Late 2019 saw two major and related decisions on managing Central Valley salt and selenium discharges to the Delta – but both decisions left open the door to improving salinity and selenium management. The State Water Resources Control Board tentatively approved a Central Valley Regional Board basin plan amendment governing salt and nitrate management for the next few decades – but mandated that the Regional Board correct a number of problems with the salt management proposal within the next year. These concerns include effects on water quality relating to environmental justice, fish and wildlife impacts and water quality for downstream urban suppliers. Around the same time the Regional Board also approved a waste discharge permit for stormwater discharge from westside San Joaquin Valley irrigators that will also be in place for decades – but also put in a two-year reopener to address potential impacts of selenium in stormwater on fish and wildlife downstream. This automatic reopener, and the accelerated remand to the Regional Board and guaranteed review by the State Board of the salt management plan, represent enormous opportunities for critics of the stormwater permits and original salt management plan to secure additional improvements, in part because salinity and selenium reduction actions are closely related. The Bay Institute (TBI) has been a leader of the coalition focusing on salinity and selenium issues, which includes Contra Costa County & CCWD. We seek the support of the Rose Foundation to enable TBI to continue to play this lead role on the salinity and selenium issues, with the assistance of Hal Candee of Altshuler Berzon LLP, who has worked closely with TBI and other conservation groups for many years on related Delta and Agricultural Drainage issues.
The Bay Institute
Improving Delta Salinity and Selenium Protections
California Watershed Protection Fund, 2020
Water Resources / Watershed Protection
San Francisco Bay Area
Contra Costa County ; San Joaquin County