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California's draft Bay Delta conservation plan incomplete; needs better integration to be more scientifically credible
Date:5/5/2011

species and how those species would benefit from conservation actions." However, the effects analysis is still being prepared and was not included in the BDCP, resulting in a critical gap in the science. Without this analysis, it is hard to evaluate alternative mitigation and conservation actions.

The BDCP lacks clarity in its purpose, which makes it difficult to properly understand, interpret, and review the science that underlies the plan, stated the panel that wrote the report. Specifically, it is unclear whether the BDCP is exclusively a habitat conservation plan to be used as an application to "take" -- meaning to injure, harass, or kill -- listed species incidentally or whether it is intended to be a plan that achieves the co-equal goals of providing reliable water supply and protecting and enhancing the delta ecosystem. If it is the latter, a more logical sequence would be to select alternative projects or operation regimes only after the effects analysis is completed.

Furthermore, the draft BDCP combines a catalog of overwhelming detail with qualitative analyses of many separate actions that often appear disconnected and poorly integrated, the panel said. There are many scientific elements, but the science is not drawn together in an integrated fashion to support the restoration activities. The panel noted that a systematic and comprehensive restoration plan needs a clearly stated strategic view of what each scientific component is intended to accomplish and how this will be done.

"There is a strong body of solid science to support some of the actions discussed in the BDCP, but because the science is not well-integrated, we are getting less from the science than we could," said panel chair Henry Vaux, professor emeritus of resource economics at the University of California in Berkeley and Riverside. "As our report concludes, a stronger and more complete BDCP -- and the panel identified several areas for improvement --
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Contact: Jennifer Walsh
news@nas.edu
202-334-2138
National Academy of Sciences
Source:Eurekalert

Page: 1 2 3

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