What is the California Delta?
For an introduction to the Delta, see the video below:
The Delta is 1,000 miles of waterways formed by the convergence of two main rivers: The Sacramento River from the City of Sacramento south then west; the San Joaquin River from the south, north through Stockton, then west where it meets the Sacramento. Other rivers feeding into the two major rivers include the American River, the Mokelumne River, the Cosumnes River and the Calaveras River. The combined flow travels west to form Suisun Bay, the San Pablo Bay and out through the San Francisco Bay.
The Delta, reclaimed after the Gold Rush from the original marshy delta, is now a maze of waterways, farmland, and thriving commuities.
Arial View of the Delta
Before these rivers empty into the Pacific Ocean through the San Francisco Bay, they pass through some of the best boating waterways in the country. The California Delta is a labyrinth of sloughs where vine-covered trees, blackberry brambles, and tule grasses appear at almost every turn. There is abundant wildlife, including the great blue heron, egrets, ducks, geese, and, of course, fish.
What value is there?
The reclaimed land is rich and fertile. Family farmers have worked the land for generations; using sustainable farming techniques, crop rotation, and watering from the Delta.
Delta farms produce the finest produce including the renown Brentwood white corn, tomatos, beans, etc.
Delta Farm Produce
Delta communities rely on the Delta for their economy. Some, like Discovery Bay (shown below) are built on the river. The health and quality of the water is important as it’s their back yard.
The economic basis of Delta communities includes marinas, fishing, waterfront restaurants, and recreation. Besides Discovery Bay, there are small quaint towns like Isleton and Locke.
|Discovery Bay “Backyard”||Isleton||Locke|
|and Walnut Grove spans the river. Larger towns like Stockton thrive.|
|Walnut Grove||WG Spans River||Stockton|
Many people live in the Delta area to be close to boating, fishing and water-based recreation. They are brought together by their common bond and love for the scenic Delta. See the October 2013 issue of Delta Living to see why the then Contra Costa County Supervisor Mary Piepho loves the Delta.
California’s salmon industry relies on the California Delta for salmon to spawn. Salmon fishing accounts for 20-30,000 jobs and an annual $2-3 billion in state revenues. Besides salmon, the Delta is home to steelhead trout, striped bass, and other species.
Bass fishing is also a multi-million dollar industry in California which supports many in the Delta in a wide variety of careers such as Guiding (charters), Sales (the retail industry connected with bass fishing is a giant), Tournament Competition, Lecturing, Advertising, Promotional Opportunities, and so on.
There is abundant wildlife, including the great blue heron, egrets, ducks and geese.
Recreation and Enjoyment
The Delta supports revenues from boating and related sports. But it’s more than that. The Delta is a place to take a boat and anchor out for a weekend – with the sunsets and birds as your companions. One favorite place of Discovery Bay and Bethel Island residents and visitors to the Delta is Mildred Island. It isn’t an “island” any longer – it flooded in the 1980’s and since has been a favored anchorage for boaters.
For what the Delta Tunnel construction project will do to the Mildred Island anchorage, see Saving the Mildred Island Anchorage.
The sun sets. We barbecue. And the next day go for an early morning ski run. Heaven.
Sunset from Mildred Island
The Tunnels will take this away
Mildred Island is an example of a perfect place to anchor out. Just west of Mildred are wonderful sloughs, perfect to spend the day water skiing.
Late day ski run
For what the Delta Tunnels construction will do to recreation sloughs now ideal for water skiing and wake boarding, read Do you Ski or Wakeboard the Twin Sloughs.
Group of boaters anchored out for a lazy weekend: