Our Program and Focus Areas


The Delta Regional Monitoring Program (Delta RMP) is a stakeholder-directed project formed to develop water quality data necessary for improving our understanding of Delta water quality issues. Our goal is to better coordinate and design current and future monitoring activities in and around the Delta to create a cost-effective approach for providing critically-needed water quality information to better inform policy and regulatory decisions of the Central Valley Regional Water Quality Control Board and other federal, state, and local agencies and organizations.

Click on the headings above to explore information about this program or review the timeline below.

Program Timeline

Water Quality Monitoring & Studies

Pesticides & Toxicity

2018 is Year 1 of a multi-year study of current-use pesticides and aquatic toxicity in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta. A rotating basin monitoring design with monitoring at two fixed sites will begin in October 2018, the “option 2” described in the 2018-19 DRMP Pesticides and Toxicity Monitoring Proposal. This proposal describes a 4-year monitoring program covering six Delta sub-regions after which an interpretive report will inform adaptive management and improve future monitoring.


Stations with data that will be used for the modeling analysis.

Stations with data that will be used for the modeling analysis. Model verification plots will be made for a subset of these stations covering all areas of the Delta.

Data Synthesis and Modeling

For this study, we propose to combine a hydrodynamic-biogeochemical model of the Delta in WY2016 with water quality measurements in order to understand what caused large phytoplankton blooms in this year. The approach will be to apply a biogeochemical model developed for WY2011 to WY2016 and then to compare the model predictions to measurements made throughout the Delta. Comparisons between the model and observations will provide insight into important mechanisms for phytoplankton productivity including physical and other influencing factors. The study will be a first step toward implementing priority research recommendations in the Delta Nutrient Research Plan. The study design leverages in-kind modeling resources from the Department of Water Resources and takes advantage of studies being funded by other parties. Finally, this project implements a recommendation to increase data sharing among different models and monitoring programs.

Intercalibration Study for Chlorophyll Fluorescence Sensors in the Bay-Delta

Chlorophyll is an important water quality parameter for assessing the effects of nutrients and for fisheries management in the Bay-Delta. This study is the second phase of a multi-year effort to improve the accuracy, precision, and comparability of chlorophyll data collected in the Bay-Delta. Phase I planning has shown that variability in the methods used for measurement chlorophyll across the Bay-Delta is significant and that reducing this variance is of interest to a wide variety of monitoring agencies. In FY18/19, we propose to tackle a portion of the problem with a series of tasks to help understand and reduce the variance in the measurements of chlorophyll by in-situ sensors and laboratory methods. The proposed tasks for 2018 include: (1) assessing methods used by different monitoring programs; (2) performing field intercalibration exercises between programs; (3) organizing a laboratory intercalibration study; and (4) preparing a summary report through technical workgroup discussion. The study leverages in-kind support from the Department of Water Resources and the US Bureau of Reclamation.


Map of Delta Regional Monitoring Program 2018-19 Mercury Monitoring

Mercury Sampling Sites. Click for larger view.

Continued monitoring of sport fish and water will address the highest priority information needs related to implementation and revision of the Methylmercury TMDL (re-opening of the TMDL is tentatively scheduled for 2020). Annual monitoring of sport fish will firmly establish baseline concentrations and interannual variation in support of monitoring of long-term trends as a critical performance measure for the TMDL. Monitoring of water on a near-monthly basis will solidify the linkage analysis (the quantitative relationship between methylmercury in water and methylmercury in sport fish) in the TMDL and contribute to verifying trends and patterns predicted by a numerical model of methylmercury transport and cycling being developed for the Delta and Yolo Bypass by the California Department of Water Resources (DWR).

Graphic of Large Mouth Bass - Saber Tooth Co.

The 8 water sampling event option was selected for 2018-19 monitoring described in the proposal below.


