Reduce the frequency and intensity of harmful algal blooms to protect human and ecosystem health.

The Measure

Spatial coverage of freshwater harmful algal blooms (HABs) in select waterbodies in the Delta is reduced.

  • Expectations

    Spatial coverage of freshwater harmful algal blooms (HABs) in select waterbodies in the Delta is reduced.

  • Performance Metrics

    • Spatial coverage (acres) of Microcystis sp. cell concentration equivalents (cells/ml), in Delta waterbodies large enough to use the State Water Resources Control Board mapping tool

Harmful Algal Blooms

The table shows voluntary reported locations and incidences of harmful algal blooms in the Delta since the summer of 2016.

Disclaimer

The table above is derived from the HABs incident report map. The data from this table is not being used to evaluate this performance measure; it is to share the resources currently available about HABs.

The HAB Incident Report Map shows only HAB locations that have been voluntarily provided. A waterbody with no HAB sighting does not mean that a bloom is not present. Also, not all reported sightings are harmful algal blooms. When necessary, samples are usually taken to identify if the algal bloom is harmful or not. Once identified, extra precautions are taken by the responsible land and/or water body manager.

HAB Incident Report Map

Currently, data are not available to accurately conclude if the performance measure is being met.

Algae are natural components of marine and fresh water ecosystems and form the foundation of most aquatic food chains. However, algae have the potential to harm humans and wildlife when a specific blue green algae is present. These harmful algal blooms (HABs) produce a toxin called Microcystins. HABs impact water quality conditions by impeding recreation, reducing aesthetics, lowering dissolved oxygen concentrations, and causing altered drinking water taste.  HABs are a growing concern for drinking water treatment plants as it is common for municipalities with HABs present in their water supply to send out cautionary drinkability notices to residents.

HABs are abundant when surface waters are warm and/or stagnate. Monitoring harmful algal blooms in the Delta will assist in the evaluation of risk to human and aquatic health, as well as provide better understanding of connections and factors promoting or maintaining harmful algal blooms.

Each chapter of the Delta plan includes strategies to achieve the goals of the plan. These strategies are general guidance on achieving the objective laid out in the plan and in the Delta Reform Act of 2009. Associated with these strategies are recommendations. The recommendations describe more specific and implementable actions to support the achievement of Delta Plan strategies. Strategies and recommendations may also have associated performance measures. Delta Plan performance measures track progress in achieving desired outcomes for the Delta Plan. Below are the strategies and recommendations associated with this performance measure.

Delta Plan Strategy

  • Improve environmental water quality
  • Require Delta-Specific water quality protection

Delta Plan Recommendations

  • Protect beneficial uses
  • Identify Covered Action impact
  • Special water quality protections for the Delta
  • Completion of regulatory processes, research, and monitoring for water quality improvements
  • Implement Delta Regional Monitoring Program
  • Evaluate wastewater recycling, reuse, or treatment
  • Manage dissolved oxygen in Stockton Deep Water Ship Channel
  • Manage dissolved oxygen in Suisun Marsh
Metric

Spatial coverage (acres) of Microcystis sp. cell concentration equivalents (cells/ml), in Delta waterbodies large enough to use the State Water Resources Control Board mapping tool (e.g., Discovery Bay; South Delta along Grantline Canal and Old River surrounding Fabian Tract; Big Break Regional Shoreline; and San Joaquin River between Antioch and Stockton) with densities of 100,000 cell/ml or greater, evaluated annually.

Baseline

Spatial coverage (acres) based on satellite images during the period of 2016–2017

Target

Target to be achieved by 2034:

  • Zero acres of waterbodies with densities of 100,000 cells/ml^3

Data is retrieved from the HAB Incident Reports Map website where HAB sightings are voluntary reported. Data is then filtered to only include water bodies within the legal Delta area.

Data Source:

HABs incident reports map

CCHAB is a workgroup of the California Water Quality Monitoring Council. The mission of the CCHAB workgroup is " To work towards the development and maintenance of a comprehensive, coordinated program to identify and address the causes and impacts of cyanobacteria and harmful algal blooms (HABs) in California. "

CCHAB Portal

Both the United States Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) and the state of California have health advisory levels regarding cyanotoxins (HABs). These advisory  levels allow resource managers, water body managers, drinking water providers, and other entities that deal with HABs to take action when levels of cyanotoxin are identified to be unsafe.

USEPA Cyanotoxin Health Advisory

California Recreational Health Advisory

Have questions or comments about this measure? Contact Us