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California's Bay Delta: Understanding What's at Stake for the Region's Future

Date: 
Saturday, January 21, 2017 (All day)

CALIFORNIA'S BAY DELTA: UNDERSTANDING WHAT'S AT STAKE FOR THE REGION'S FUTURE

January 21, 2017

University of San Francisco School of Law

McLaren Conference Center

Up to 7.75 MCLE credits available

 

The California Bay-Delta—made up of the Sacramento-San Joaquin Rivers Delta and San Francisco Bay—has, for the past 150 years, been inundated with man-made alterations causing a steep decline in the region’s health. To date, certain species' populations have dropped to the lowest numbers on record and natural flows have been diverted, leading to a decline in water quality and availability to communities and farms across California. 

Local, state, and federal policymakers have been struggling to address the Delta’s woes for decades. This year’s California Water Law Symposium will focus on the current state of the region, the litigation and initiatives presently underway, and proposals for the Delta's future.

2017 MCLE Material - Morning

2017 MCLE Materials - Afternoon

 
7:30 am - 9:00 am 
Registration and Continental Breakfast
 
8:00 am - 8:45 am
Introductory Lecture: Overview of the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta: Governance, Ecosystem, and Water Supply
David Sandino, Senior Staff Counsel at the California Department of Water Resources 
 
9:00 am - 9:15 am
Introductory Remarks 
 
9:15 am - 10:30 am 
Panel One: The Future of Delta Management
UC Davis School of Law

The 2009 Delta Reform Act requires the state to manage the Delta for the coequal goals of providing a reliable water supply for California, and improving the health of the Delta ecosystem while maintaining it as a cultural, recreational, natural and agricultural resource. In May 2003, the Delta Stewardship Council adopted the Bay Delta Conservation Plan pursuant to the Delta Reform Act of 2009, but the Plan was promptly challenged by a slew of public and private stakeholders’ claiming that it failed to adequately meet the Act’s coequal goals.

Last year, the California Superior Court agreed, holding that the 2003 Delta Plan lacked measurable targets and failed to promote water conveyance and storage systems as required by the Act. While the Delta Plan has drastically changed since the litigation began, the panel will explore the ramifications of this decision moving forward and the measures that can be taken to ensure that the current and future Bay Delta Conservation Plans achieve the Delta Reform Act’s coequal goals.

Moderator: 
Jay Lund, Professor, UC Davis Center for Watershed Sciences
 
Panelists:
Ellen Hanak, Director of the Public Policy Institute Water Policy Center
Phil Isenberg, Former Chair of Delta Stewardship Council 
Erik Vink, Executive Director at Delta Protection Commission 
 
MCLE Materials
 
 
 
10:30 am - 11:45 am
Panel Two: Metropolitan's Proposed Purchase of Delta Islands and The Future of Land Use in the Delta
UC Hastings College of the Law

For decades now, plans to purchase select Delta islands to help meet Southern California's increasing water demands have been met with staunch resistance from communities in the Delta. With the Metropolitan Water District's recent purchase of five agricultural Delta islands, Met has breathed new life into this plan and has become the latest player in the Delta's long and litigious history. The panel will discuss the wide-ranging consequences of Met's endeavor, including: impacts to the Delta's environment, implications for the tunnels project, and how the purchase could affect the availability of water supplies for Delta communities.

The panel will also explore the broader question raised by the Met case--how should land in the Delta be managed to balance competing human and ecological uses? The panel will review the latest research on restored and naturalized landscapes and consider a science-based adaptive management and ecosystem reconciliation approach. 

Moderator: 
Dave Owen, Professor, UC Hastings College of the Law 
 
Panelists: 
Antonio Rossmann, Rossmann and Moore, LLP 
Randall Neudeck, Project Director, Metropolitan Water District 
Brett Milligan, Assistant Professor of Landscape Architecture and Sustainable Environmental Design, UC Davis 
Alejo Kraus-Polk, PhD Geography Candidate, UC Davis 
 
MCLE Materials
 
 
 
 
11:45 am - 1:00 pm
Lunch and Keynote Address 
Chuck Bonham, Director of California Department of Fish and Wildlife 
 
 
 
1:00 pm - 2:15 pm
Panel Three: Delta and the Drought
UC Berkeley School of Law

The Delta and Drought panel will focus on the recent (and ongoing) drought's effects in the Delta on water supply availability and implications for drought response in the future. The panel will discuss the impact of the current drought on the Delta’s environment, resources, and water apportionment schemes. The panel will also examine the statewide response to drought in the Delta, and will look to potential ways to improve drought planning for affected stakeholders. The panel will delve into the implications of the public trust doctrine for Delta water conservation and rights, and it will feature a discussion on data collection and monitoring in Delta waterways.

Moderator: 
Holly Doremus, Professor, UC Berkeley School of Law 
 
Panelists: 
Tina Cannon Leahy, State Water Resources Control Board 
Samantha Olson, Senior Staff Counsel, State Water Resources Control Board
Richard Roos Collins, Principal, Water and Power Law Group, PC
Jennifer Spaletta, Owner, Spaletta Law, PC
 
MCLE Materials
 
 
 
 
2:30 pm - 3:45 pm
Panel Four: Cal WaterFix Change Petition
University of the Pacific McGeorge School of Law

To implement Cal WaterFix, the Bureau of Reclamation and Department of Water Resources must obtain the State Water Board’s approval of petitions to change certain elements of the Central Valley Project (CVP) and State Water Project (SWP) water right permits and licenses, including most notably adding new points of diversion. The WaterFix hearing process is predicted to be the largest and most complex in State Water Board history, involving hundreds of water users, environmental interests, disadvantaged communities, and others.

The panel will describe the current operation of the CVP and SWP, and how those operations would change under the Cal WaterFix diversion change, explain the legal framework for the change petition analysis, present the arguments of key parties, and, finally, assess the potential conclusions the State Water Board could reach.

 
Moderator: 
Stuart Somach, Somach Simmons & Dunn
 
Panelists: 
James Mizell, California Department of Water Resources  
Doug Obegi, Senior Attorney, Natural Resources Defense Counsel 
Stefanie Morris, General Counsel, State Water Contractors 
Kevin O’Brien, Downey Brand, LLP 
 
MCLE Materials
 
 
 
3:45 pm - 5:00 pm 
Panel Five: Environmental Justice and the California WaterFix: Fishermen, Tribes, and In-Delta Diverters
Golden Gate University School of Law

In response to an aging infrastructure, the California WaterFix aims to preserve the freshwater supply to California citizens and reduce harm to endangered species.  It also seeks to prevent impending job loss, and  increased prices of food and water. But how does this costly plan affect the local communities it intends to serve? Does the WaterFix guarantee additional flows into the Delta, or will it in fact increase diversions resulting in warmer in-stream water temperatures and increased salinity? How will these risks affect existing in-Delta diverters and local commercial fishermen? Additionally, with the Trinity and Lower Klamath Rivers being drained into the Sacramento River, how will the WaterFix affect tribal interests in preserving local salmon populations? With a view to environmental justice, are there perhaps better options available to California while still achieving the goals of the WaterFix?

Moderator: 
Paul Kibel, Professor, Golden Gate University School of Law 
 
Panelists: 
Barbara Barrigan-Parrilla, Executive Director and co-founder, Restore the Delta 
Colin Bailey, Executive Director, Environmental Justice Coalition for Water
Don Hankins, California Indian Water Commission
Mike Hudson, Hudson Fish Company 
 
 
MCLE Materials
 
 
 
5:00 pm - 6:30 pm 
Reception 
 

                                           

 

 

 

 

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