Annual Report

Letter from the Chair

Don NottoliPursuant to the provisions of Public Resources Code § 29780, I am proud to share the 2021 Delta Protection Commission Annual Report (PDF).

The Commission and its dedicated staff made great strides towards the protection, maintenance, enhancement, and enrichment of the overall quality of the Delta environment and economy.

It is our mission to support agriculture, recreation, cultural heritage, and natural resources in the Delta. We continue our dedication to that mission through the ongoing advancement of our Strategic Plan (Vision 2030) while being adaptable to emerging challenges and opportunities.

With full support by all the Commission members, it is an honor to offer you the Delta Protection Commission Action 2021.

Sincerely,

Don Nottoli
Chair

2021 Actions – Quick Mentions

1

…new DeltaFloodReady.com website to support flood safety in the Delta!

…increase in Best of the Delta survey participation.

12

…comment letters sent on land use projects in the Delta.

2021 Actions – Highlights

Land & Water

The Delta Protection Commission works to conserve agricultural land and economically sustainable agricultural operations in the Delta. The Commission also seeks a reliable fresh water supply for the Delta while remaining mindful of California’s need for water. The Commission insists that a viable California water solution must respect and protect the Delta’s unique values.

2021 Actions - Highlights

Land Use Project Comment Letters

Multi-County

Delta Plan Ecosystem Amendment PEIR

Program Environmental Impact Report, Revisions to Chapter 4 of the Delta Plan. The PEIR assesses program-level impacts anticipated from implementation of the proposed policy, recommendation, and performance measure amendments to the adopted Delta Plan Chapter 4.

Authority: PRC 29773(a); CEQA Reviewing Agency

Zone: Primary and Secondary Zones, Legal Delta

Comments: Reduce the target restoration acreage, thereby reducing impacts to agricultural lands in the Delta, and allowing time for adaptive management process-led decisions to guide adjustment of restoration approaches.  Use the next two five-year review cycles of the Delta Plan prior to 2030, to assess and adjust targets based on measurable progress.

Project Size: Variable

Farmland Conversion: Unknown - potentially tens of thousands of acres over time

PG&E Line McDonald Island to Palm Tract Pipeline Decommissioning Project

Mitigated Negative Declaration, Project would decommission and remove four segments of previously retired natural gas pipeline.

Authority: Jurisdictional project

Zone: Primary

Comments: Support projects that remove abandoned or legacy infrastructure that can present a navigation hazard, interfere with agricultural operations, or damage habitat so long as they ensure continued stability of the levee system and preserve fish-friendly habitat within the Delta. The Project Work and Safety Plan should include thorough contingency planning for all phases and locations of the project.

Project Size: Approximately 10,600 feet of pipeline

Farmland Conversion: None

Sutter Slough Critical Erosion Repairs Flood System Repair Project

Mitigated Negative Declaration, Addresses bank loss, toe scour, and erosion along Sutter Slough

Authority: Non-jurisdictional project that may affect Delta resources

Zone: Primary

Comments: Support projects that provide flood protection and stability for Delta levee system. Appreciate efforts to minimize potential impacts.

Project Size: Seven Sites Along Sutter Slough

Farmland Conversion: None

Plan Bay Area 2050

Draft Environmental Impact Report, Regional Transportation Plan and Sustainable Communities Strategy for nine-county San Francisco Bay Area

Authority: Jurisdictional project; Non-jurisdictional project that may affect Delta resources; Delta Trail

Zone: Primary/Secondary

Comments: Appreciate strategies that emphasize need for investment in local and regional trails. Plan should recognize movement of people between Bay Area, Sacramento, and Stockton regions on megaregion highways, should consider repercussions of remote work on regional transportation, and should provide guidance on how broadband funding can be used. National Heritage Area provides opportunity to provide more jobs while promoting historic preservation, natural resource conservation, and recreation.

Project Size: Approximately 7,000 square miles

Farmland Conversion: Unknown but significant and unavoidable

Review of the Monitoring Enterprise in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta - (Delta Independent Science Board)

Draft for Comment

Authority: Non-jurisdictional project that may affect Delta resources

Zone: Primary/Secondary

Comments: Advocate for Delta as Place values to be part of the monitoring enterprise and suggest opportunities for social science research and monitoring. Support any efforts to make data accessible and to correct the data gaps in chemical contaminants, harmful algal blooms, non-native species, and dredging. Observed that the lack of targeted research on recreation and tourism is hindering management decisions.

