EPA to Investigate Toxins, Stressors in SF Bay-Delta

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is seeking input on an Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPR) on the effectiveness of current water quality programs influencing the health of the San Francisco Bay Delta Estuary.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is seeking input on an Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPR) on the effectiveness of current water quality programs influencing the health of the San Francisco Bay Delta Estuary.

The ANPR identifies pivotal water quality issues affecting Bay Delta fisheries, describes regulatory measures currently underway, and initiates an information-gathering process on how the EPA and the State of California can achieve water quality and aquatic resource protection goals in one of the West Coast's most ecologically diverse and important aquatic habitats.

The Bay Delta is the hub of California's water distribution system, providing drinking water to 25 million people, sustaining irrigation for 4 million acres of farmland, and supporting 750 different species of plants, fish, and wildlife, several of which are endangered or threatened. The water quality of the Bay Delta Estuary and many of its tributaries is impaired, the estuarine habitat is shrinking and many fish populations are at all-time lows.

No single factor is responsible for the decline of the Bay Delta's health. The present condition of the estuary reflects the cumulative and interactive effects of multiple factors, including water pollution, invasive species, water diversion and habitat degradation. Impacts associated with these stressors include toxicity to fish, invertebrates and their food sources, developmental deformities, and reproductive problems.

This ANPR is part of a comprehensive set of commitments made by the Obama Administration to address California water issues under the Interim Federal Action Plan released in December 2009. Through this plan, the Administration has promoted water conservation and efficiency improvements throughout California, dedicated more than $40 million to drought relief projects, and made historic investments in modernizing California's water infrastructure.

In its ANPR, EPA notes that it will be coordinating its review of water quality issues with the on-going development of the Bay Delta Conservation Plan, which currently is being developed through a collaboration of federal, state and local agencies, environmental organizations, and other interested parties.

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For more information, please visit: http://www.epa.gov/region9/water/watershed/sfbay-delta

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