Gosia Wozniacka, Associated Press
FRESNO, Calif. (AP) — California water officials released on Thursday the first part of a $23 billion plan to restore and protect the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta ecosystem and guarantee a stable water supply for millions of Californians.
The Bay Delta Conservation Plan, known as the BDCP, is a federal and state initiative financed by California's water contractors, which includes recommendations for a twin tunnel project in the delta to carry water to vast farmlands and thirsty cities.
The plan's first four chapters, released by the California Resources Agency, spell out the dismal state of the delta and detail conservation strategies to restore its dwindling fish species.
The chapters include a description of the proposal unveiled by Gov. Jerry Brown in July: the 35-mile twin underground tunnel project that would replace the delta's current pumping system. It would cost $14 billion to construct. The costs would be covered by water contractors.
The chapters also describe more than 200 biological goals and objectives for 57 fish and other species — such as the growth rates of individual fish and overall increases in a species' population — which will guide implementation of the plan over coming decades. That means if species don't recover or don't recover quickly enough, less water would be pumped, water officials said.