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What the Delta Stewardship Council has in mind

The Delta Stewardship Council released this week its first draft of the Delta Plan.  We appreciate that the Council is making the drafting process available to public comment.  It is our understanding that there will be six more drafts leading to the completion of a final plan in December of this year.

With that said, our prior training as college English instructors rises to the surface when responding to this draft.

First off, as noted by Jane Wagner-Tyack,  “Much of what is here could be referenced in appendices, including every reiteration of the legislation, the definitions, the quotes from Delta Vision, and all the hand-wringing findings.  Everything in Chapters 1 through 3 could be covered in about three pages.  We all know what the problems are, and all this stuff is recorded elsewhere for posterity.  The body of the plan must focus on recommendations.”

We can’t say loudly enough that it is a waste of staff time and public resources to belabor this through six more versions, if real recommendations are not presented quickly in subsequent drafts.  If Delta Council staff has forgotten how to get to the point and be concise, there are plenty of us who could help them.  We suggest that they take as their model the U.S. Constitution.

Regarding the hand-wringing findings contained in the report — in this incarnation, the findings read like a defense of how the Delta Plan will not solve California’s water woes, or restore species.  While we agree a plan in itself cannot solve problems, especially without collective will or on-the-ground infrastructure to implement the plan, the tone of this document sounds like defeat before action.

It’s also worth noting that the plan, which reverberates with panic that the Delta is an area prone to flooding, forgot to acknowledge that people at the County, Regional, and State levels are working on an emergency preparedness plan in response to Senate Bill 27.  Consequently, panicking that there is no emergency plan for the Delta is a futile exercise.

Flooding is a geographical trait of Delta’s worldwide.  The Delta Stewardship Council would be serving its mission of protecting and enhancing the Delta as an evolving place, if it would promote solid crafting and implementation of an emergency plan to protect the people and resources of the Delta.

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