Following nine years of research, a California agency has
proposed to increase water flows in the San Francisco Bay-Delta
Estuary. But the decision is causing contention between farmers
and fisheries. … The California Water Board is scheduled
to vote on the proposal in August.
Since 2010, Boating and Waterways has put more than 14,000
gallons of Roundup into the Delta, according to a McClatchy
review of data provided by the agency. The Roundup
treatments are part of a concerted effort to kill nonnative
aquatic plants, which have become so pervasive in the Delta
that NASA scientists can see them from space.
Nearly six decades ago, shortly after becoming governor, Pat
Brown persuaded the Legislature and voters to approve one of
the nation’s largest public works projects, the State Water
Plan. New reservoirs in Northern California, including the
nation’s highest dam at Oroville on the Feather River, would
capture runoff from snowfall in the Sierra, and a massive
aqueduct would carry water southward to San Joaquin Valley
farms and fast-growing Southern California cities.
I [Carl Nolte] just spent a couple of days in another world,
right in the heart of California. This is the Sacramento-San
Joaquin River Delta, which is as close — and as far away — from
the state’s big cities as you can imagine. You can see the edge
of the delta from a BART train heading toward Pittsburg.
More than two decades after Los Angeles was forced to cut water
diversions to protect California’s natural resources, the state
is poised to impose similar restrictions on San Francisco and
some of the Central Valley’s oldest irrigation districts. The
proposal represents a dramatic new front in one of California’s
most enduring water fights: the battle over the pastoral delta
that is part of the West Coast’s largest estuary and also an
important source of water for much of the state.
Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke paid a visit Friday to two
reservoirs that are embroiled in an intense fight over water
allocations in the Northern San Joaquin Valley. … Zinke was
accompanied by Rep. Jeff Denham, R-Turlock, whose two
amendments to block part of the state’s “water grab” passed the
House of Representatives on Thursday. Zinke, along with
Congressman Tom McClintock, sat at a picnic table to talk with
media at Don Pedro.
Critical permits and legal challenges are still pending, and
some farming groups still haven’t committed to paying for part
of Gov. Jerry Brown’s controversial $17 billion Delta tunnels
project. But even with the uncertainty, backers of the project
are poised to ask the Trump administration for a $1.6 billion
federal loan that millions of Californians ultimately would
have to repay through increases in their water bills.
A Modesto councilman called on the city to contribute toward
efforts to resist a state water grab that’s become an
emotionally charged issue in the region. Councilman Mani Grewal
said at Tuesday’s council meeting the state plan to take large
amounts of Tuolumne River water to rejuvenate the
Sacramento-San Joaquin River delta would create a “regulatory
drought” in Stanislaus County.
The framework of a plan for the Sacramento River watershed
released Friday by the state Water Resources Control Board
calls for an increase in the amount of water running into the
Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta and out to sea, but it leaves the
question of where that water would come from largely
A final draft plan for the San Joaquin River system has been
released by state water regulators. … But Friday the State
Water Board also released a “framework” for a similar plan
being prepared for the Sacramento River watershed, which would
see even larger reductions of diversions in the north valley.
The Metropolitan Water District of Southern California Tuesday
reaffirmed its approval of an $11-billion investment in a
massive water delivery project with a vote that highlighted a
deepening division on the agency’s board.
Nearly three months ago, a Delta farmer from Roberts Island
delivered the carcass of a dead nutria to the desk of Tim
Pelican, San Joaquin County’s agricultural commissioner. It was
the first of two nutria discovered in the county in April.
California water officials on Friday released a plan to
increase flows through a major central California river, an
effort that would save salmon and other fish but deliver less
water to farmers in the state’s agricultural heartland.
State regulators proposed sweeping changes in the allocation of
California’s water Friday, leaving more water in Northern
California’s major rivers to help ailing fish populations — and
giving less to farming and human consumption.
For more than 100 years, invasive species have made the
Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta their home, disrupting the
ecosystem and costing millions of dollars annually in
remediation. The latest invader is the nutria, a large rodent
native to South America that causes concern because of its
propensity to devour every bit of vegetation in sight and
destabilize levees by burrowing into them. Wildlife officials
are trapping the animal and trying to learn the extent of its
Proposition 68 was approved with 56 percent of the vote to
authorize the state to borrow $4.1 billion for investments in
outdoor recreation, land conservation and water projects,
according to the latest results Wednesday morning.
