San Francisco Bay/Sacramento – San Joaquin Delta Estuary (Bay-Delta) Watershed Efforts

Bay-Delta Plan Update

Protecting the Bay-Delta watershed and its many beneficial uses is one of the State Water Board’s primary responsibilities and top priorities.  The State Water Board is responsible for adopting and updating the Water Quality Control Plan for the San Francisco Bay/Sacramento–San Joaquin Delta Estuary (Bay-Delta Plan), which establishes water quality control measures and flow requirements needed to provide reasonable protection of beneficial uses in the watershed. The State Water Board is now engaged in urgent efforts to address prolonged and precipitous declines of native aquatic species in the Bay-Delta and the ecosystem they depend upon.

The Bay-Delta Plan is being updated through two separate processes (Plan amendments).

  • First, on December 12, 2018, through State Water Board Resolution No. 2018-0059, the State Water Board adopted the Plan amendments and Final SED establishing the Lower San Joaquin River flow objectives and revised southern Delta salinity objectives. On February 25, 2019, the Office of Administrative Law approved the Plan amendments, which are now in effect.
  • Second, the State Water Board is also considering Plan amendments focused on the Sacramento River and its tributaries, Delta eastside tributaries (including the Calaveras, Cosumnes, and Mokelumne rivers), Delta outflows, and interior Delta flows.

This web page is intended to keep the public and other interests that depend on the Bay Delta system for agriculture, commerce, recreation and environmental uses updated on the latest environmental and regulatory documents related to Bay-Delta planning that are being developed and considered by the Board.

Below, please find important links to the newest information pertaining to the Bay-Delta watershed efforts that are now underway, as well links to a more complete record of historical information. Related to the Bay-Delta Plan update and implementation process, the California Natural Resources Agency is currently engaged in an effort to develop proposed voluntary agreements with various water users in the watershed. Information regarding the proposed voluntary agreements process is available here.

Biological Goals

  • Notice of Availability for Public Review and Comment
  • Draft Initial Biological Goals for the Lower San Joaquin River
  • Select references used for development of the Draft Initial Biological Goals are available on request
    • Conservation Planning Foundation for Restoring Chinook Salmon (Onchorhynchus tshawytscha) and O. mykiss in Stanislaus River
    • Developing Biological Goals for the Bay-Delta Plan: Concepts and Ideas from an Independent Science Advisory Panel
    • Proposed Interim Delta Salmonid Survival Objectives
  • New Comments Received on the Draft Initial Biological Goals for the Lower San Joaquin River. If you would like a copy of the below comments, please contact
    • Bradley Cavallo, Cramer Fish Sciences
    • California Department of Fish and Wildlife
    • California Sportfishing Protection Alliance, California Water Impact Network, and AquAlliance
    • California Water Research
    • Merced Irrigation District
    • Modesto Irrigation District, Turlock Irrigation District, and the City and County of San Francisco
    • Natural Resources Defense Council
    • North Coast Rivers Alliance, California Sportfishing Protection Alliance, and San Francisco Crab Boat Owners Association
    • Northern California Water Association
    • Restore the Delta
    • San Francisco Baykeeper, The Bay Institute, The Nature Conservancy, Sierra Club California, and California Sportfishing Protection Alliance
    • San Joaquin Tributaries Authority
    • State Water Contractors
    • Stockton East Water District
    • Tuolumne River Trust
    • United States Department of the Interior, Bureau of Reclamation

Compliance Measures

Updated November 7, 2019

California WaterFix

In August 2015 the California Department of Water Resources (DWR) and U.S. Bureau of Reclamation (Reclamation) filed a joint change petition to add points of diversion and rediversion on the lower Sacramento River as part of the California WaterFix project.  A hearing on the petition commenced in July 2016 and is continuing. The hearing is subdivided into two parts, with Part 1 focused on the potential effects of the change petition on agricultural, municipal, and industrial uses of water and associated legal users of water as well as conditions that should be placed on any approval of the petition to protect those uses.  Part 2 of the hearing focuses on the potential effects of the petition on fish and wildlife and recreational uses and conditions that should be placed on any approval of the petition to protect those uses, including consideration of appropriate Delta flow criteria as required by the 2009 Delta Reform Act.

In addition, DWR and Reclamation filed an application for a water quality certification pursuant to Section 401 of the Clean Water Act that will be considered administratively in a separate but parallel process.

State Water Board California WaterFix Activities

Drought Information

Information on past Bay-Delta drought activities is provided at the following links:

Bay-Delta Compliance

Information on some of the Bay-Delta compliance issues is located at the following links:

Water Quality Control Plans and Associated Water Right Decisions

  Subscribe to our Email Lists

  • Subscribe online to receive email
    announcements, updates, and other information
    on the Bay-Delta Program.