Environmental Stewardship Environmental Stewardship

Environmental Stewardship is a key component of Sustainabiity. By practicing the principles of Environmental Stewardship, DWR protects and enhances critical habitat, builds in a variety of environmental benefits early into its projects, avoids mitigation costs and acts responsibly as a public trust agency.


DWR's Environmental Stewardship Policy DWR's Environmental Stewardship Policy

DWR's Environmental Stewardship Policy

DWR fosters the environmental stewardship ethic by embracing broad concepts of impact avoidance and protection of natural resources, minimization, mitigation and restoration and enhancement of natural functions and values. DWR will incorporate ecosystem restoration as an objective in water and flood management projects, including partnering with restoration efforts of others, to achieve net environmental benefit. Ecosystem restoration is the process of reestablishing, to the extent possible, the structure, function and composition of the natural environment.

DWR will use science to understand the functions of natural biological and physical systems, so as to help plan and design water supply storage and conveyance systems and flood control systems that also benefit native plants, and fish and wildlife resources.

DWR managers will embrace environmental stewardship as part of their responsibilities. As managers develop and deliver reliable water supplies and provide for flood protection for the State's residents, they can incorporate environmental stewardship in several ways:

  • Integrate ecosystem protection and restoration into water storage and conveyance and flood control/management planning
  • Include environmental stewardship and ecosystem protection and restoration as a criteria in project funding decisions for all DWR programs
  • Plan and incorporate… conservation, restoration and maintenance of the biological diversity and natural physical processes of aquatic and related terrestrial ecosystems, including adaptation strategies for climate change into projects; and
  • Plan and implement projects that contribute to the protection and recovery of aquatic and riparian species listed under the federal and State Endangered Species Acts and other laws, as well as other at-risk species

Central Valley Flood Protection Plan Central Valley Flood Protection Plan

Environmental Stewardship is a key component of the Central Valley Flood Protection Plan (CVFPP).To help implement the CVFPP, a conservation framework was developed. The current Conservation Framework serves two purposes.

The first purpose of  the Conservation Framework is to be an environmental guide for flood project planning in the 2012 CVFPP.The second purpose is to present a broad outline and preview of a longer term Conservation Strategy to be completed by 2017 The Conservation Framework describes how environmental stewardship is integrated into flood management activities, directs the reader to relevant environmental elements in the CVFPP, and gives additional detail on environmental planning elements, including regulatory compliance.

Supporting documentation for the Conservation Framework includes detailed technical attachments containing further information on the following: regional advance mitigation planning (RAMP), status and trends of environmental resources, an assessment of fish passage needs,vegetation mapping, conservation objectives from other plans, restoration opportunities analysis, and regional environmental permitting.The longer term Conservation Strategy will provide a comprehensive approach for the State, consistent with the Conservation Framework, to (1)achieve the environmental goals and objectives of the Central Valley Flood Protection Act, FloodSAFE, and the CVFPP, and (2) implement the DWR environmental stewardship policy within the flood management system.

Environmental stewardship can reduce flood project regulatory delays, lower long-term operation and repair costs, provide greater public benefits, and strengthen public support.

The Principles of Environmental Stewardship The Principles of Environmental Stewardship

Environmental Stewardship Principles

  1. Sustainability -- Incorporate a long-term vision that maintains, improves, and enhances social, ecological, and economic viability, and meets long-term objectives with minimal maintenance under existing and expected future climate conditions.
  2. Early and Integrated Environmental Planning -- Integrate environmental planning and communications internally and with resources agencies and stakeholders to provide project cost savings, increase environmental benefits, and support environmental compliance and permitting early and consistently through the project planning and design phases.
  3. Multiple Ecological Benefits -- Integrate environmental planning to provide multiple ecological benefits such as dynamic and more natural hydrologic and geomorphic processes; habitat quantity, diversity, and connectivity; increased native and listed species populations; biotic community diversity; multiple ecosystem services; and climate change adaptation.
  4. Multiple Geographic Scales and Time Frames -- Integrate ecosystem functions at multiple geographic scales (including regional, landscape, or river corridor and local project levels) and over multiple timeframes (near to long-term). Consider the need for regional solutions while being sensitive to the environment and specific local conditions.
  5. Variety of Approaches -- Use a variety of approaches and analyses for achieving goals and multi-benefit objectives, such as structural and nonstructural approaches for incorporating, maintaining or restoring system-wide river and landscape ecosystem functions as integrated design parameters for projects.
  6. Inclusive Cost - Benefit Analyses -- Identify costs and benefits for the full spectrum of impacts over the entire life of a project, such as operations and maintenance; public safety; public resources, including environment and agriculture; and systems reliability, for more comprehensive evaluation of project alternatives.
  7. Science-based Solutions, Ecological Monitoring, and Adaptive Management -- Use structured monitoring and adaptive management to achieve goals based on the best available science, and continually improve the scientific basis of planning and management decisions. Develop evaluation criteria to document project performance and guide adaptive management decisions.

 These principles are designed to provide guidance and assist staff in carrying out the following policies: DWR Mission, DAM Section 1100, DAM Section 8001 Policy on Sustainability, and DAM 2140 Policy on Environmental Stewardship.



FloodSAFE Environmental Stewardship and Statewide Resources Office (FESSRO)

Environmental Stewardship is even in the name!  FESSRO began operations in July 2009 to provide a focus for integrating environmental stewardship into DWR's FloodSAFE California initiative and related programs.

The mission of FESSRO is to implement integrated environmental stewardship and flood management statewide, through collaboration, sound science and innovative engineering.

To accomplish this mission, FESSRO includes three branches: Delta Levees and Environmental Engineering, Floodway Ecosystem Sustainability, and Environmental Restoration and Enhancement.

One important progam in FESSRO is the Regional Advance Mitigation Program or RAMP.  RAMP is unique in that it incorporates environmental stewardship in an intergrated fashion from the earliest planning stages. RAMP incorporates both a regional geographic component and an advance time frame. The regional component allows state and federal agencies to consider the environmental impacts of several planned infrastructure projects at once. The advance time frames help identify regional mitigation opportunities that satisfy anticipated mitigation requirements early in the project planning and environmental review process, before the projects are in the final stages of approval.

By working together, natural resource and infrastructure agencies can estimate mitigation needs early in the projects' timelines. Not only does this approach avoid possible permitting and regulatory delays, but it also uses  public mitigation dollars more effectively. For example, RAMP makes it possible to preserve valuable natural resources before related real estate values escalate.

 Currently, RAMP is working on the planning area for the Central Sacramento Valley.  This Regional Assessment covers 1 million acres (1,500 square miles) and is approximately 29 miles wide and 78 miles high. 

It starts along the Sacramento River main stem at mile 80, and goes north to the Tehama County line (near Corning) at mile 215.  It also covers the Feather River and its eastern tributaries. (See Map below) For further information go to :https://rampcalifornia.water.ca.gov/web/guest/home