Interim Federal Action Plan for the California Bay-Delta

This Interim Federal Action Plan has been developed to further the goals of the California Bay-Delta Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) entered into by six federal agencies on September 29, 2009. The MOU sets out the Obama Administration's vision of a healthy and sustainable Bay-Delta ecosystem that "provides for a high-quality, reliable, and sustainable long-term water supply for California, and restores the environmental integrity and sustainability of the Bay-Delta ecosystem."

The six federal agencies involved include the Department of the Interior, Department of Commerce, Department of Agriculture (USDA), Department of the Army, Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and the Council on Environmental Quality. The agencies established the Federal Leadership Committee to coordinate the Federal response to the California water crisis and to facilitate a partnership with the State of California in addressing California’s water supply and environmental challenges. The MOU also committed the Committee to develop this expedited Interim Action Plan.

The Sacramento/San Joaquin River Delta-San Francisco Bay Estuary (Bay-Delta) is among the most important estuary ecosystems in the nation. The Bay-Delta is also the hub of the nation’s largest water delivery system, providing drinking water to 25 million Californians. The ecosystem sustains about $400 billion of annual economic activity, including a $28 billion agricultural industry and a robust set of recreational opportunities. (Stats from: Fact Sheet, Office of the Governor, State of California,

According to the report, the Bay-Delta is in crisis. After decades of steep and steady decline, the ecosystem has reached a point of collapse, with some imperiled fish species at all-time low population levels and threats from climate change and associated sea-level rise, seismic risks, and other stressors - such as pesticides, pollutant discharges, and invasive species - underscoring the system’s vulnerability.

With this Interim Action Plan, the Federal agencies are describing in a single document a variety of Federal actions and investments that the Administration is undertaking in a coordinated fashion to help address California’s current water supply and ecological crises. The Federal Leadership Committee will be actively monitoring short, mid-term and long-term needs and developments. The report states that the most important aspect of the Interim Action Plan is the Federal Government’s reaffirmation of its partnership with the State of California and local authorities, and its commitment to coordinate its actions with those of the State and local authorities.




Publication Date: December 2009

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