Delta Public Lands Strategy – Guidance for Conservation and Sustainability across the West, Central, and Northeast Delta

Overview

Through 2018, the Delta Conservancy coordinated a public planning process to develop a high-level, integrated conservation strategy for publicly-funded lands in the west, central, and northeast Delta (see map). This collaborative planning process brought together landowners, agencies, and interested stakeholders to develop a high-level strategy for connecting investments in habitat conservation, flood protection and levee improvement, land management, and recreation and tourism to maximize benefits to the Delta ecosystem, regional economy, and water quality. This project was initially called the Central Delta Corridor Partnership.

 

Public Planning Process

A working group of public landowners, agencies, and local experts met six times through 2018 to review conservation plans for publicly-funded lands and conservation principles for the region, guided by prior conservation research and planning for the Delta. Expert and community input was a critical element of the process to develop this strategy. The centerpiece of the process was a one-and-a-half-day design charrette, at which approximately 70 experts, landowners, community members, and agency staff reviewed conservation opportunities and concepts and discussed regional needs and objectives, economic sustainability, and potential constraints and impacts. The charrette was preceded by a community workshop attended by approximately 50 community members.

 

The Results

The public engagement process with Delta landowners and stakeholders, agencies, and experts provided valuable input and guidance that shaped the Delta Public Lands Strategy. The planning process culminated in a comprehensive report (updated 1/22/19) that explores the conservation opportunities on public lands, as well as opportunities for those investments to contribute to other important benefits for the region, including flood management, sustainable agriculture, recreation and tourism, and the regional economy. The Delta Public Lands Strategy includes an example conservation vision that could restore and connect important habitats in the area and provide other valuable regional benefits. The report describes an overall Public Lands Strategy Goal:

Public landowners will coordinate to manage public lands at the landscape scale to improve Delta ecological functions and the overall economic viability of the region.

The report also documents six integrated priorities, for which there was broad agreement among participants:

  1. Protect and enhance desired ecological functions.
  2. Stop and reverse subsidence on deeply subsided islands.
  3. Reduce flood risk.
  4. Demonstrate opportunities and strategies to increase agricultural sustainability.
  5. Protect and enhance Delta water quality and water supply.
  6. Support and improve recreation opportunities and contribute to the regional economy.

 

Public Comment

The Delta Conservancy welcomes public comments on the final draft report until February 18, 2019. Comments may be submitted to:

Delta Public Lands Strategy
1450 Halyard Drive, Suite 6
West Sacramento, CA 95691
contact@deltaconservancy.ca.gov

 

Next Steps

The public landowners see value in continued coordination and adaptation as island and tract plans develop, conditions change, and policies evolve. Therefore, the public landowners intend to continue to work with governing and regulatory organizations, other landowners, and other interested parties to improve implementation approaches toward the following goals:

  • Coordinated actions and investments to maximize resource benefits and achieve implementation efficiencies.
  • Coordinated and simplified review and approval processes for projects that provide multiple benefits for the region.
  • Use of management incentives and public-private partnerships to increase efficiency and effectiveness.
  • Consideration and mitigation of significant adverse impacts that result from actions and investments.
  • Transparency and accountability to reduce conflicts and build support for multi-benefit investments.

The Delta Conservancy intends to continue and sustain the constructive dialogue and coordination necessary for collective action towards the goals and priorities outlined in the Delta Public Lands Strategy. The Delta Conservancy and participating organizations will present the final report to their respective management and governing leaders to seek guidance and support for continued coordination, planning, and implementation.

 

Materials

Delta Public Lands Strategy (updated 1/22/19)

Meeting Summary from the Central Delta Corridor Partnership – Design Charrette (August 8 – August 9, 2018).

Central Delta Corridor Summary Sheet

Presentation form the first Community Meeting – June 5, 2018

Meeting Notes from the first Community Meeting – June 5, 2018

 

Additional Background

The Nature Conservancy (TNC), The Metropolitan Water District of Southern California (MWD), the California Department of Water Resources (DWR), the California Department of Parks and Recreation (DPR), the California Waterfowl Association (CWA), the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), the US Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), and the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) own and manage approximately 50,000 acres of land in the Delta . These entities share many common regional objectives including flood management, agriculture sustainability, and conservation of aquatic, avian and terrestrial resources. In recognition of their capital Delta investments, the historical legacy of the Delta, and the State’s policies to rehabilitate the Delta ecosystem, these entities are seeking to coordinate and assist in collaborative efforts with each other and with interested parties to implement actions that will achieve common goals and objectives. These entities believe that creation and enhancement of wildlife habitat could go hand-in-hand with levee improvements and maintenance, and sustainable agriculture to benefit not only to target species, but also flood protection, water quality and the local economic and social vitality.

The development of the Delta Public Lands Strategy was informed by previous work relating to the corridor and surrounding area, including the San Francisco Estuary Institute’s Aquatic Science Center (SFEI) Delta Renewed project, North Delta Improvements planning, Joint Venture planning, the Conservation Opportunity Region description included in the Delta Conservation Framework, and the Delta Plan. Further, the resulting strategy is a living document that should be reviewed and revised at regular intervals based on learning from actions taken within an adaptive management framework.

For more information on the Delta Public Lands Strategy, please contact the Delta Conservancy at contact@deltaconservancy.ca.gov or (916) 375-2084.


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