(A response to the release of "Sustainable Water and Environmental Management in the California Bay-Delta" by the National Research Council of The National Academies.)
The report by the National Research Council is excellent news for anyone interested in a solution to California's ecosystem and water supply crisis. This broad-ranging report focused on water and environmental management in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta. The report makes clear the need for a multi-faceted approach toward solving environmental challenges that limit the water supply for millions of Californians and millions of acres of farmland.
* Multiple stressors are negatively impacting fish populations in the Delta. Addressing these stressors collectively gives the Delta a better chance for recovery. The report lists a declining habitat, predators, invasive species, water quality and ocean conditions as significant factors that put strain on the Delta.
* Focusing on a single stressor, such as reducing water deliveries to farms, homes and businesses, will not resolve the fish population problem. An approach toward multiple stressors must be undertaken to enable a rebound in fish populations and a return to water supply reliability for people.
* More study in several areas relating to the water and environmental management of the Delta water must be conducted. Those activities are currently underway through the Bay Delta Conservation Plan and the Delta Stewardship Council and must be continued.
* In addition to science, socioeconomic considerations and political engagement are necessary for success. Water that flows through the Delta is delivered to 25 million Californians and to millions of acres of farmland that produce a safe and healthy food supply. Ignoring the benefits that a dependable water supply provides all of California will continue to delay the state's badly needed economic recovery.