Delta History: a March for LGBT Rights

People marching with a rainbow flag just outside of Locke, California.

Video screenshot of One Struggle One Fight marchers as they left Locke in March 2009

Gay activism in California is often associated with cities. But in March 2009, a group of activists took their cause on a march through the rural Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta – not a region known for protest marches or gay activism.

The trek was a five-day walk from San Francisco to Sacramento to call for the repeal of Proposition 8, the gay marriage ban that California voters added to the state Constitution in 2008. Organized by One Struggle One Fight, the march went through Walnut Creek, Antioch, Isleton, Locke, and Elk Grove before finishing at the steps of the state Capitol.

Three of the Delta’s five main counties voted in favor of Prop 8, so it might not have looked like sympathetic territory. But march co-leader Seth Fowler said that was part of the point.

“One Struggle One Fight was about direct action and talking to people. There was a really big urban/rural divide, and the question was, ‘How do we make queer people real to people who are mostly just interacting with headlines about us?’”

One answer: by walking through their towns.

He said there were times on the march when he could sense discomfort among people they interacted with.

But there were also many warm welcomes. What the 30 or so marchers were doing “is such important work” the Rev. Christy Parks-Ramage told them when they gathered at the First Congregational Church of Antioch. “And it’s work that we as a congregation have struggled with.”

The church had recently become “open and affirming,” officially welcoming LGBT people in its ministry. The decision caused a split, and so many congregants had left that the church was selling its building to forge a new path.

The marchers also found welcome in the tiny town of Locke, with a population hovering around 70. Locke was built by Chinese immigrants in 1915, two years after the state passed a law forbidding land ownership or long-term leases by non-citizens, so they couldn’t own the land they built on. (So-called Alien Land Laws were invalidated by the California Supreme Court in 1952.)

In an email to fellow organizers, Fowler described his advance visit to Locke, where he met with the Locke Foundation and discussed the march going through the town. “They were receptive and excited at the prospects of becoming the Gayest Town in America, if only for an evening,” he wrote.

Woman standing behind an old wooden statue of a seated bodhisattva in her home.

The wooden statue of Guanyin, bodhisattva of compassion, now lives in the Locke home of Deborah Mendel and Russell Ooms (not pictured).

When marchers spent the night in Locke, they stayed in a former Baptist church. “There was a really large wooden statue there of Guanyin, the bodhisattva of compassion,” Fowler recalled. “It felt like a very lovely synchronicity to have this being of compassion watch over us as we slept there.”

He reveres Guanyin to this day.

Russell Ooms, who owned the church building at the time, said the group was delightful. “Locke is a quiet town, and suddenly it was filled with energy,” he said. “It was exciting. They were exciting.”

The marchers left behind a gift for the town: a donation to the Locke Foundation, commemorated in a tile that now lives at the Locke Memorial Park. And at least one of the townspeople – Stuart Walthall – joined them at the march’s finale: a rally at the Capitol.

The marchers ultimately got their wish about Proposition 8: It was overturned by the U.S. Supreme Court in 2013. And public opinion in California about gay marriage changed even faster, going from majority opposition in early 2009 to majority support in early 2010.

This year, on Nov. 5, California voters will decide whether to remove Prop 8 language from the state Constitution.

Videos from the march:

Commemorative tiles on a wall

The marchers made a donation to the Locke Foundation during their stay, commemorated with this tile. (Photo ©Deborah Mendel, used with permission)

Delta Protection Advisory Committee Members Appointed, Reappointed

Headshots of two smiling women

RIO VISTA, Calif. (May 16, 2024) – The Delta Protection Commission appointed two new members and re-appointed four incumbents to the Delta Protection Advisory Committee (DPAC) on Thursday.

The new appointees are Emily Pappalardo, Delta Business Seat 2 (on the left in the photo), and Katherine Wiley, Delta General Public Seat 2 (on the right in the photo).  Both are graduates of the Delta Leadership Program, a project of the Delta Protection Commission and Delta Leadership Foundation – Pappalardo in 2016, and Wiley this year.

