Groundwater Dependent Ecosystems under the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act: Guidance for Preparing Groundwater Sustainability Plans

The Nature Conservancy released a new guidance document, “Groundwater Dependent Ecosystems under the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act: Guidance for Preparing Groundwater Sustainability Plans,” to help agencies, consultants, and stakeholders efficiently incorporate groundwater dependent ecosystems (GDEs) into Groundwater Sustainability Plans (GSPs). The following summary is taken from the Overview of the report –

The Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA) contains specific requirements that groundwater sustainability agencies identify and consider impacts to groundwater dependent ecosystems (GDEs) and to incorporate GDEs into GSPs. This document provides a systematic and defensible approach to identify GDEs, determine whether potential effects on GDEs are occurring or may occur due to groundwater conditions, and consider GDEs when setting sustainable management criteria.

This guidance document is structured to answer the following five key questions:

1. Where are GDEs?
2. Are GDEs being impacted by current groundwater conditions, and could they be impacted by future groundwater conditions?
3. How can management achieve sustainability and avoid adverse impacts to GDEs?
4. How can progress and success be tracked through a monitoring network?
5. What actions can be taken to achieve sustainability?

Although seemingly structured as a linear step-by-step process, it is intended that SGMA practitioners and stakeholders apply adaptive management to begin with the best available information to make initial decisions, monitor the results of those decisions, and use the data collected through monitoring to revise decisions in the future.

Link to the full report: Groundwater Dependent Ecosystems under the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act: Guidance for preparing Groundwater Sustainability Plans