Restoring a Healthy Ecosystem
The Rivers and Delta Program works to secure the flows, habitats, and water quality that provide the ecosystem services necessary to support diverse native fish and wildlife populations in the long term. Of particular concern is the reduction of freshwater flows which drive habitat conditions throughout the Bay estuary – less than 50% of the natural runoff in the watershed now reaches the Bay on average, and much less in some years. Working with a broad coalition of conservation, fishing, and regional interests, we lead the intensive, long-term scientific and policy effort to win new Bay-Delta water quality standards that require sufficient flows for ecosystem restoration, providing expert testimony, briefing materials, and technical documentation to legislators, regulatory boards, agency managers, and other decision-makers. We also work to change water project operations that prevent restoration of the Bay ecosystem, and oppose new water projects that would reduce Bay flows even further, such as the proposed twin Delta tunnels and expensive, environmentally harmful new dams.