Pelagic Organism Decline Overview

The Interagency Ecological Program (IEP), a consortium of nine state and federal agencies, has been monitoring aquatic organisms and water quality in the San Francisco estuary for decades. Since late 2004, scientific and public attention has focused on the unexpected decline of several pelagic (open-water) fishes (delta smelt, longfin smelt, juvenile striped bass, and threadfin shad) in the freshwater portion of the estuary known as the Delta. This decline has collectively become known as the Pelagic Organism Decline (POD). In 2005, the IEP formed a multi-agency POD Management Team tasked with designing and managing a comprehensive study to evaluate the causes of the decline and to synthesize and report the results. The causes under investigation include stock-recruitment effects, a decline in habitat quality; increased mortality rates; and reduced food availability due to invasive species.

POD Science Review Panel Overview

The review was originally intended to provide an independent review of (1) the initial results of the POD Investigation's 2005 activities, and (2) the investigation's proposed 2006 workplan. However, due to time and staff constraints, the IEP was unable to provide a draft of the 2006 workplan, so the review focused on the 2005 IEP POD Workplan and the 2005 IEP POD Synthesis Report. These written materials were augmented by a two-day working seminar held jointly in Sacramento by the CALFED Science Program, the IEP Management Team, and available POD principle investigators on November 14-15, 2005, and by individual discussions between panel members and IEP staff. The report provides the panel's perspectives on the data synthesis presented and on IEP project element issues, and makes recommendations for improvements in analyzing, interpreting, and defining appropriate context for future IEP POD-oriented investigations.

For a more detailed look at the Science Review Panel Report, please read the full document:

REVIEW PANEL REPORT: San Francisco Estuary Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta Interagency Ecological Program on Pelagic Organism Decline

IEP Review Panel Report Response Document

Supporting Documents

Additional Supporting Documents