For more than 100 years, invasive
species have made the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta their home,
disrupting the ecosystem and costing millions of dollars annually
The latest invader is the nutria, a large rodent native to South
America that causes concern because of its propensity to devour
every bit of vegetation in sight and destabilize levees by
burrowing into them. Wildlife officials are trapping the animal
and trying to learn the extent of its infestation.
Deep, throaty cadenced calls —
sounding like an off-key bassoon — echo over the grasslands,
farmers’ fields and wetlands starting in late September of each
year. They mark the annual return of sandhill cranes to the
Cosumnes River Preserve,
46,000 acres located 20 miles south of Sacramento on the edge of
the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta.
Deep, throaty cadenced calls — sounding like an off-key bassoon
— echo over the grasslands, farmers’ fields and wetlands
starting in late September of each year. They mark the annual
return of sandhill cranes to the Cosumnes River Preserve,
46,000 acres located 20 miles south of Sacramento on the edge
of the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta.
For more than 100 years, invasive species have made the
Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta their home, disrupting the
ecosystem and costing millions of dollars annually in
remediation. … Even though invasive plants and animals long
have been known to exist in California’ water hub, tracking
their extent in an area as large as the Delta — 738,000 acres —
is an uneven task that could benefit from greater coordination
and funding, a panel of experts recently told the Delta
Independent Science Board.
Legislation that creates a fund to help remove derelict
commercial vessels from the Delta passed the Assembly on
Wednesday. It was one of two bills authored by Assemblyman Jim
Frazier, D-Discovery Bay, to clear the Assembly and now heads
to the Senate for consideration.
Before the midday heat had set in, Jeff Cann and Tim Kroeker
were out of their Dodge pickup, trudging through waist-deep
water in waders and rubber boots. The two wildlife biologists
had come to this vast expanse of sun-soaked Central Valley
wetlands on a recent morning to check in on the first traps
that California has authorized in its nascent effort to hunt —
and exterminate — the nutria.
The South Bay’s largest water agency gave a big lift to Gov.
Jerry Brown’s plan for a pair of water conveyance tunnels
through the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta on Tuesday,
committing $650 million to the effort. The $17 billion tunnels
project, which would help move water from Northern California
to the drier south, has been among the governor’s top
priorities but has lacked the necessary funding to move
In a dramatic reversal of its stance just six months ago,
Silicon Valley’s largest water district has scheduled a vote
Wednesday on a plan to commit up to $650 million to Gov. Jerry
Brown’s controversial proposal to build two massive tunnels
under the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta.
California’s Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta is vital to water
supplies for 25 million people and 4 million acres of farmland.
It is linked to the Pacific Ocean via San Francisco Bay, which
makes this water supply uniquely vulnerable to sea level rise.
Yet understanding sea level rise in the Delta is complicated.
Peter Moyle, an eminent authority on the ecology and
conservation of California’s fishes, stands on the narrow deck
of a survey boat and gazes out over the sloughs of Suisun
Marsh. The tall, tubular stems of tule reeds bend in the wind
as a flock of pelicans soars past, their white wings edged in
black. It’s an idyllic scene that hints at an earlier
time, back before the Gold Rush, when undisturbed creeks and
tidal marsh covered the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta.
Sometime after Tim Pelican arrived at work Monday, a farmer
stopped by to deliver a package to San Joaquin County’s
agricultural commissioner. The farmer’s package contained a
dead nutria, a 2½–foot-long, 20-pound beast that looks like a
beaver but is smaller and has a round, ratlike tail and white
The “triple threat” of invasive rodent species has made its way
to the edge of the delta, officials said, putting the state’s
fragile water infrastructure at risk. The California Department
of Fish and Wildlife said Tuesday that it had discovered the
nutria, a large rat-like mammal that inhabits wet, rural areas,
on agricultural land west of Stockton.
The destructive invasive swamp rodents known as nutria are
officially on the doorstep of one of the state’s most
critically important waterways. State wildlife officials
announced Tuesday that a nutria was killed on agricultural land
west of Stockton in San Joaquin County.
Two tunnels, one or none? The question continues to swirl
around plans to perform major surgery on the sickly heart of
California’s water system. Confronted with a shortage of
funding, state officials announced last month that they would
move ahead with the construction of one giant water tunnel
under the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta rather than two.