Pappalardo is a principal engineer and partner in DCC Engineering Co. Inc. in Walnut Grove, which serves several reclamation districts in the North Delta and provides permitting, planning, and architectural services to the Delta community. She has an interest in Steamboat Resort, a private boat club and residence on the north end of Steamboat Slough, where she was raised. She is also incoming president of the Rotary Club of Walnut Grove, a board member of the Delta Leadership Foundation, an associate member of the Central Valley Flood Control Association, and a volunteer on the Pear Fair Committee.

Wiley owns Wiley Marketing & Design, which has a substantial client base in Rio Vista, Walnut Grove and Locke. She and her husband own a houseboat that’s been berthed in Walnut Grove for the past eight years, and both are avid boaters who spend most of their free time on the river.

The incumbents who were reappointed Thursday are:

  • Craig Watanabe, Delta Agriculture (Seat 2)
  • Douglas Hsia, Delta Cultural Preservation
  • Morris Lum, Delta Recreation (Seat 2)
  • Erin Chappell, State Agency (Seat 2)

All six will serve three -year terms.

DPAC provides recommendations to the Delta Protection Commission on diverse interests within the Delta, including the Delta’s socioeconomic sustainability, recreation, agriculture, flood control, environment, utility infrastructure, and other Delta issues. The Committee was created by the Delta Protection Act, Public Resources Code Section 29753(a).

Delta Asian American & Pacific Islander History: Six Stories

Montage of images from six recent stories about Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders in the Delta.The Delta’s history is deeply intertwined with the story of Chinese, Japanese, Filipino, and Sikh immigration to California. Drawn first by the Gold Rush and then by railroad construction, Asian immigrants fanned out across the Delta as farming ramped up. They built Delta levees, worked on farms, and even leased or bought their own farms … until the state forbade it for some nationalities.

The Asian presence in the Delta remains vividly on display in the towns of Isleton and Walnut Grove, which have distinct China- or Japantowns, and Locke, which was an entirely Chinese-American town until recent decades.

And the stories of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders in the Delta are actively being told. Here are six recent examples:

One

A piece of Locke’s history was recognized Saturday when E Clampus Vitus dedicated a plaque honoring the Bok Bok Man – the traditional Chinese night watchman who patrolled the town after dark, hitting a gong or hollowed wood block on the hour.

Two

Isleton is commemorating its Chinese and Japanese heritage with the construction of a new Asian American Heritage Park, a story detailed recently in Soundings Journal.

Three

The Delta’s Japanese presence took a huge hit when the U.S. sent Japanese-Americans to incarceration camps during World War II. Many dispersed after they were released, never to be heard from in the Delta again. But one such family – the founders of the Locke Boarding House – recently surfaced, and Stuart Walthall shares the story here.

Four

The Delta’s Filipino community made big news last December when a collection of home movies from the 1950s to the 1970s shot by the Bohulano family in Stockton was one of 25 films added to the Library of Congress’s National Film Registry. The snapshot of Filipino family life and immigrant experience joined the registry alongside films including Apollo 13, Fame, Home Alone, Terminator 2, The Nightmare Before Christmas, and 12 Years a Slave.

Five

The Sikh presence in the Delta – Stockton was the home of the first Sikh temple in the United States – has been documented recently by Lea Terhune in the book, “California’s Pioneering Punjabis: An American Story” (The History Press, 2023).

Six

The National Parks Conservation Association on Wednesday highlighted the need to preserve America’s historic Chinatowns, and in the same post shone a spotlight on seven urban and rural sites already on the registered landmarks and historic places lists. Both Locke and Walnut Grove made the list.

Delta Leadership Program Graduates a New Class of Leaders

Participants Share Their ‘Ah Ha!’ Moments

A montage of images: a group photo in front of a vineyard, three people smiling for the camera, a man speaking to an audience

Top image, L-R: the 2024 Class of the Delta Leadership Program – MacKenzie Owens, Krystal Moreno, Cintia Cortez, Malissa Tayaba, Katie Wiley, Matthew Brown, Nancy Young, Alice LLano, Min Park, Tim Cook (not shown: Priti Agarwal, Ahmad Majid, Samar Salma, Jacylyn Stokes, Pat Tirone). Bottom left image, L-R: Three alumni of the Delta Leadership Program – Chuck Winn, Anna Swenson, and Emily Pappalardo. Bottom right: Erik Vink, Coordinator of the Delta Leadership Program, a joint project of the Delta Protection Commission and the Delta Leadership Foundation

CLARKSBURG, Calif. (April 19, 2024) – The 2024 class of the Delta Leadership Program graduated Friday, and celebrated at a reception hosted by Bogle Family Vineyards in Clarksburg.

