Delta Conservancy January Board Meeting
The next Conservancy Board meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, January 27, 2021, from 9:00 a.m. until 1:00 p.m.
NOTICE RE: BOARD MEETING
Pursuant to Executive Order N-29-20 Board members, staff, and the public may participate remotely. The public may observe, provide public comment during the public comment periods, and otherwise observe remotely in accordance with the Bagley-Keene Open Meetings Act. Questions and public comment can be addressed to firstname.lastname@example.org prior to and during the meeting. If you have not used the Zoom teleconference platform before, you will be prompted to download an application. This is quick and there is no cost.
Thank you for your understanding as we adjust our operations to protect public health while continuing our important work.
Delta Science Proposal Solicitation Notice
Accepting Letters of Intent
November 9, 2020
The Delta Stewardship Council (Council), through its Delta Science Program, and the United States Bureau of Reclamation (USBR) are now accepting Letters of Intent for high-quality social and biophysical science studies in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta that advance the 2017-2021 Science Action Agenda. This solicitation is expected to result in up to $9 million in awards for research projects with direct management relevance. Two proposal categories will be considered: (1) Research Awards and (2) Integrated Socio-Ecological Systems Awards. The Council is partnering with California Sea Grant for the proposal submission, review process, and stakeholder engagement of funded work. The Proposal Solicitation Notice is now available on the California Sea Grant webpage. A non-competitive Letter of Intent is required by December 15, 2020. Full proposals are due February 12, 2021.
Reflecting on the Delta, Delta Week 2020
By Senator Bill Dodd
It’s hard to overstate the importance of our Delta to the people of California. Not only is it the lifeblood of our water supply, critical for drinking and agriculture, but it supports a vibrant ecosystem in one of the largest estuaries in North America.
Keeping it healthy over the years amid environmental and human-caused challenges has been a priority of its many stewards including the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta Conservancy and the Delta Protection Commission.
Two years ago, I teamed with both agencies to highlight threats to the precious waterway by designating seven days each September as Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta Week. We kicked it off with an organized cleanup in which hundreds of volunteers descended on the region, removing tons of garbage from designated wetland areas.
Unfortunately, the coronavirus pandemic is preventing us from gathering again this year to mark Delta Week’s third anniversary. The risk of infection is too great. However, individual, self-guided cleanups are planned and educational initiatives will play out on social media.
Because even though we are not scouring shorelines and trudging across tidal marshes this year to fish out discarded tires and rusted old appliances, protecting the Delta remains vitally important. Awareness is key.
Simply put, the Delta is an ecological wonder of global significance. And it is threatened on multiple fronts. Climate change is reducing the amount of fresh water coming into the estuary, upsetting fish and bird populations. At the same time, sea level rise and historic farming practices have caused the Delta region to sink below sea level.
So much is riding on protecting a region that provides water to more than 25 million Californians and 3 million acres of agricultural land. It’s a habitat for more than 750 species of plants and wildlife as well as more than 55 species of fish.
It provides migratory waterfowl an important stop on the Pacific Flyway. Each year, the world-class recreational destination attracts nearly 12 million visitors.
And it’s home to more than 500,000 people with 200,000 jobs, contributing more than $35 billion annually to the state’s economy.
Suffice it to say, the Delta is important. So while we may not be reading a proclamation this year in the Legislature or gathering in groups to volunteer, I encourage everyone to take a moment to reflect on the Delta and if possible, go out on your own to do your part. Officially, Delta Week kicked off with individual cleanup Sept. 26, but I urge you to get out over the next few days and do what you can. Remember to wear your face mask.
The pandemic and record wildfires have made this a challenging year. I’m hopeful things will be better in 2021. I look forward to seeing you then, in the Delta.
Senator Bill Dodd represents the 3rd Senate District, which includes all or portions of Napa, Yolo, Sonoma, Solano, Sacramento and Contra Costa counties. More information on Senator Bill Dodd can be found at www.senate.ca.gov/dodd.
In Recognition of Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta Week 2020
By Campbell Ingram, Executive Officer, Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta Conservancy
This week marks the third annual Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta Week, in which we celebrate the crucial role of the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta in California’s economy and environment. While so many things around us have suffered setbacks due to the impacts of COVID-19 and California wildfires, we at the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta Conservancy think it is still important to recognize Delta Week and the work that is pushing forward. We are proud of the efforts still progressing to preserve, protect, and restore the Delta, including the advancements of our Delta Carbon Program.
It is an exciting time in the Delta with more landowners, public and private, converting to land use practices that stop subsidence and the carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions that are caused by subsidence. When the highly-organic peat soils in the deeply-subsided areas of the Delta are drained for agriculture, microbes take advantage of the oxygen in the system and digest the peat. The byproduct is CO2 that volatizes into the atmosphere. This oxidation results in subsidence and is the reason there are islands in the Delta that are 25 feet or more below sea level. Fortunately, subsidence can be stopped simply by re-saturating the soil, and better still the carbon market can provide a revenue stream that can be a strong incentive to make these changes.
The American Carbon Registry (ACR), a registry for the voluntary carbon market, approved a protocol for the Delta that allows landowners to re-saturate the land and grow rice, or allow the natural wetland vegetation, tule reeds, to cover the land. These managed wetlands stop subsidence and carbon emissions, and the protocol provides a method for quantifying the CO2 emissions reduction and certifying carbon offsets that then can be traded on the voluntary market.
Recently ACR certified the first wetland carbon offsets, the first time this has been done anywhere globally. The Department of Water Resources (DWR) and the Delta Conservancy used the protocol to evaluate three managed wetland projects, totaling 1,700 acres. The resulting offsets were verified by a third-party auditor, a requirement of the protocol, and certified. This will allow DWR to either sell the offsets for revenue (approximately $60/acre/year) or retire the offsets to count toward their carbon emission reduction goals. While the value of the credits, about $60/acre, may not be the most compelling incentive today, the market is expected to grow. Additionally, if a farmer chooses to grow rice the carbon revenue is on top of the rice production revenue, which is significantly higher than most of the commodities currently grown in the region.
There are also habitat benefits from converting to managed wetlands and rice cultivation: both improve biodiversity by supporting birds, waterfowl, amphibians, and aquatic invertebrates.
This win, win, win opportunity is attracting attention! We have been working with several public and private landowners and expect that in the next two to three years between 4,000 and 5,000 acres will be converted to rice or managed wetlands. The Delta Conservancy and our team of consultants and carbon market experts is working to provide technical assistance to help these landowners connect their projects to the carbon market.
As California continues to display resilience in the face of many current challenges, Delta Week 2020 is a reminder of what the efforts of the Delta community can accomplish for our region!
If you have questions about this program, please reach out to Campbell Ingram, Executive Officer of the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta Conservancy: email@example.com.
Notice RE: Office Closure
The Delta Conservancy office is closed due to COVID-19 related directives and orders from state and local agencies to prevent the spread of the virus. Staff are working remotely. You may email or call staff as usual, but responses to telephone messages may be slightly delayed. You may also reach us at our general email firstname.lastname@example.org and mail telephone (916) 375-2084.
All Californians are encouraged to follow the advice of the California Department of Public Health and local health agencies to prevent the spread of the virus.