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Performance Report

Development of Flow Objectives (Phase 4 of Bay-Delta Effort)

Development of Flow Objectives (Phase 4 of Bay-Delta Effort)

Map of Major Tributaries of the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta

The State Water Board is developing flow objectives, with regulatory effect, to protect the public trust resources and beneficial uses of water, such as agriculture, municipal, and hydropower uses. This is Phase 4 of the State Water Board’s Comprehensive Bay-Delta Effort.

Flow objectives will be tailored to each individual tributary to address the unique hydraulic/geomorphic characteristics, public trust resource considerations, and beneficial uses of water. Each tributary’s flow objective(s) and implementation plan will include an adaptive management component. Adaptive management will be used to establish a flexible framework that can accommodate future conditions, including new information (from studies, monitoring, etc.), watershed changes (e.g., land use conversions, restoration, or natural processes), stakeholder agreements, and climate change.

Flow criteria will be used to inform the development of flow objectives. Flow criteria provide a technical basis for the development of flow objectives, but do not have regulatory effect. Flow criteria will be developed using a scientifically defensible method or combination of methods. The scientific method(s) will consider the needs of each watershed’s flow dependent aquatic organisms, with an emphasis on protection of threatened or endangered species, or species likely to become threatened or endangered in the foreseeable future.

State Water Board staff recognizes that there are many planned or ongoing studies by resource agencies and stakeholders. The State Water Board plans to use all available scientifically defensible flow recommendations to guide the flow objective setting processes. The State Water Board is interested in collaboration with stakeholders to implement flow objectives.

There will be a variety of opportunities to provide information as part of the Phase 4 flow objective setting process.

For more information about this effort, please contact Daniel Schultz by phone at (916) 323-9392 or by email at (Daniel.Schultz@waterboards.ca.gov).

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Phase 4 Public Processes and Opportunities for Participation

Public Workshops

Instream Flow Priorities

Mill Creek
Mill Creek, a tributary to the Sacramento River

The State Water Board intends to develop flow criteria, flow objectives, and associated implementation plans for a minimum of five priority tributaries in the Bay-Delta watershed by 2025 and for the remaining priority tributaries thereafter. State Water Board staff is consulting with the fisheries resource agencies in the development of the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta priority tributaries.


Antelope Creek
Antelope Creek, a tribuary to the Sacramento River

Related Flow Efforts

Local agencies and nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) are undertaking various efforts related to the Phase 4 instream flow work.

Water Forum

Related Agency Links

Butte Creek
Butte Creek, a tribuary to the Sacramento River



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