Project Size: None

Farmland Conversion: None

Sacramento County

Sacramento Marina and Miller Park Boat Ramp Annual Maintenance Dredging

Notice of Exemption

Authority: Non-jurisdictional project that may affect Delta resources

Zone: Outside of Delta

Comments: Sediment accumulation and the difficulty of obtaining dredging approval are significant water-oriented physical and operational constraints on marinas. Appreciate City of Sacramento efforts to boost the economic health of the Delta region through dredging that benefits recreational boating.

Project Size: Up to 6,000 cubic yards of dredge material from two sites

Farmland Conversion: None

Contra Costa County

CR-A (Commercial Recreation-Aquatic) District Zoning Text Amendment (RZ 02-21) Negative Declaration

Amendment would provide new, and protects existing, commercial and recreational uses along the Oakley shoreline, providing enhanced opportunities for residents and visitors to enjoy Delta waterways.

Authority: Non-jurisdictional project that may affect Delta resources; Delta Trail

Zone: Secondary

Comments: The proposed zoning amendment could help provide benefits to Delta recreation and tourism. The Commission’s recent update to the Recreation and Tourism chapter of the Economic Sustainability Plan noted the loss in recent years of businesses such as marinas, boat building and manufacture, given the importance of boating in the Delta recreation economy. The ESP update also cited the need for more overnight accommodation, and Great Delta Trail connections. Suggest encouraging lower cost public access, such as in the required Community Development Director findings for marinas and docks, and in the mix of restaurants and other services.

Project Size: Citywide, along City of Oakley waterfront

San Joaquin County

Development Title Text Amendment, Agricultural Mitigation

Proposed revisions include updating language pertaining to Qualifying Entity, Agricultural Technical Advisory Committee members and duties, and mitigation options.

Authority: Jurisdictional project; Non-jurisdictional project that may affect Delta resources; Delta Trail

Zone: Primary/Secondary

Comments: Recommend retaining requirement that conservation easements shall be perpetual in duration in the development title to ensure permanent Delta farmland protection as well as consistency with state law. Would like process to be better coordinated so that Commission staff can provide constructive participation earlier.

Project Size: Countywide

Farmland Conversion: Unknown

North Mokelumne River Multi-Benefit Project

Mitigated Negative Declaration, bring levees into compliance with the Delta-specific PL 84-99 Standard

Authority: Non-jurisdictional project that may affect Delta resources

Zone: Primary

Comments: Supportive of projects that provide needed flood protection and stability for the levee system, as well as fish-friendly habitat within the Delta. Appreciate efforts to review project for conflict with LURMP goals and policies.

Project Size: 16,000 linear feet of levee

Farmland Conversion: None

Yolo County

Bees Lakes Habitat Restoration Plan and Design Project

Mitigated Negative Declaration, Ecosystem, water quality, and recreational improvements at Bees Lakes site

Authority: Delta Trail

Zone: Secondary

Comments: Support projects that improve recreational opportunities for bicyclists, equestrians, and pedestrians within Delta. Hope to work with City to incorporate trails into Delta Trail.

Project Size: 47 acres

Farmland Conversion: None

Yolo Bypass East Levee

Environmental Assessment/Mitigated Negative Declaration, install stability berms, replenish waterside revetment, reconstruct maintenance roads, and improve levee drainage system

Authority: Delta Trail

Zone: Secondary

Comments: Support projects that provide needed flood protection and stability for Delta. Hope to work on possible locations for trails and potentially incorporate these into the Delta Trail.

Project Size: 15 acres

Farmland Conversion: None

Yolo County Housing Element

Authority: Jurisdictional project

Zone: Primary/Secondary

Comments: Supportive of policies that encourage a range of housing options for people of different income levels within the Delta. Recommend correction and clarification of Commission's work.

Project Size: Countywide

Farmland Conversion: None

Regional Economy

The Delta Protection Commission promotes a robust regional economy that protects agriculture, natural resources and the cultural values of the Delta. The Commission’s Economic Sustainability Plan (ESP) is the fundamental document for planning such an economy in the Delta, and is of co-equal significance with this Strategic Plan and should be considered a part thereof.

2021 Actions - Highlights

  • Commission staff oversaw the completion and release of the final Recreation and Tourism chapter update to the Economic Sustainability Plan, including a public workshop in January and presentations to the Commission in January and March.
  • Building on the Broadband Coverage in the Delta (2020) report, Commission staff worked with a partnership of local government and private internet service providers to apply for a $3.7M broadband infrastructure grant from the National Telecommunications Information Administration. Award of grants for this highly competitive program is expected to be announced in early 2022.
  • Commission staff developed and led a series of web-based Delta Marketing Workshops held free for regional businesses and organizations.
Delta Heritage

The Delta Protection Commission promotes and enhances the Delta’s unique cultural and natural heritage.