The graduates were welcomed there by existing Delta leaders, many of whom are also alumni of the program, including Delta Protection Advisory Committee Chair Anna Swenson, former San Joaquin County Supervisor Chuck Winn, and Delta NHA Advisory Committee Member Douglas Hsia.

The program, a joint project of the Delta Protection Commission and the Delta Leadership Foundation, is designed to build and support leadership within the Delta community.

The group visited locations around the Delta where it heard about diverse issues and perspectives on myriad challenges facing the region. Members also worked on group projects, which they will present to the Delta Protection Commission on May 16.

Some of the graduates reflected Friday on their “ah ha!” moments and key takeaways, including:

Krystal Moreno, Traditional Ecological Knowledge Program Manager for the Shingle Springs Band of Miwok Indians: “Hearing from a panelist talking about rice farming conversion and its connection to salmon habitat, which was new to me. As an indigenous person, we have been fighting to restore salmon in our watershed. (This is) work we can connect to.”

Min Park, hospitality industry and Bethel Island community volunteer:  “The fact that most of our water comes from the Delta, and my friends in Los Angeles have no idea about this. We need to protect this place – it’s special.”

Alice LLano, pear farmer: “We have to start teaching our children more about the Delta. Our kids live here, and we need to be teaching them about how fragile it is, what the issues are, so when they grow up, they can be Delta advocates.”

A woman pours water into a concrete map that shows the flow of water in a delta

Min Park pours water into a to-scale map of the Delta at Big Break Regional Shoreline in Oakley.

Pat Tirone, Founder of Delta Sculling Center in Stockton: “It was standing on the map at Big Break, seeing everyone having fun pouring the water in, really seeing why water gathers in one place, and how much you need the water to flow from another place, and how all of it impacts each other.”

Jacylyn Stokes, fourth-generation farmer: “Being able to interact with the tribal community. I got to have conversations with my colleagues Malissa and Krystal, and hearing their perspective on how ownership and land have affected them, in comparison to my story, really changed the way I view things.”

Malissa Tayaba, Vice Chair of Shingle Springs Band of Miwok Indians: “I learned so much from other perspectives that were really important because there are so many different communities in the Delta. … (Also) the thought of building coalitions and relationships that make movement in the Delta. I think that’s how things move faster, when you get together with people with common goals and make things happen.”

Tim Cook, co-owner of Meyer and Cook Insurance Co.: “One thing that stood out to me the most was the part of it I’d never really thought about before – the interests of the California Delta from indigenous people’s perspective. I didn’t really understand why Shingle Springs had an interest in the Delta. Going through the program, I learned the history.”

A woman gazing out a window

Cintia Cortez during an exercise in Rio Vista about leveraging strengths and weaknesses

Cintia Cortez, policy analyst for Restore the Delta: “There was an exercise where we had to talk about our strengths and weaknesses and how to leverage those. We had to be vulnerable and share what we struggle with the most. One of my classmates, Min, she told me she really looked up to me and in those spaces she started to expect me to show up in a certain way. When I walked into that training, I felt like a closed rosebud, and after that, I felt like I bloomed, through the training and with a compliment from a classmate.”

Nancy Young, Mayor of Tracy: “I joined this group just to learn more about water, and my eyes have been opened. I see water everywhere: I see the reservoirs, I see the aqueducts, I see the Delta, I see the flow of life around me. I’m excited to have learned so much from individuals, from the Miwok tribe, understanding how it’s part of their land.”

Women of the Delta: Hidden No More

Modern women performing the roles of historical Delta women

WALNUT GROVE, Calif. (March 20, 2024) – The role women have played in Delta history has been somewhat invisible, said Maryellen Burns, president of the Sacramento River Delta Historical Society: “They’re the ones who did the interviews, they’re the ones who transcribed them, but the people they interviewed were men.”

The Society took steps to remedy that Tuesday with its program, “Hidden Figures – Women of the Delta,” at the Walnut Grove Library. The program highlighted four historical figures using the Readers Theater Method, with modern women acting out their roles.

