Instream Flow in Delta Tributaries Workshop

On December 2, 2014 the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta Conservancy hosted a public workshop on the role of instream flow in creating healthy riverine ecosystems in tributaries to the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta. The workshop was held from 9 a.m.-12:30 p.m. in the auditorium of the DGS Ziggurat Building on 707 3rd St. in West Sacramento, CA. Please click here for the workshop Flyer and Agenda.

The workshop focused on current efforts in the tributary watersheds and information that could be used in future efforts to improve and maintain the riverine ecosystems of the Delta. Based on surveys and conversations that Conservancy staff had with attendees, the workshop successfully provided the audience with a better understanding of the many challenges of instream flow in Delta tributaries. The vigorous panel discussion also spurred debate about possible solutions and allowed diverse stakeholders to explore potential for common ground. One of the panelists, John Kingsbury, concluded “we need to build relationships and build trust, and that does not come easily because of our past,” but, he said “we’re all in this together.”

Four representatives from the State, water agencies, and a nongovernmental organization gave presentations. Below, you will find information about each of the four presentations including a presentation summary, a professional biography of the speaker, and a link to the presentation slideshow. Disclaimer: The views expressed by the speakers are their own and do not necessarily represent the views or policies of the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta Conservancy.

Presentation 1

Title: Phase 4 of the Bay-Delta Effort: Development of Flow Objectives for Priority Bay-Delta Watershed Tributaries

Presenter: Daniel Schultz, Public Trust Unit Chief, State Water Resources Control Board

Presentation Summary: Mr. Schultz discussed Phase 4 of the State Water Resource Control Board’s Comprehensive Bay-Delta Effort. As part of Phase 4, the State Water Board is developing non-binding flow criteria and regulatory flow objectives to protect public trust resources and beneficial uses of water. The program will address priority tributaries to the Sacramento‐San Joaquin Delta watershed with a focus on the Sacramento River watershed.

Professional Biography: Daniel Schultz is a Senior Environmental Scientist with the State Water Resources Control Board in the Division of Water Rights. He has worked for the Division since 2010 and currently serves as the Chief of the Public Trust Unit, whose primary task is the development and implementation of flow criteria and flow objectives for priority tributaries to the Sacramento River watershed. Daniel earned his B.S. in Forestry and Natural Resources with a concentration in Hydrology from California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo. Previously, he worked for 10 years as a seasonal hydrologist for the US Forest Service on the Tahoe National Forest, where he conducted basin-wide stream condition assessments.

Presentation 2

Title: Challenges of Instream Flow: Effects on all Beneficial Uses

Presenter: John Herrick, Esq., General Manager, South Delta Water Agency

Presentation Summary: Mr. Herrick discussed flows in the South Delta and the San Joaquin River, salinity incursion, the impacts of the Central Valley Project, instream flows for the purpose of protecting fish, regulations concerning water quality and flow standards, and water rights decisions.

Professional Biography: John Herrick has served as the general counsel for the South Delta Water Agency since 1994 and his practice now concentrates on water issues. John was born and raised near Lodi, California, where his family was involved in farming. John served in the U.S. Navy and then graduated with a BA in history in 1981 from California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo. He later received a juris doctorate from the McGeorge School of Law in 1988. His original legal practice was general business, property, and litigation. John is a Director on numerous local boards dealing with water, reclamation, and flood issues.

Presentation 3

Title: A View from the Top: Watershed Challenges and Opportunities for a Sustainable Delta

Presenter: John Kingsbury, Executive Director, Mountain Counties Water Resources Association

Presentation Summary: Mr. Kingsbury addressed the connection between the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta and the Sierra Nevada watersheds that serve as the starting point for much of the Delta’s water supply. Mr. Kingsbury further discussed beneficial uses of water, California’s water supply system, problems currently facing the Delta, and the severity of the current drought.

Professional Biography: John Kingsbury has been the Executive Director of the Mountain Counties Water Resources Association since March 2011. The Association advocates for the water interests of its members in all or a portion of 15 counties from the southern tip of Lassen County down to Fresno. Previously, John worked 10½ years for the Placer County Water Agency as the Director of Customer Services and 12½ years for the El Dorado Irrigation District as the Customer Services Manager. John has lived in the Sierra Nevada Foothill community of Placerville since 1979. Throughout his career, John has worked with statewide and regional organizations that monitor and influence regulatory and legislative matters of critical interest to water purveyors. He has participated on various regional and statewide committees and currently serves a member of the Rising Hill Road, Community Services District, Board of Directors.

Presentation 4

Title: Creating Healthy Aquatic Ecosystems through the Clean Water Act

Presenter: Linda Sheehan, Executive Director, Earth Law Center

Presentation Summary: Ms. Sheehan discussed the challenges facing Delta waterways, dependent aquatic species, and the lack of adequate instream flow. Ms. Sheehan explained how the federal Clean Water Act (CWA) provides important, under-utilized tools to enhance flows for waterways and fish and to protect water quantity, which is an essential component of water quality.

Professional Biography: Attorney Linda Sheehan is Executive Director of Earth Law Center, which advocates for recognition in law of the inherent rights of the natural world to exist, thrive, and evolve, including the rights of waterways to flow. Linda holds a B.S. in chemical engineering from MIT, an M.P.P. from the University of California, Berkeley’s Goldman School of Public Policy, and a J.D. from the Berkeley School of Law. Previously, Linda worked to protect California’s waterways and ocean habitats as Executive Director of the California Coastkeeper Alliance, and as the Pacific Region Director of the Ocean Conservancy. She is a member of the Commission on Environmental Law for the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), and is a regular Summer Faculty at Vermont Law School. She has contributed to several law books and was recognized in 2009 as a “California Coastal Hero” for her efforts to fight pollution.

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