Draft Strategic Plan and Other Program Materials

This Draft Strategic Plan (Plan) provides an overview of the proposed “Agreements to Support Healthy Rivers and Landscapes” Program (Program). The Plan provides additional details on the flow and non-flow measures included in the March 29, 2022, Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to Advance the Term Sheet for the Voluntary Agreements Program (Appendix A), including when and how those measures would be implemented, and their accounting.

The Program will involve a series of legal agreements, including a Global Agreement, Implementing Agreements, and Enforcement Agreements. These agreements (defined further in the Draft Strategic Plan) will establish the habitat restoration and flow actions, rights, and obligations of various parties with respect to the Program.

Three additional appendices to the Plan outline the governance and science activities, the primary purposes of which are to maximize ecological benefits of the flow and non-flow measures and to provide accountability and transparency to regulatory agencies and the public. Parties to the agreements will update these documents as necessary following the State Water Resources Control Board public review process, including addressing comments received.

The Draft VA Governance Program (Appendix B) describes the principles, entities, and roles and responsibilities of those entities under the Program, which include transparency, collaboration, science-based decision making, and a consensus-seeking approach. The document outlines the governance entities that will be engaged in planning and decision making related to many flow and non-flow measures (i.e., habitat restoration), including a Systemwide Governance Committee and Tributary/Delta Governance Entities. The Governance Program will direct Systemwide Measures, make recommendations regarding the deployment of Tributary/Delta Measures, conduct assessments, update the strategic plan, develop annual reports, and implement a systemwide science program.

The Draft Science Plan (Appendix C) provides the framework and comprehensive approach for evaluating the outcomes of the flow and non-flow measures, with the ultimate aim of informing the State Water Board’s assessment of the Program. The Science Plan includes a set of hypotheses and associated monitoring for evaluating the outcomes of various measures and addresses several important and broad-scale ecosystem management questions. This document provides guidance to the VA Science Committee as it develops recommendations for additional monitoring, active experiments, decision support tools, and data analyses needed to fill knowledge gaps, assess the outcomes of the suite of measures, and inform ongoing and future decision making.

Appendix D details a non-exhaustive list of habitat restoration projects that potentially may be credited under early implementation, pending testing and refinement of the non-flow measure accounting, as described in the draft Strategic Plan.

For more information about the State Water Resources Control Board effort to update the Bay-Delta Water Quality Control Plan, please visit this link. More information about the State Water Board’s consideration of the proposed voluntary agreements is available here. For information on how to comment on the Water Board’s staff report on potential updates to the Bay-Delta Water Quality Control Plan, please visit this link.