Jean Harvie: The woman for whom Walnut Grove’s Community Center was named helped teach three generations of students in the town as a teacher, then principal, then superintendent. She was a woman of small stature, poor eyesight and little tolerance for tomfoolery. Harvie was played Tuesday by community leader Linda Van Loben Sels – lower right in photo above – whose father earned Harvie’s wrath by hotwiring her car one day and going for a joy ride.

Charmian London: Charmian London and her better-known husband and novelist Jack spent two months every year in the Delta – an experience that shaped his writing, and her substantial contributions to his work. Her eloquent recollections of that time included a passage about her and Jack contemplating going aboard a “red light” boat docked next to them, but thinking better of it as they considered being seen there, or seeing others who might not wish to be seen. London was played by Delta Mello, executive director of the Sacramento History Museum, upper right in photo above.

Aoifee McCarthy: McCarthy was a copywriter in the 1930s and 1940s whose work saturates the labels and advertisements of fruit and meat packers of the region. An immigrant from Ireland, she had intended to settle in New York with her brother, but he sent her to California, where a transcendent slice of peach pie on the train journey lit up her imagination. “I had never eaten a peach,” she wrote. “Those peaches came from seeds that John Sutter himself planted,” the chef told her before sharing the recipe for the pie. McCarthy was played by Burns, who has copies of that very recipe – which she’ll share on request.

Connie King: King was the informal “Mayor” of Locke who fought both to preserve the historic town, and to buy the land on which the town was built – something that was originally made impossible by the Alien Land Law, which prohibited Japanese, Chinese, Koreans, Filipinos, and other East Asians from owning land or leasing land for more than three years. King was also known for her famous “Toilet Garden,” made of toilets that were being thrown away by a new property owner. When she asked him why he was getting rid of them, he told her, “We don’t want to sit on a toilet Chinese people sat on.” King was played by Cynthia Lee, a retired teacher, upper left in photo above.

Delta Protection Advisory Committee member appointed

Portrait of a man

Steven Hutchason

HOOD, Calif. (March 8, 2024) – The Delta Protection Commission appointed Steven Hutchason to the Delta Protection Advisory Committee (DPAC) on Thursday.

Hutchason is the Tribal Historic Preservation Officer for the Wilton Rancheria, a tribe whose indigenous territory encompasses Sacramento County. He is a descendent of the first people of the Delta.

Hutchason fills a new tribal-representative seat that was added in September when the Commission voted to expand DPAC. It also added a general public seat, bringing the committee size to 17. Hutchason will serve a three-year term.

DPAC provides recommendations to the Delta Protection Commission on diverse interests within the Delta, including the Delta’s socioeconomic sustainability, recreation, agriculture, flood control, environment, utility infrastructure, and other Delta issues.

The Committee was created by the Delta Protection Act, Public Resources Code Section 29753(a).

 

DPC Approves Delta National Heritage Area Management Plan

Montage of Delta Protection Commission meeting - members smiling and speakers addressing the Commission

Top: Commissioners Paul Steele (left) and Jim Paroli (right). Bottom L-R: Commissioner Alan Nakanishi, NHA Advisory Committee Chair Elizabeth Patterson, DPC Program Manager Blake Roberts

HOOD, Calif. (March 7, 2024) The Delta Protection Commission (DPC) today approved a draft of the Management Plan for the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta National Heritage Area (Delta NHA) to submit to the Secretary of the Interior.

“There’s no place in the world like the Delta, with its unique geology, ecology, and history,” said Commission Chair Diane Burgis. “The Management Plan is our roadmap for how we talk about our history and how different agencies and community groups throughout the Delta’s five counties can work together to celebrate our shared heritage.

“Approving the Plan today is a big step toward receiving federal support and starting work on the ground,” she said.

The Commission’s action follows a 30-day public comment period on the draft plan. This is a critical part of the process, because unlike National Parks, National Heritage Areas are large, lived-in spaces. Local communities’ input is essential.

“We are so grateful to everyone who took time to attend meetings, review and comment on the draft Management Plan, and write letters of commitment,” said DPC Executive Director Bruce Blodgett. “Your input makes the plan stronger, and the partnerships that will come from letters of commitment ensure the Delta NHA becomes a vibrant resource that all Californians can be proud of.”

