2019 Franks Tract Futures Report

by Jamie Bolt

“Franks Tract Futures” is a pending project by the State of California aimed at decreasing salt water intrusion into our delta drinking water supply. Causation can be potential drought years as well as natural sea level rise. The intention is to block the powerful tidal, funnel action that Franks Tract causes which potentially brings salt water into the delta from the San Francisco Bay. The initial plan proposed creating a huge tidal marsh which would completely block Franks Tract and a portion of False River from boating traffic. Unfortunately, it would also block the beneficial tidal flushing action of these critical waterways. An abundance of boaters, fisherman, kayakers, duck hunters, kite-boarders and residents rely on access to Franks Tract for year-round recreational purposes. Additionally, marinas, supporting businesses and homeowners would suffer irreversible negative impacts by the original planned project. California Department of Fish and Game is the lead agency with collaborative leadership by the University of California at Davis. In 2019 a small group of local delta residents and members of the STCDA formed an “advisory committee” with other “stakeholders” of the project. We, along with concerned Bethel Island residents, object to the blocking of historically navigable waterways to boating traffic.

In workshops over the past year the committee has discussed dozens of other potential designs which, at our request, would leave boating channels and open waterways in the area while still allowing for the basic project goal to be met. We have requested dredging of the channels to eliminate the abundance of prop-fouling waterweed. We have also requested the formation of sandy beaches accessible to boaters. At the last meeting the group fine-tuned three designs which have now gone back to the state in order to model salt water intrusion rates. While we would prefer that Franks Tract and False River be left untouched completely, we are striving to mitigate the results of the potential project in order to make it favorable for delta boaters.
We look forward to continuing positive change to the project in the 2020 New Year.

*The STCDA is not unaware of the fact that the proposed delta tunnel conveyance of precious delta waters will also cause increased levels of salt water intrusion from the bay.

Jamie Bolt
Harbormaster, Bethel Harbor
Director, STCDA

Franks Tract State Recreation Area
©2018, California State Parks.
Photo by Brian Baer

Here’s some photos of activities at Franks Tract State Recreation Area:

Photos are from:

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