Facing pressure from Gov. Jerry Brown, Southern California’s
largest water agency could vote as soon as April on whether to
take a majority stake in the twin-tunnels project Brown plans
for the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta.
About the size of a beagle, they can quickly turn a lush green
marsh to a wasteland. … They are called nutria, and right now
they’re starting to spread through the waterways leading into
the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, the ecologically fragile
network of sloughs and rivers that functions as the heart of
California’s flood-control and water distribution system.
The State Water Resources Control Board and the parties seeking
to incorporate voluntary settlement agreements in the Bay-Delta
Water Quality Control Plan should identify a specific,
tractable set of problems that can be addressed over the next
15 years through this plan. … Members of the Brown
administration asked a small group of us to offer views on
elements that should be considered in such settlements.
Faced with a shortage of money and political support after
seven years of work, Gov. Jerry Brown’s administration is
working on a plan to scale back one of his key legacy projects,
a $17 billion proposal to build two massive tunnels under the
Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta to make it easier to move
water from Northern California to the south.
In the final days of 2017, President Donald Trump’s
administration announced it would consider sending as much
water as possible from the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta to
farmers and cities to the south. The notice comes as a
follow-up to a speech Trump made in Fresno during his
presidential campaign, when he condemned the downstream flow of
river water into the ocean as “insane.”
A tiny fish caught in California’s tug of war over water has
become harder to find than ever, a state survey found, despite
a very wet winter last year that had raised hopes for a bounce
back after five years of drought.
The Trump administration, teeing up a fight with California
regulators, is trying to pump more water through the fragile
Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta to the southern half of the state
despite fresh evidence of the estuary’s shrinking fish
It’s been more than half a century since Californians started
talking seriously about building a new conveyance system –
canals or tunnels – to divert water around the Sacramento-San
Joaquin Bay Delta to south Delta pumps for export to farms and
cities in the south.
In a landmark vote closely watched across California, Silicon
Valley’s largest water agency on Tuesday rejected Gov. Jerry
Brown’s $17 billion plan to build two giant tunnels under the
Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta.
The Metropolitan Water District of Southern California’s board
voted to pay for about a quarter of the tunnels project, Gov.
Jerry Brown’s $17.1 billion effort to re-engineer the
Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta and improve water deliveries to
south state cities and farms.
With two key California WaterFix votes looming, Gov. Jerry
Brown expressed confidence Thursday that water agencies will
commit to enough funding to sustain the massive project. Brown
was in Los Angeles to lobby for the $17-billion proposal, which
would re-engineer the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, the hub of
California’s complex waterworks.
Bryan Brock stared out at a rice field on Twitchell Island,
nestled between the meandering river paths of the
Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta. … Medium-grain rice was planted
here in 2009 as a research project to see if rice could help
the Delta survive the impacts of subsidence. The results have
yielded both good and bad news.
Estuaries are places where fresh and
salt water mix, usually at the point where a river enters the
ocean. They are the meeting point between riverine environments
and the sea, with a combination of tides, waves, salinity, fresh
water flow and sediment. The constant churning means there are
elevated levels of nutrients, making estuaries highly productive
The engineers who scrambled to prevent Delta farms from
flooding this year have long insisted that the levees
surrounding those low-lying islands are not as fragile as
they’re sometimes portrayed to be.
Whatever the prognosticators say, the latest effort by south
San Joaquin Valley Republicans to wring more water out of the
Delta is undeniably ambitious. A bill that cleared the House of
Representatives last week requires the Delta to be governed by
20-year-old water quality standards that scientists say are
inadequate for the estuary’s freshwater ecosystem.
When it comes to California and climate change, the predictions
are staggering: coastal airports besieged by floodwaters,
entire beaches disappearing as sea levels rise. Another
disturbing scenario is brewing inland, in the sleepy backwaters
of the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta.
The [Delta] Conservancy, a state agency that oversees
environmental and economic opportunities in the Delta, recently
won approval from the American Carbon Registry for a new carbon
banking methodology. This means wetland restoration in the
Delta (and other coastal areas of the state) can now generate
money by selling greenhouse gas credits to
The Delta Landscapes Project (funded by California Department of
Fish & Wildlife) offers new insights into the Sacramento-San
Joaquin Delta, examining how to achieve better restoration
outcomes by understanding how the natural systems originally
Given the complexities of the restoration efforts and the large
number of agencies and stakeholders involved, in-person dialog
among restoration practitioners, landowners and regulators is
necessary to adapt the scientific findings into a usable
framework for on-the-ground decision-making.
Civic Center Galleria
1110 West Capitol Ave.
West Sacramento, CA 95691
Roberts Island hasn’t flooded severely since 1884. Yet here
they are, fourth-generation farmer Mike Robinson and his son,
Michael, spending their Friday night inspecting every inch of
the 15-mile levee from a truck crawling along at 5 mph.
After three days of king tides and massive rainfall, levees in
the Delta have begun to fail, flooding islands, duck clubs and
other land north of Pittsburg, an island owner and emergency
official said Thursday.
An East Bay man trying to create a kite-surfing hangout in the
delta for Silicon Valley’s elite stepped up his unusual battle
with water regulators Thursday, suing them after he was hit
with an unprecedented $2.8 million fine for raising dikes
across wetlands near Pittsburg.
The report’s findings were unequivocal: Given the current pace
of water diversions, the San Francisco Bay and the Delta
network of rivers and marshes are ecological goners, with many
of its native fish species now experiencing a “sixth
extinction,” environmental science’s most-dire definition of
Understanding the importance of the Bay-Delta ecosystem and
working to restore it means grasping the scope of what it once
was. That’s the takeaway message of a report released Nov. 14
by the San Francisco Estuary Institute. The report, “A Delta
Renewed,” is the latest in a series sponsored by the California
Department of Fish and Wildlife (DFW).
Understanding the importance of the Bay-Delta ecosystem and
working to restore it means grasping the scope of what it once
That’s the takeaway message of a report released Nov. 14 by the
San Francisco Estuary Institute.
The report, “A
Delta Renewed,” is the latest in a series sponsored by the
California Department of Fish and Wildlife (DFW). Written by
several authors, the report says there is “cause for hope” to
achieving large-scale Delta restoration in a way that supports
people, farms and the environment. SFEI calls itself “one of
California’s premier aquatic and ecosystem science institutes.”
Zooplankton, which are floating
aquatic microorganisms too small and weak to swim against
currents, are are important food sources for many fish species in
the Delta such as salmon, sturgeon and Delta smelt.
Scientists from two federal agencies are about to overhaul the
rules governing the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, potentially
increasing protections for endangered fish populations and
limiting the amount of water pumped to Southern California and
the San Joaquin Valley.
Either there’s been a spill at the local pea soup plant, or
Stockton is suffering another nasty algae outbreak at the
downtown waterfront. … The algae problem also has come up
this week in Sacramento as state water officials begin
extensive hearings that may determine the fate of the proposed
A Southern California agency that provides drinking water for
19 million people officially became a substantial Delta
landowner for the first time Monday after escrow closed on its
$175 million purchase of several large islands.
Four islands in the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta and a
chunk of a fifth are now officially the property of the
Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, district
officials announced Monday.
Southern California’s powerful water supplier has completed the
$175-million purchase of five islands in the heart of
the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta, the ecologically
sensitive region that’s a key source of water for the
Delta interests won another last-minute, temporary reprieve on
Friday in their efforts to block Southern California’s
controversial $175 million purchase of about 20,000 acres of
land in the fragile estuary.
The sale of four Delta islands to Southern California’s largest
water district was put back on hold Friday by an appeals court
as Northern California opponents plan to take their case to the
state Supreme Court.
Judge Michael Kenny of the Sacramento Superior Court today
ruled that the Delta Plan is “invalid” after a successful legal
challenge by multiple Delta parties who argued that the
controversial plan is not protective of the water quality or
the fish species that depend on fresh water flows for their
A popular Delta sportfish may be on the hook yet again after
water users mostly south of the estuary asked state officials
this week to allow more of the fish to be caught, in order to
reduce their numbers.
With months of contentious hearings ahead this summer, state
and federal officials this week filed documents laying out
their case that construction of two huge tunnels through the
heart of the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta would not harm north
state water users.
A San Joaquin County Superior Court judge on Thursday cleared
the way for a Southern California water district to complete
its purchase of 20,000 acres of land in the Delta, ruling that
it was too soon to say how the property would be used.
Southern California’s largest water supplier can move ahead
with plans to buy sprawling farmland that could be used to help
build twin tunnels far to the north through the Sacramento-San
Joaquin River Delta, a judge ruled Thursday.
In a setback for Delta advocates, a San Joaquin County Superior
Court judge on Friday declined to grant a restraining order
that would have temporarily blocked a Southern California water
agency from purchasing more than 20,000 acres of land in the
heart of the estuary.
The Sacramento Regional County Sanitation District hired
Dragados USA to build a biological nutrient removal station,
part of a larger $1.5 billion to $2 billion effort to meet
stricter state standards on wastewater pollutants discharged
into the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta.
Three environmentalist groups filed a lawsuit Friday alleging
that to increase water flowing to farms and cities, state and
federal regulators in the drought have repeatedly relaxed
water-quality standards on the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta to
the detriment of its wild fish species.
For the first time in five years, Northern California’s rivers
are roaring and its reservoirs are filled almost to the brim.
But you’d hardly know it, based on how quiet it’s been at the
two giant pumping stations at the south end of the
Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta.
Just days after a powerful Southern California water agency
announced it was spending $175 million to buy five islands in
the heart of the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, a coalition of
opponents has sued to demand environmental review of the
Declaring that the Delta “will not be the next Owens Valley,”
San Joaquin and Contra Costa counties — along with farmers and
environmental groups — sued Thursday to block a Southern
California water district from buying more than 20,000 acres of
farmland in the heart of the estuary.
But attorneys for Delta farmers may be gearing up to challenge
certain aspects of the sale, which would, for the first time,
make Metropolitan a major landowner within the heart of
California’s water distribution system.
Already viewed with suspicion and hostility in the north state
water community, the powerful Metropolitan Water District of
Southern California is broadening its reach by purchasing $175
million worth of real estate in the very hub of California’s
water delivery network: the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta.
Only a close look at the Middle River revealed anything amiss
in this part of the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta. Instead
of flowing north toward San Francisco Bay, as nature intended,
the Middle was headed south.
Southern California’s giant water provider agreed Tuesday to
purchase about 20,000 acres of land in the Delta, a move one
Stockton-based advocacy group quickly called an “existential
threat” to the future of the estuary.
In a controversial move that could shake up California’s water
community, Southern California’s most powerful water agency
moved a giant step closer Tuesday to purchasing a cluster of
islands in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta.
The Sacramento–San Joaquin Delta is one of the West’s most
important estuaries, and a critically important water source
for millions of Californians. … We interviewed Phil Isenberg,
vice chair of the Delta Stewardship Council and a member of
PPIC’s board of directors, about the state of the Delta.
[Gary] Rogers, 72, is a first responder of sorts in the war on
water hyacinth. He patrols the Delta several times a week,
investigating those backwater sloughs where the alien scourge
is known to incubate.
The Bureau of Reclamation will open the Delta Cross Channel
Gates today, Thursday, May 14, at approximately 9 a.m. The
opening is needed to meet interior water quality standards in
the Bay-Delta. The gates are scheduled to close on Monday, May
18, at approximately 9 a.m.
When the sun is shining and our rivers are low, we tend to
forget about levees. However, you can’t ignore the 1,100 miles
of levees in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta. … This video
is a simulation of what would happen if a severe earthquake hit
the western Delta, causing widespread failure of levees.
On Tuesday, California senators Dianne Feinstein and Barbara
Boxer launched a third effort by introducing legislation in the
Senate. U.S. Rep. John Garamendi, D-Walnut Grove, also
introduced a bill in the House.
In any lowland, levees define how humans live and how they
disrupt native habitats. This is as true for the Sacramento-San
Joaquin Delta as it is for coastal Louisiana, Vietnam and the
Netherlands. Flood safety in the Delta is a statewide concern
because the region serves as a hub for delivering water to most
Californians and supports native fish.
Estuaries are hard places to understand and even harder to
explain. Estuarine scientists, myself included, have struggled
to learn how changes in the San Francisco Estuary led to
declining fish populations and waning productivity,
particularly in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta.
Throughout Gov. Jerry Brown’s record-length political career,
we’ve never known quite what to expect. What’s real and what’s
not? … Brown is determined to re-plumb the
Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta, a tough task politically
that he attempted three decades ago until stopped by
In wet years, dry years and every type of water year in between,
the daily intrusion and retreat of salinity in the Sacramento-San
Joaquin Delta is a constant pattern.
The cycle of ebb and flood is the defining nature of an estuary
and prior to its transformation into an agricultural tract in
the mid-19th century, the Delta was a freshwater marsh with
plants, birds, fish and wildlife that thrived on the edge of the
This 30-minute documentary, produced in 2011, explores the past,
present and future of flood management in California’s Central
Valley. It features stories from residents who have experienced
the devastating effects of a California flood firsthand.
Interviews with long-time Central Valley water experts from
California Department of Water Resources (FloodSAFE), U.S. Army
Corps of Engineers, Bureau of Reclamation, Central Valley Flood
Management Program and environmental groups are featured as they
discuss current efforts to improve the state’s 150-year old flood
protection system and develop a sustainable, integrated, holistic
flood management plan for the Central Valley.
This 30-minute documentary-style DVD on the history and current
state of the San Joaquin River Restoration Program includes an
overview of the geography and history of the river, historical
and current water delivery and uses, the genesis and timeline of
the 1988 lawsuit, how the settlement was reached and what was
This 25-minute documentary-style DVD, developed in partnership
with the California Department of Water Resources, provides an
excellent overview of climate change and how it is already
affecting California. The DVD also explains what scientists
anticipate in the future related to sea level rise and
precipitation/runoff changes and explores the efforts that are
underway to plan and adapt to climate.
15-minute DVD that graphically portrays the potential disaster
should a major earthquake hit the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta.
“Delta Warning” depicts what would happen in the event of an
earthquake registering 6.5 on the Richter scale: 30 levee breaks,
16 flooded islands and a 300 billion gallon intrusion of salt
water from the Bay – the “big gulp” – which would shut down the
State Water Project and Central Valley Project pumping plants.
30-minute DVD that traces the history of the U.S. Bureau of
Reclamation and its role in the development of the West. Includes
extensive historic footage of farming and the construction of
dams and other water projects, and discusses historic and modern
Water truly has shaped California into the great state it is
today. And if it is water that made California great, it’s the
fight over – and with – water that also makes it so critically
important. In efforts to remap California’s circulatory system,
there have been some critical events that had a profound impact
on California’s water history. These turning points not only
forced a re-evaluation of water, but continue to impact the lives
of every Californian. This 2005 PBS documentary offers a
historical and current look at the major water issues that shaped
the state we know today. Includes a 12-page viewer’s guide with
background information, historic timeline and a teacher’s lesson.
This beautiful 24×36 inch poster, suitable for framing, features
a map of the San Joaquin River. The map text focuses on the San
Joaquin River Restoration Program, which aims to restore flows
and populations of Chinook salmon to the river below Friant Dam
to its confluence with the Merced River. The text discusses the
history of the program, its goals and ongoing challenges with
Water as a renewable resource is depicted in this 18×24 inch
poster. Water is renewed again and again by the natural
hydrologic cycle where water evaporates, transpires from plants,
rises to form clouds, and returns to the earth as precipitation.
Excellent for elementary school classroom use.
This 24×36 inch poster, suitable for framing, explains how
non-native invasive animals can alter the natural ecosystem,
leading to the demise of native animals. “Unwelcome Visitors”
features photos and information on four such species – including
the zerbra mussel – and explains the environmental and economic
threats posed by these species.
This 24×36 inch poster, suitable for framing, explains how
non-native invasive plants can alter the natural ecosystem,
leading to the demise of native plants and animals. “Space
Invaders” features photos and information on six non-native
plants that have caused widespread problems in the Bay-Delta
Estuary and elsewhere.
The 24-page Layperson’s Guide to
Flood Management explains the physical flood control system,
including levees; discusses previous flood events (including the
1997 flooding); explores issues of floodplain management and
development; provides an overview of flood forecasting; and
outlines ongoing flood control projects.
The 24-page Layperson’s Guide to California Water provides an
excellent overview of the history of water development and use in
California. It includes sections on flood management; the state,
federal and Colorado River delivery systems; Delta issues; water
rights; environmental issues; water quality; and options for
stretching the water supply such as water marketing and
The 24-page Layperson’s Guide to the Central Valley Project
explores the history and development of the federal Central
Valley Project (CVP), California’s largest surface water delivery
system. In addition to the project’s history, the guide describes
the various CVP facilities, CVP operations, the benefits the CVP
brought to the state and the CVP Improvement Act (CVPIA).
