California’s Three Delta Entities: What’s the Difference?

California has three Delta-related entities: Delta Protection Commission, Delta Protection Advisory Committee, and Delate Stewardship Council. What’s the difference?

Delta Protection Commission

Public Resources Code Division 19.5, Chapter 3, Section 29735, added in 1992, created the Delta Protection Commission, which consists of 15 members as follows:

  • One member of the board of supervisors, or his or her designee, of each of the five counties within the Delta whose supervisorial district is within the primary zone shall be appointed by the board of supervisors of each of those respective counties.

  • Two elected city council members selected and appointed by city selection committees, from the appropriate regions in each of the following areas:

  • One from the south Delta, consisting of the County of San Joaquin.

  • One from the west Delta, from either the County of Contra Costa or the County of Solano, on a rotating basis.

  • One elected city council member selected and appointed by city selection committees, from regional and area councils of government from the north Delta, consisting of the Counties of Yolo and Sacramento.

  • One member each from the board of directors of three different reclamation districts that are located within the primary zone who are residents of the Delta, and who are elected by the trustees of reclamation districts. Reclamation district members must come from specified areas of the Delta.

  • The Secretary of Food and Agriculture, or the secretary’s sole designee.

  • The executive officer of the State Lands Commission, or the executive officer’s sole designee.

  • The Secretary of the Natural Resources Agency, or his or her sole designee.

  • The Secretary of Transportation, or his or her sole designee.

Public Resources Code Section 29703.5 sets forth the following legislative findings and declarations:

“(a) The Delta Protection Commission created pursuant to Section 29735 provides an existing forum for Delta residents to engage in decisions regarding actions to recognize and enhance the unique cultural, recreational, and agricultural resources of the Delta. As such, the Commission is the appropriate agency to identify and provide recommendations to the Delta Stewardship Council on methods of preserving the Delta as an evolving place as the Delta Stewardship Council develops and implements the Delta Plan.

“(b) There is a need for the five Delta counties to establish and implement a resources management plan for the Delta and for the Delta Stewardship Council to consider that plan and recommendations of the Commission in the adoption of the Delta Plan.”

According to the Delta Protection Commission, it is committed to the protection and health of the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta in California. “We protect, maintain, enhance and enrich the overall quality of the Delta environment and economy. We do this with a focus on agriculture, heritage, recreation, and natural resources while remaining mindful of the importance of the Delta to all Californians.”

Delta Protection Advisory Committee

According to the Delta Protection Advisory Committee (DPAC), it provides recommendations to the Delta Protection Commission on diverse interests within the Delta, including the Delta’s ecosystem, water supply, socioeconomic sustainability, recreation, agriculture, flood control, environment, water resources, utility infrastructure, and other Delta issues. This fifteen-member committee is appointed by the Commission and meets regularly. Its members serve three-year terms.

Delta Stewardship Council

Water Code Division 35, Part 3, Chapter 1, which was added in 2009, in Section 85200 establishes the Delta Stewardship Council as an independent agency of the state. The Council consists of seven voting members. Four members are appointed by the Governor and confirmed by the Senate. One member is appointed by the Senate Committee on Rules; one member is appointed by the Speaker of the Assembly; and, one member is the Chairperson of the Commission. The Council is required to meet once a month in a public forum, and at least two meetings each year must take place at a location within the Delta.

According to the Delta Stewardship Council, it was created in legislation to achieve the state-mandated co-equal goals of the Delta. Those two, co-equal goals are to provide a more reliable water supply for California and protect, restore and enhance the unique cultural, recreational, natural resource, and agricultural values of the Delta.

The Council took effect on February 3, 2010 and is required by state law to develop and enforceable, long-term sustainable management plan for the Delta to ensure coordinated action at the federal, state and local levels. Its adopted “The Delta Plan” in 2013 that includes regulatory policies, as well as recommendations.

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Chris Micheli

Chris Micheli is a lobbyist with Aprea & Micheli, as well as an Adjunct Professor of Law at the University of the Pacific McGeorge School of Law.

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