Friday, March 15, 2013 The CSAC Bulletin
Bay Delta Conservation Plan: Preliminary Draft Roll-Out
This week, the California Natural Resources Agency started its three staged process for the release of the preliminary draft of the Bay Delta Conservation Plan (BDCP). 

The first four chapters were posted yesterday on the BDCP website with Chapters 5-7 scheduled for release on March 27 and Chapters 8-12 being released during the week of April 22. Each release will be followed by a public meeting. As a “preliminary” draft, this version of the BDCP does not take the place of the formal “public review” process which is expected to be announced later this year. Drafts of the Environmental Impact Report (EIR) and Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) are expected to be released in late spring.

As implied by its name, the BDCP is a conservation plan for the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta. It is intended to help meet California's co-equal goals to restore the Delta ecosystem and provide more reliable water supplies for Delta water users in a manner that protects and enhances the unique values of the Delta as an evolving place. 

The BDCP proposes to accomplish these goals by constructing new infrastructure that will substantially change how water is conveyed and managed in the Delta. This infrastructure includes a new diversion facility in the north Delta and two tunnels to carry the water under the Delta, as well as over 100,000 acres of habitat restoration. The BDCP will serve as the regulatory vehicle for project proponents to agree to implement a suite of habitat restoration measures, other stressor reduction activities, and water operations criteria in return for regulatory agency approval of the necessary long-term permits. The plan, once finalized and approved, would be implemented over a 50-year time frame. A fact sheet comparing the above-ground, 43-mile peripheral canal proposed in the early 1980s to the BDCP proposal for 35 miles of underground tunnels is available here.

CSAC will continue to keep counties informed regarding the progress of this process. Counties interested in CSAC policy on State Water Proposals may view it here. This policy direction will form the basis for CSAC’s future comments on the public review draft once made available.

The BDCP will be addressed during CSAC’s 2013 Legislative Conference. Jerry Meral, the Deputy Secretary of the California Natural Resources Agency in charge of the BDCP Program has been invited to the opening General Session on Wednesday, May 29.