2021 Actions - Highlights

  • Commission staff engaged in various efforts related to the preparation of the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta National Heritage Area (Delta NHA) Management Plan, including:
    • Holding six meetings with the Delta NHA Management Plan Advisory Committee and eight meetings with the newly created Heritage Development and Tourism, Interpretive Planning, and Resource Stewardship task groups.
    • Presenting to local officials, including the Benicia City Council, about potential partnerships with the NHA.
    • Reaching out to tribal representatives about participation in a tribal consultation process regarding the Management Plan.
    • Engaging the public in the Management Plan process through hosting two in-person workshops in Benicia and Walnut Grove in late summer and the online 4th Annual Delta Heritage Forum in mid-fall. The workshops were attended by almost forty people and the Forum had nearly eighty registrants and nine presenters.
    • Working with Point Heritage Development Consulting and California State Parks to develop components of the Management Plan.
  • Commission staff initiated an early action project to create a variety of heritage adventures for residents and visitors for the Delta and National Heritage Area to be promoted in 2022.
Recreation and Tourism

The Delta Protection Commission is committed to national recognition of the Delta as a diverse, accessible, modern recreation and tourism destination.

2021 Actions - Highlights

  • Commission staff continued to develop the Great California Delta Trail (Delta Trail) Master Plan Draft. Activities included:
    • Convening meetings of the Delta Trail Technical Advisory and Stakeholder Advisory Committees in May and September to review and provide input on the draft Master Plan.
    • Conducting two separate surveys during the summer and fall, one to the general public and one to Reclamation Districts, as well as two sessions of focused discussion with levee managers.
    • Presenting progress reports on the draft Delta Trail Master Plan at two meetings of the Delta Protection Advisory Committee.
    • Reviewed progress with the Commission and released the Draft Master Plan for a 30-day public comment period; conducted two online public workshops.
  • Commission staff led projects related to the Delta Tourism Awareness 5-Year Marketing Plan, including:
    • Promotion of the Delta as a recreation and tourism destination on the Visit CA Delta website which saw a 27% increase in pageviews from the prior year, and on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
    • Major updates to the Visit CA Delta website to incorporate the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta National Heritage Area.
    • The 5th annual “Best of the Delta” survey, which saw a 64% increase in participation.
  • The Delta Waterway Cleanup, part of California Coastal Cleanup Day, was held on Saturday, September 18, 2021. Commission staff organized and hosted three cleanup locations this year: the Broderick Boat Ramp in Yolo County, Bethel Island in Contra Costa County, and the Tower Bridge/Riverfront Promenade in Sacramento County with nearly 90 volunteers attending and an estimated 150 bags of trash removed. They also helped increase participation at locations in Solano and San Joaquin counties. Commission staff developed a new Delta Waterway Cleanup logo and branding.
Outreach & Education

The Delta Protection Commission is the voice of those who live, work and play in the Delta. In this role, the Commission is committed to actively supporting communication between stakeholders and policymakers, creating a forum through which Delta residents and businesses can make their interests heard.

2021 Actions - Highlights

  • Delta Flood Preparedness Week was October 23 to 30, in coordination with the overall state efforts of California Flood Preparedness Week. Commission staff developed a new flood awareness and preparedness website, DeltaFloodReady.com, created for the unique needs of Delta residents and businesses, and new branding for use on the website and social media channels.
  • The Commission hosted two online “How-To” demonstrations in English and Spanish to increase Delta community participation in the California Public Utilities Commission’s CalSPEED internet speed test used to identify and quantify areas with poor broadband service.
  • Commission staff continued their consistent efforts to share information with the public across multiple channels, including:
    • The weekly Delta Happenings emails and bi-monthly Delta Heritage Courier.
    • Four quarterly Delta Voice newsletters, including an issue focused solely on Delta flood awareness and preparedness.
    • Recordings of seven Commission meetings, six Delta Protection Advisory Committee meetings, and six Delta NHA Management Plan Committee meetings posted to the Commission’s YouTube channel.
    • Regular posts to the Commission’s Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
    • The creation of the “Delta Photo of the Week”, with photos shared by 42 participants.

Vision 2030 (Strategic Plan)

Visit our Vision 2030 (Strategic Plan) webpage for our mission, vision, and strategic themes.