Delta Nutrient Research Plan Adopted

On August 2, the Central Valley Regional Water Quality Control Board voted unanimously in support of Resolution R5-2018-0059, adopting the Delta Nutrient Research Plan. This action completes Task 28-4 in the Estuary Blueprint:

TASK 28-4: Develop a Nutrient Research Plan for the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta through the Central Valley Regional Water Quality Control Board. Use the plan to determine whether nutrient objectives are needed to protect beneficial uses in the upper Estuary.

BY 2017: Complete Delta Nutrient Research Plan.

Nutrients such as nitrogen and phosphorus have been identified as contributing factors in the increasing severity and frequency of harmful algal blooms, low phytoplankton productivity, excess growth of non-native aquatic plants, and low dissolved oxygen in some waterways. More research is needed, however, to understand whether and to what extent nutrient reductions might address these problems, as well as to identify future policy and management options. Research priorities identified in the Delta Nutrient Research Plan will help answer these questions and determine whether numeric nutrient objectives will address these specific water quality problems in the Delta.

Illustration of nutrient-related water quality problems in the Delta (source: Delta Nutrient Research Plan)

Over the past four years, a Stakeholder and Technical Advisory Group (STAG), consisting of experts from regulatory agencies, resource agencies, wastewater treatment plants, water districts, academia, municipalities, research organizations, agricultural organizations, environmental advocacy organizations, resource agencies, and more, provided significant input into development of the plan.

Next steps will include the development of a Science Action Plan to systematically fill research gaps through enhanced collaboration and funding opportunities.

For more information, visit the Central Valley Regional Water Quality Control Board’s website.