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Achieving the long-term vision of a resilient Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta ecosystem requires meeting multiple goals simultaneously, including self-sustaining wildlife populations and thriving communities of people, in an evolving landscape. However, to effectively plan and implement policies and land management decisions intended to achieve multiple goals, it is essential to be able to identify the potential trade-offs of changes to the landscape across multiple goals. Meeting this challenge would support effective policy and resource management decisions and address several science priorities identified in Science Action Agendas for the Delta.

In Phase 1 of this project, we built on our partnerships in the Delta and broader Central Valley, and on our expertise in multiple-benefit conservation and avian ecology in agricultural landscapes, to help meet this challenge by addressing two main goals: (1) identify Priority Bird Conservation Areas in the Delta to support effective restoration and management decisions, and (2) develop a science-based framework for forecasting the net benefits or trade-offs of proposed or anticipated landscape changes on multiple goals. The ultimate goals of this project were to support communication among Delta community members about the projected synergies and trade-offs among multiple metrics, facilitate the identification of, and community support for, solutions to address these trade-offs, and thereby support effective decision-making and policy to reach the Delta Plan’s multiple goals. Phase 1 results are now available in our Final Project Report, with peer-reviewed manuscripts underway and multiple supporting data products now available (see below).

This DeltaMultipleBenefits R package serves as our open-source, science-based framework that supports estimating the net impacts of scenarios of landscape change in the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta to identify projected benefits and trade-offs across multiple metrics. The package supports land use planning, management, conservation, and community engagement in the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta by providing tools for applying existing models and data to user-supplied landscapes to estimate a range of benefits to the Delta community and compare a baseline landscape to proposed or anticipated future landscape scenarios. Currently, the benefit categories addressed include: Agricultural Livelihoods, Water Quality, Climate Change Resilience, and Biodiversity Support. Each category is represented by multiple individual metrics, representing either values applied to each land cover class and summarized over the entire landscape or the total amount of suitable habitat projected from species distribution models. By comparing landscape totals for each metric estimated from a baseline landscape and alternative scenarios of future landscape change, the expected direction and magnitude of the net change in each metric is estimated.


You can install the development version from GitHub with:

# install.packages("devtools")

How to use

This package includes a vignette that serves as a tutorial outlining the major steps of analyzing alternative Delta landscapes and comparing them to each other, including:

  1. Preparing new landscape scenarios for analysis
  2. Summarizing the net change in the total area of each land cover class
  3. Estimating the net change in simple metrics
  4. Estimating the net change in metrics informed by spatial models

Supporting data

Baseline and projected future land use and land cover in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta

Metrics Data for Quantifying Multidimensional Impacts of Landscape Change in California’s Sacramento–San Joaquin Delta. DOI: 10.5281/zenodo.7504874 (also included in the DeltaMultipleBenefits package)

Distribution models for riparian landbirds and waterbirds in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta. DOI: 10.5281/zenodo.7531945

Supplemental Spatial Data for Quantifying Multidimensional Impacts of Landscape Change in California’s Sacramento–San Joaquin Delta. DOI: 10.5281/zenodo.7672193

Relevant Literature

Dybala KE, Sesser K, Reiter M, Hickey C, Gardali T. 2023. Final Project Report: Trade-offs and Co-benefits of Landscape Change Scenarios on Bird Communities and Ecosystem Services in the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta. Point Blue Conservation Science, Petaluma, CA

Dybala K, Sesser K, Reiter M, Shuford WD, Golet GH, Hickey C, Gardali T (In press) Priority Bird Conservation Areas in California’s Sacramento–San Joaquin Delta. San Francisco Estuary and Watershed Science

Dybala KE, Reiter ME, Hickey CM (In review) Multiple-benefit Conservation in Practice: A Framework for Quantifying Multi-dimensional Impacts of Landscape Change in California’s Sacramento–San Joaquin Delta

Funding Statement

These data were developed as part of the project “Trade-offs and Co-benefits of Landscape Change on Bird Communities and Ecosystem Services in the Sacramento–San Joaquin River Delta”, funded by Proposition 1 Delta Water Quality and Ecosystem Restoration Program, Grant Agreement Number – Q1996022, administered by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife.