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BDCP Science not ready for prime time

The Delta Independent Science Board met this week to discuss its reviews of science programs in the Delta, the Bay Delta Conservation Plan Draft Environmental Impact Report/Statement (BDCP DEIR/EIS), the Delta Science Program, and the Delta ISB workplan.

Board members Judy Meyer and John Wiens provided written comments on a report by the Independent Scientific Review Panel of Phase 2 of the draft BDCP Effects Analysis. They quote from the review that the Effects Analysis

  • “fails to achieve the fully integrated assessment that is needed to draw conclusions about such a momentous Plan”
  • “[misses or obscures] key concepts and specifics”
  • “is . . . inconsistent in its treatment of how effects are analyzed across listed species

Said the Panel, “The Net Effects described for many of the conservation measures in the Plan are substantially misleading.”

Among other criticisms, the Panel said that the Effects Analysis fails to recognize the importance of the sequence of conservation measures. It fails to consider that actions benefiting some species will have negative effects elsewhere in the ecosystem. Its treatment of food resource availability “is grossly incomplete and overly simplistic.” The hydrodynamic modeling that it uses lacks documentation details. It lacks details about how adaptive management will be implemented. It fails to consider potential impacts on San Francisco Bay or on downstream wetlands responding to rising sea level.

So this is where things stand as the Governor and federal partners prepare to pump first and answer the science questions later.

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