosystem, and provide a more sustainable future for the Delta and California water supplies.”
“Today the Delta ecosystem is on the verge of ecological collapse,” said Anthony Saracino, director of the Water Programs for The Nature Conservancy in California. “The problems in the Delta are complex and include inadequate flows, invasive species, pollution, water diversions and habitat destruction. Less than twenty percent of the area’s wetland, floodplain and riparian habitat remain.”
“A future anything like the status quo in the Delta would be disastrous for the environment and ultimately threaten future water supply reliability for millions of Californians. The Bay Delta Conservation Plan and the ongoing work of the Delta Stewardship Council offer just about the only hope of saving salmon and other native fisheries in the Delta. An integrated approach to address the issues of delta flows, habitat loss, and other stressors is critical and supported by all of the scientific studies to date. The BDCP is far from perfect and has a long way to go, but is the most effective tool we have for fixing the Delta. Ultimately, the BDCP and the Delta Plan are aimed at a more sustainable future for the Delta and California water supplies.
It is critical to build upon more than four years of work on the BDCP to date, and we applaud the work of many stakeholders and strongly support the efforts of Secretary Salazar, Governor Schwarzenegger, Secretary Snow and incoming Governor Brown to help drive a creative consensus that is ultimately in the interest of all Californians.”
The state’s report outlines the progress BDCP has made in addressing one of California's most challenging environmental and economic crises. To date, the BDCP has resulted in a strategic approach that aims to restore the Delta’s ecosystem while also providing for reliable water supplies. However, much work remains to be done, including completion of critical economic, engineering and environmental analysis. TNC underscored that it is imperative for the BDCP process to include the active involvement of local government and Delta stakeholders to meet co-equal objectives.
Over the past 15 years, The Nature Conservancy has protected 25,000 acres of Delta stream and riverside habitat that is crucial to the survival of more than 250 fish and wildlife species.
It has also been deeply engaged in Delta planning efforts, studies and policy, including the Bay Delta Conservation Plan, Delta Vision and the historic water legislation package of 2009.
For more information on The Nature Conservancy and its work in the Delta, call Vanessa Martin at 916-233-6733 or visit nature.org.
The Nature Conservancy is a leading conservation organization working around the world to protect ecologically important lands and waters for nature and people. The Conservancy and its more than 1 million members have protected nearly 120 million acres worldwide. Visit The Nature Conservancy on the Web at www.nature.org.