Wetland or ‘fake habitat’? Delta project sparks debate
Southwest of Sacramento, the branching arms of waterways reach into a patchwork of farm fields and pastures. Canals and wetlands fringed with reeds meet a sunbaked expanse of dry meadows. These lands on the northwestern edge of the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta have now been targeted for restoration following the widespread destruction of estuary marsh habitats that began over a century ago. But one habitat restoration project funded by a large agricultural water district is drawing criticism from environmental advocates. They say that while the project is based on claims of ecologically important marsh habitat, a large portion of the land is a high-and-dry former cattle pasture that does little to benefit endangered fish.
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