The 24-page Layperson’s Guide to the Delta explores the competing
uses and demands on California’s Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta.
Included in the guide are sections on the history of the Delta,
its role in the state’s water system, and its many complex issues
with sections on water quality, levees, salinity and agricultural
drainage, fish and wildlife, and water distribution.
A new look for our most popular product! And it’s the perfect
gift for the water wonk in your life.
Our 24×36 inch California Water Map is widely known for being the
definitive poster that shows the integral role water plays in the
state. On this updated version, it is easier to see California’s
natural waterways and man-made reservoirs and aqueducts
– including federally, state and locally funded
projects – the wild and scenic rivers system, and
natural lakes. The map features beautiful photos of
California’s natural environment, rivers, water projects,
wildlife, and urban and agricultural uses and the
text focuses on key issues: water supply, water use, water
projects, the Delta, wild and scenic rivers and the Colorado
For more than 30 years, the Sacramento-San Joaquin
Delta has been embroiled in continuing controversy over the
struggle to restore the faltering ecosystem while maintaining its
role as the hub of the state’s water supply.
Lawsuits and counter lawsuits have been filed, while
environmentalists and water users continue to clash over
the amount of water that can be safely exported from the region.
Roughly 1,115 miles of levees protect farms, cities, schools and
people in and around the Sacramento-San Joaquin
Delta, a crucial conduit for California’s overall water
supply. But the Delta’s levees are vulnerable to failure due to
floods, earthquakes and rising sea levels brought about by
climate change. A widespread failure could imperil the state’s
The Sacramento-San Joaquin
Delta includes approximately 500,000 acres of waterways,
levees and farmed lands extending over portions of six counties:
Alameda, Contra Costa, Sacramento, San Joaquin, Solano and Yolo.
Freshwater flows from the Delta meets saltwater from the ocean
near Suisun Marsh located to the east of San Francisco Bay.
Suisun Marsh and adjoining
bays are the brackish transition between fresh and salt water.
But the location of that transition is not fixed.
The Sacramento-San Joaquin
Delta has been the hub of California’s water system for more
than 50 years and along the way water experts have struggled
to balance the many competing demands placed on the estuary—the
largest freshwater tidal estuary on the West Coast.
The Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta always has been at the mercy of
river flows and brackish tides.
Before human intervention, salty ocean water from the San
Francisco Bay flooded the vast Delta marshes during dry summers
when mountain runoff ebbed. Then, during winter, heavy runoff
from the mountains repelled sea water intrusion.
The Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta is California’s most crucial
water and ecological resource. It is the largest freshwater tidal
estuary of its kind
on the west coast of the Americas, providing important habitat
for birds on the Pacific Flyway and for fish that live in or pass
through the Delta. It also the hub of California’s two largest
surface water delivery projects, the State Water Project and the
Valley Project. The Delta provides a portion of the drinking
water for 29 million Californians and irrigation water for large
portions of the state’s $50 billion agricultural industry.
Over times, the home of these species-the Sacramento-San Joaquin
Delta ecosystem-has been impacted for many decades by human
activities, such as gold mining, flood protection and land
reclamation. Along the way, more than 200 exotic species have
been intentionally or accidentally introduced.
The Monterey Amendment, a 1994 pact between Department of Water
Resources and State Water Project contractors, helped ease
environmental stresses on the Sacramento San Joaquin Delta.
As part of large-scale restructuring of water supply contracts,
the Monterey Amendment allowed for storage of excess flows during
wet years in groundwater banks and surface storage reservoir.
This stored water could then be used later during dry periods or
to help the Delta.
Invasive species, also known as
exotics, are plants, animals, insects and aquatic species
introduced into non-native habitats.
Often, invasive species travel to non-native areas by ship,
either in ballast water released into harbors or attached to the
sides of boats. From there, introduced species can then spread
and significantly alter ecosystems and the natural food chain as
they go. Another example of non-native species introduction is
the dumping of aquarium fish into waterways.
Environmental concerns have closely followed California’s
development of water resources since its earliest days as a
Early miners harnessed water to dislodge gold through hydraulic
mining. Debris resulting from these mining practices washed down
in rivers and streams, choking them and harming aquatic life and
The Delta Stewardship Council was created as an independent state
agency in 2009 to achieve California’s coequal goals for the
Joaquin Delta of providing a more reliable water supply for
the state and protecting, restoring and enhancing the Delta
Overseen by the California Department of Water Resources,
California Department of Fish and Wildlife and the U.S. Army
Corps of Engineers, the Delta Risk Management Strategy evaluated
the sustainability of the
Joaquin Delta and assessed major risks from floods, seepage,
subsidence and earthquakes, sea level rise and climate change.