The two-year Pathogen Study was completed in April 2017. It was designed to fulfill the dual purpose of characterizing ambient conditions for pathogens (Cryptosporidium and Giardia) throughout the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, and satisfying Basin Plan requirements. The study coordinates water agency intake sample collection for the United States Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) Long Term 2 Enhanced Surface Water Treatment Rule (LT2) between April 2015 and April 2017 with ambient sample collection. The Delta RMP collected ambient samples at twelve locations through in-kind field support by the Municipal Water Quality Investigations (MWQI) section of the Department of Water Resources (DWR), and in-kind contributions from Workgroup members to oversee sample collection and data assessment. The study was phased to perform a Year 1 assessment of characterization data and then a more targeted Delta subarea evaluation of infectibility, source tracking, hydrodynamics, and decay and growth. However, monitoring results were all below threshold values in the first year and targeted studies were not necessary during the second year.

Contaminants of Emerging Concern (CEC)

In 2018-19, the Delta RMP will develop a Quality Assurance Program Plan (QAPP) and plan for program implementation of the CEC Pilot Study. Program implementation will include optimization of the pilot study work plan, logistics planning, sample collection and analysis vendor selection process administration, contract set-up with vendors, coordination with other monitoring programs, facilitation of the Technical Advisory Committee CEC Subcommittee, and start-up mobilization for 2019-2020 sample collection.

Following the Delta RMP Charter and Communications Plan, draft meeting summaries are confidential until approved. Meeting summaries will be made publicly-available and posted here after they have been approved by a vote of the Steering Committee or Technical Advisory Committee. The public versions of agenda packages posted here do not contain other confidential materials such as draft reports or provisional data. 


Steering Committee Meetings

Finance Committee

Mercury Subcommittee Meetings

CEC Subcommittee Meetings

Nutrients Subcommittee Meetings

Note: From 2018 - early 2020, the Delta RMP Nutrients Subcommittee held joint meetings with the Delta Nutrient Research Plan's Stakeholder and Technical Advisory Group.

Technical Advisory Committee Meetings

Pesticides Subcommittee Meetings

Data Management Subcommittee Meetings

Toxicity Working Group

  • October 13, 2020 Selection Committee Meeting
  • October 15, 2020 Selection Committee Meeting

Annual Workplan and Budget

Past Annual Workplans and Budgets

Quality Assurance Project Plan (QAPP)

This is the living document version of the program's QAPP in Google Docs and Google Sheets, to be edited on an as-needed basis.

The QAPP is updated each fiscal year. Here are the official versions of the QAPP, describing monitoring during the following fiscal years (July 1 - June 30):

  • QAPP v5, covering FY19-20 monitoring, dated August 28, 2019
  • QAPP v4, covering FY18-19 monitoring, dated November 19, 2018
  • QAPP v3, covering FY17-18 monitoring, dated March 14, 2018
  • QAPP v2, covering FY16-17 monitoring, dated September 30, 2016
  • QAPP v1, covering FY15-16 monitoring, dated July 19, 2019

Foundational Documents


The development of a Delta Regional Monitoring Program (Delta RMP) has been an ongoing process since 2008. This page archives documents related to the development process prior to the formation of the Steering Committee in the fall of 2012. Materials on this page will not be updated. Current information can be found on the main Delta RMP webpage. For meetings material and documents related to the development process prior to the formation of the Delta RMP Steering Committee in the fall of 2012, please see this webpage.

Early Reports

Early Framework Documents and Other References

Stakeholder Meeting - 15 August 2012

This stakeholder meeting was in response to the comments received on the Draft Proposal for a Regional Monitoring and Assessment Framework that was released to stakeholders in June. The meeting summary highlights the main concerns addressed in the comments and the responses to those comments from the Regional Board, Aquatic Science Center, and Brock Bernstein. Additionally, the meeting began initial discussions about the establishment of a steering committee for the Delta RMP. Future development will be guided by the steering committee.

NPDES Stakeholder Meeting - 16 November 2011

This stakeholder meeting was in response to the various interviews conducted by Thomas Jabusch (ASC) and Brock Bernstein (consultant) about the monitoring, reporting, and data management programs of specific dischargers, regulated by the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit program. The issues and opportunities identified (see Discharger Interview Summary) provided a useful starting point for improving the efficiency and effectiveness of monitoring as part of the initial implementation of the Delta RMP.

