Map showing San Francisco Bay estuary. (See larger image)
This project is comprised of 10 tasks designed to improve the scientific basis for adaptive management of California's Central Valley Project (CVP), one of the nation's largest water projects. The CVP supplies water for 6 of California's top 10 agricultural counties, for municipal and industrial uses, and for other beneficial uses, including maintenance of favorable environmental conditions. The CVP operates jointly with the State Water Project (SWP) operated by the California Department of Water Resources (DWR).
Operational issues are particularly complex in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta (Delta), a unique freshwater tidal system that functions as the central hub of California's water supply infrastructure. In the Delta, joint operations of the CVP and SWP must balance water supplies within and south of the Delta with protection of its fragile ecosystem and species of concern, especially those listed as threatened or endangered under state and federal laws.
In this project, we focus on management issues related to Delta Smelt, a small fish species endemic to the San Francisco Estuary listed as endangered by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife and as threatened by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Conserving the Delta Smelt population while providing a reliable water supply is a major management and policy issue in California. The overarching goal of this project is to provide USBR with the scientific information needed to evaluate the efficacy of ongoing management actions aimed at balancing water supply reliability and Delta Smelt protection and at improving the scientific basis for more flexibly adjusting, or "adapting" existing management actions or formulating/implementing and assessing new ones. More specifically the project:
A pregnant female tule perch, Hysterocarpus traskil (top), with her recently-birthed offspring (bottom). This fish was found May 2011 at Liberty Island, a flooded-agricultural tract in the northwest San Francisco Bay Delta. Tule perch do not lay eggs, but instead give live birth. The U.S. Geological Survey studies native species like this to evaluate the importance of tidal wetlands to native fishes.
The project includes a number of tasks led by different investigators, all with the USGS California Water Science Center, unless noted otherwise: