Inter-Departmental Correspondence

County Manager's Office



May 29, 2002


June 4, 2002



Honorable Board of Supervisors


John Maltbie, County Manager


County Manager's Report-Legislation #7



State Budget Update Number 4



S. 1768 (Feinstein/Boxer) regarding the CalFed Bay-Delta Program.



The San Francisco Bay Delta is a critical component of California's ecology. With approximately 40% of Californian lands draining into the Bay Delta, it is the largest estuary on the West Coast of the Americas. Over half of the water captured by the Bay Delta is diverted for human uses (20% urban, 80% agricultural consumption). Environmental organizations including the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) believe the Bay Delta is being overdrawn and can result in irreparable damage to the ecology (including many of the bay fisheries).


In response to this concern, a cooperative of Federal and State agencies and a public advisory committee was created. CalFed began in 1995 to develop and implement a long-term comprehensive plan that will restore ecological health and improve water management for beneficial uses of the Bay-Delta System. To develop the plan, CalFed held numerous public meetings, outreach efforts and discussions with various groups including environmentalists, water agencies, businesses, and other communities. After many debates, CalFed adopted an implementation plan as part of the Record of Decision (ROD) needed for CEQA and NEPA. According to Governor Davis, the plan is a balanced, responsible approach to water management.


As an environmental document, the ROD has no force to implement the asserted plan. As a result, federal and state legislation (and funds) are needed. In addition, the implementation plan is not a comprehensive document and requires further study and decision making as the plan is implemented. Legislation authorizing implementation of the CalFed plan is heightened in importance by the recent expiration of CalFed's annual appropriation. Congress is reluctant to renew the funding authorization without formalizing the implementation plan. However, they have appropriated $30 million for specific CalFed projects.


A memorandum of understanding has been created to bridge the time between issuance of the ROD and creation of a formal governance structure.


Attached for your consideration is a resolution in support of S. 1768 (Feinstein/Boxer).



S. 1768 approves the CalFed ROD as a framework for implementing a CalFed Bay-Delta Program which will include a variety of activities-water storage, habitat restoration, water supply reliability, water conveyance, water quality and governance. Specifically, this bill would authorize the Secretary of the Interior to implement Stage I (the first seven years) of the implementation plan. The Secretary's activities must be certified by CalFed as being consistent with the ROD. Very similar to S. 1768, H.R. 4657 would defer much of the programmatic elements of the program to the ROD.


S. 1768 was recently marked up in the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee.


The Board of Supervisor's Legislative Committee recommends support for S. 1768.


Vision Alignment

Support of S. 1768 (Feinstein/Boxer) furthers the County's commitment to preserve and provide people access to our natural environment and supports Goal #14 to ensure our important natural resources are preserved and enhanced through environmental stewardship.