Delta Water Quality
About the Sacramento-San Joaquin Watershed
The Delta watershed extends nearly 500 miles from the Cascade Range in the north to the Tehachapi Mountains in the south, and is bounded by the Sierra Mountain Range to the east and the Coast Range to the west. The watershed includes the largest estuary on the west coast of North and South America and the only inland Delta in the world—the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta (Delta). Nearly half of the surface water in California starts as rain or snow and flows downstream through the Delta and out to the Pacific Ocean through the Golden Gate Strait. The Delta Watershed Initiative Network (WIN) focuses on the subwatersheds within the legal Delta.
About the Delta Watershed Initiative Network (Delta WIN)
Good water quality is vital to key beneficial uses of water such as for drinking water, fish and wildlife, agriculture and recreational activities. Delta waterways are impaired by multiple pollutants including salinity, pathogens, pesticides, metals, mercury, nutrients, and invasive species. A myriad of agencies and organizations monitor and work to improve water quality in the Delta. Delta WIN takes a watershed approach and works to coordinate and facilitate a regional network of locally initiated projects to leverage resources to realize the ecological benefits of healthy watersheds.
Delta WIN’s main areas of focus include, coordinating water quality monitoring and implementing of best management practices (BMPs), data integration, environmental education, and wildlife stewardship.
(Delta WIN Web Approach)
A critical component of Delta WIN is sharing data and information to ensure that data integration and infrastructure advance the use of scientific data to help with natural resource management. To advance this goal, “Delta Environmental Data for the Understanding of a California Estuary (DEDUCE)”, is creating an estuary-wide data repository by expanding the existing San Francisco Bay Regional Data Center to include water quality data from the Delta. This effort is building on existing efforts, integrating Delta science in a transparent manner, accelerating the discovery of new information, and enhancing communication of these discoveries. This project is accomplishing these actions through increasing access to accurate, accessible and synthesized data for scientists, decision makers and the public.
Coordinating Water Quality Monitoring
Water quality monitoring provides information about the physical, chemical, and biological characteristics and health of a water body. Monitoring data is synthesized to understand current conditions in the watershed, screen for potential pollution problems, and inform adaptive management decisions and best management practices or identify data gaps.
Stone Lake National Wildlife Refuge
Through Delta WIN, the Conservancy is collaborating with Stone Lakes National Wildlife Refuge (Refuge) to coordinate water quality monitoring. The Refuge contains over 1,000 acres of managed permanent and seasonal wetlands and provides vital habitat for migratory birds and resident plants and wildlife. Good water quality is essential to the health of the plants and wildlife that use Refuge waters, and to ensure continued opportunities for recreation related to wildlife viewing. The objective of this monitoring effort is to determine the current water quality conditions and to determine trends in water quality for scientifically based watershed management decisions.
Implementation of Best Management Practices
Many water quality problems can be addressed through Best Management Practices (BMPs). BMPs are techniques, measures, or structural controls that can be implemented to protect, restore, or improve water quality before runoff reaches the main water system. For more information about common BMPs, visit the US Department of Agriculture and UC Davis websites.