Stakeholder Meeting - 12 August 2010

Stakeholder Meeting - 12 May 2010

This stakeholder meeting was intended to re-engage stakeholders, begin implementation of the Regional Monitoring Program through a pilot project phase, and initiate technical work to address limitations with current monitoring and data management systems. This meeting began with presentations in the morning providing overviews of the work completed to date, the draft program strategy, Current Water Quality Monitoring Programs and the Lessons Learned from the POD Synthesis Analysis. A facilitated discussion followed in the afternoon (Please see the meeting summary for details).

Stakeholder Kick-off Meeting - 30 September 2008

Recognizing that stakeholder involvement and coordination will be critical to the success of the Delta RMP planning effort, Central Valley Regional Water Board staff scheduled a stakeholder kick-off meeting on 30 September 2008. During the initial session of the meeting, staff provided an overview of the impetus for the Delta RMP planning effort, elements of a successful RMP, existing delta monitoring programs, existing regional monitoring program models (e.g., San Francisco Bay RMP), and a facilitated discussion regarding potential constraints that may impede development of the RMP and potential benefits that could be realized should the RMP be successfully implemented. The second session consisted of a summary and further discussion of the key issues (as identified during the first session) that will need to be resolved as the RMP planning effort proceeds forward.

Stakeholder Working Groups - from 2008

One outcome of the stakeholder kick-off meeting was the formation of stakeholder working groups to assist the Water Boards in addressing the following aspects of the RMP framework: governance, monitoring questions, coordination with other programs, data integration, and funding. In an effort to facilitate this process, the project planning team (comprised of Water Boards and Aquatic Science Center staff, and Dr. Brock Bernstein) will prepare straw-man proposals for each of these issues, which will be provided to the working groups and other interested parties for review and comment.

Publications related to the Delta Regional Monitoring Program

The Institute has collectively produced more than 1300 reports, articles, and other publications over the course of its 24-year existence. The following list represents those publications associated with this individual program and its focus areas.

Year of Publication: 2018

Jabusch T, Trowbridge P, Heberger M, Orlando J, De Parsia M, Stillway M. Delta Regional Monitoring Program Annual Monitoring Report for Fiscal Year 2015–16: Pesticides and Toxicity. Richmond, CA: Aquatic Science Center; 2018 . Report No.: 864.  (1.34 MB) (519.77 KB) (2.07 MB) (1.19 MB) (339.08 KB) (26.29 MB) (57.12 MB) (298.4 KB) (3.5 MB) (312.86 KB) (24.34 KB) (180.15 KB) (718.56 KB)
Jabusch T, Trowbridge P, Heberger M, Guerin M. Delta Regional Monitoring Program Nutrients Synthesis: Modeling to Assist Identification of Temporal and Spatial Data Gaps for Nutrient Monitoring. Richmond, CA: Aquatic Science Center; 2018 . Report No.: 866.  (3.81 MB) (1 MB) (1.69 MB) (1.75 MB) (1.83 MB) (17.97 MB)

Year of Publication: 2017

Year of Publication: 2016

Jabusch T, Bresnahan P, Trowbridge P, Novick E, Wong A, Salomon M, et al.. Summary and Evaluation of Delta Subregions for Nutrient Monitoring and Assessment. 2016 . Report No.: 789.  (3.74 MB) (5.45 MB) (16.05 MB) (3.03 MB) (523.1 KB)

Year of Publication: 2015

Novick E, Holleman R, Jabusch T, Sun J, Trowbridge P, Senn D, et al.. Characterizing and quantifying nutrient sources, sinks and transformations in the Delta: synthesis, modeling, and recommendations for monitoring. Richmond, CA: San Francisco Estuary Institute; 2015 . Report No.: 785.  (2.39 MB) (101.95 KB) (2.58 MB) (1.52 MB) (115.37 KB) (8.97 MB) (36.31 MB)

Year of Publication: 2014

Year of Publication: 2009

Year of Publication: 1987

Gunther AJ. The Segmentation of the San Francisco Bay/Delta. Richmond, CA: San Francisco Estuary Institute; 1987 p. 18. Report No.: 135.  (1.23 MB)