The Delta Pumping Plant Fish Protection Agreement stems from an
early effort to balance the needs of fish protection and State Water Project
operations. Negotiated in the mid-1980s, the agreement
foreshadowed future battles over fish protection and pumping.
[See also Sacramento-San Joaquin
The Delta Plan is a comprehensive management plan for the
Joaquin Delta intended to help the state meet the coequal
goals of water reliability and ecosystem restoration.
Stewardship Council, which oversees the Delta Plan, adopted a
final version in May 2013 after three years of study and public
meetings. Once completed, the Bay Delta Conservation Plan could
be incorporated into the Delta Plan.
Construction began in 1937 to build the Contra Costa Canal, the
first part of the federal Central Valley
Project. The Contra Costa Canal runs from the Sacramento-San Joaquin
Delta, where it draws its water near Knightsen, to the
eastern and central parts of Contra Costa County. It is about 30
miles from San Francisco.
This issue of Western Water looks at the BDCP and the
Coalition to Support Delta Projects, issues that are aimed at
improving the health and safety of the Delta while solidifying
California’s long-term water supply reliability.
This printed issue of Western Water examines the issues
associated with the State Water Board’s proposed revision of the
water quality Bay-Delta Plan, most notably the question of
whether additional flows are needed for the system, and how they
might be provided.
This printed issue of Western Water examines science –
the answers it can provide to help guide management decisions in
the Delta and the inherent uncertainty it holds that can make
moving forward such a tenuous task.
The critical condition of the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta has
prompted the question of how it can continue to serve as a source
of water for 25 million people while remaining a viable
ecosystem, agricultural community and growing residential center.
Developing a “dual conveyance” system of continuing to use Delta
waterways to convey water to the export pumps but also building a
new pipeline or canal to move some water supplies around the
Delta is an issue of great scrutiny.
This printed copy of Western Water examines the Delta through the
many ongoing activities focusing on it, most notably the Delta
Vision process. Many hours of testimony, research, legal
proceedings, public hearings and discussion have occurred and
will continue as the state seeks the ultimate solution to the
problems tied to the Delta.
Consider the array of problems facing the Sacramento- San Joaquin
Delta for too long and the effect can be nearly overwhelming.
Permanently altered more than a century ago, the estuary -
arguably the only one of its kind – is an enigma to those outside
its realm, a region embroiled in difficulties that resist simple,
There are multiple Delta Vision processes underway and a decision
on the future of the Delta will be made in the next two years.
Unlike past planning efforts that focused primarily on water
resource issues and the ecosystem, these current efforts are
expanding to include land use planning, recreation, flood
management, and energy, rail and transportation infrastructure.
How – or if – all these competing demands can be accommodated is
the question being considered.
This issue of Western Water examines the Sacramento-San
Joaquin Delta as it stands today and the efforts by government
agencies, policy experts, elected officials and the public at
large to craft a vision for a sustainable future.
This issue of Western Water discusses the CALFED Bay-Delta
Program and what the future holds as it enters a crucial period.
From its continued political viability to the advancement of best
available science and the challenges of fulfilling the ROD, the
near future will feature a lively discussion that will play a
significant role in the program’s future.
The Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta has been described as the
“switching yard” of California ’s water delivery system, moving
billions of gallons that supply the drinking water and irrigation
for millions of people. When stakeholders signed the 1994
Bay-Delta Accord, it was a dual-purpose deal designed to
preserve, protect and restore the ecosystem and increase water
This issue of Western Water examines the extensive activity
associated with the projects and issues related to the Napa
proposal – from increasing the state’s pumping capacity to
improvements in the south Delta to the creation of a lasting
Environmental Water Account to addressing water quality concerns.
As of press time, the proposal was far from finalized, undergoing
review and possible revision by government agencies and
The release of the CALFED Record of Decision in 2000 marked a
turning point in the multi-year effort to craft a Delta “fix”
that addressed both environmental problems and water supply
reliability. How to finance the many components within the plan
and ensure the plan is implemented over the next 30 years is a