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2010 VAMP Independent Review Panel

The San Joaquin River Agreement (SJRA) is the cornerstone of a history-making commitment to implement the State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB) 1995 Water Quality Control Plan (WQCP) for the lower San Joaquin River and the San Francisco Bay-Delta Estuary (Bay-Delta). Vernalis Adaptive Management Plan (VAMP), officially initiated in 2000 as part of SWRCB Decision 1641, is a large-scale, long-term (12-year), experimental-management program designed to protect juvenile Chinook salmon migrating from the San Joaquin River through the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta.  The VAMP is also a scientific experiment to determine how salmon survival rates change in response to alterations in San Joaquin River flows and State Water Project (SWP)/Central Valley Project (CVP) exports with the installation of the Head of Old River Barrier (HORB).

VAMP is in its 10th year of implementation.  A number of factors have precluded implementation of the program in accordance with its original study design.  These include; the unavailability of the range flows required for the study, insufficient number of Chinook salmon smolts available for coded wire tagging studies, changes in methodology for assessing smolt survival, the inability to install the HORB in all study years, and the likelihood that a physical HORB will not be installed in future years.

Based on the concerns with the VAMP and other issues, in the 2006 Bay-Delta Plan the SWRCB identified San Joaquin River flows as an emerging issue requiring additional review and planning and requested a review of the VAMP.  In the SWRCB’s 2008 Strategic Workplan for Activities in the Bay-Delta, the SWRCB committed to complete a review of the objectives by mid-2012.  An Independent Review Panel was charged with a review of the VAMP and that review was to inform the SWRCB’s review of the objectives.  The Independent Review Panel for VAMP was scheduled to meet on March 2 and 3, 2010.  The review panel met, was presented background information by the VAMP study team.  The agenda for the Panel as well as the Panel Charge are linked here along with the entire list of documents that the Independent Review Panel was asked to review.

The Review Panel has completed it work and has issued a final report on its faindings.

List of available documents

Additional reports for the purpose of historical context:


Dennis W. Westcot, Project Administrator
San Joaquin River Group
716 Valencia Ave.
Davis, CA 95616-0153
(530) 758-8633
[email protected]

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