Among its supporters are members of the Delta’s Congressional Delegation: John Garamendi, Josh Harder, Ami Bera, Mike Thompson, Mark DeSaulnier, and Doris Matsui. They noted in support letters that approval of the management plan is key to unlocking funding authorized by Congress for the NHA – up to $10 million over 10 years.

The Delta National Heritage Area – the first and so far only NHA in California – was created in 2019 by Congress (PDF). It is one of 62 NHAs – places where historic, cultural, and natural resources create cohesive, nationally important landscapes.

The NHA’s boundary extends from Sacramento to Stockton to Vallejo with the junction of the Sacramento and San Joaquin rivers at its heart. The history of California’s Delta and Carquinez Strait is a rich tapestry of indigenous peoples and immigrants from around the world, natural beauty and wildlife and engineering marvels, bustling metropolitan areas and picturesque rural towns. The native peat soils provide for fertile cropland and its water supports 27 million Californians.

The Delta Protection Commission, a California state agency, was designated the local coordinating entity for the Delta NHA. It drafted the Management Plan in cooperation with the commission’s Delta NHA Management Plan Advisory Committee, the National Park Service, California State Parks, tribes, and stakeholders.

The Management Plan will now be submitted to the Secretary of the Interior for approval, a process that could take six months. After federal approval, the plan will come back to the Commission for a final vote, and implementation of the plan can begin.

Media contact: Blake Roberts, (530) 650-6572 or blake.roberts@delta.ca.gov

DPC Letter: Twin Cities Composting Facility

The Delta Protection Commission reviews hundreds of local and regional land use projects in the Primary and Secondary zones of the Delta for consistency with the Land Use and Resource Management Plan (PDF) and submits comment letters to ensure projects stay on track with the Plan. Under state law (Public Resources Code Sections 29770-29772), any action taken by a local government or agency in the Primary Zone that is inconsistent with the Plan can be appealed to the Commission. Appeals may be brought by any interested person, or by the Commission itself. Learn more here.


March 4, 2024

Leanne Mueller, Senior Planner
Sacramento County Planning and Environmental Review
827 7th Street, Room 225
Sacramento, CA 95814

Dear Ms. Mueller:

We are providing comments on the application for a use permit for the Twin Cities Composting Facility located on the north side of Twin Cities Road, west of Interstate 5, in the Delta community on Parcel 146-0080-040-0000. As defined in the Delta Protection Act (the “Act,”), this proposed facility occurs in the Primary Zone of the Delta. As used in the Act the Primary Zone means “the delta land and water area of primary state concern and statewide significance which is situated within the boundaries of the delta” (California Public Resources Code Section 29728).

The Delta Protection Commission is a state agency charged with ensuring orderly, balanced conservation and development of Delta land resources and improved flood protection in the Primary Zone. The Commission reviews projects within the broad framework of the Delta Protection Act of 1992 and Delta Reform Act of 2009, which declare that the State’s basic goals for the Delta are to provide a more reliable water supply for California and protect, restore and enhance the Delta ecosystem “in a manner that protects and enhances the unique cultural, recreational, natural resource and agricultural values of the Delta as an evolving place” (Public Resources Code section 29702(a) and Water Code section 85054).

We understand that the County must issue a discretionary use permit for this facility and must conduct design review. This letter provides our comments and the results of our initial review of the project for consistency with the Act (California Public Resources Code Section 29700 et seq.) as well as our Land Use and Resource Management Plan (required by California Public Resources Code Section 29760), and our Economic Sustainability Plan (required by California Public Resources Code Section 29759).

Proposed local government-approved projects within the primary zone of the Legal Delta must be consistent with the Commission’s Land Use and Resource Management Plan (LURMP) (California Public Resources Code Sections 29700-29780). California Public Resources Code Section 29760(b) states that the Land Use and Resource Management Plan “shall. . .preserve and protect agricultural viability” and “shall. . .protect the delta from any development that results in any significant loss of habitat or agricultural land.” “Development” is defined by the Delta Protection Act as “the placement of. . . any solid material or structure” over land or water in the Primary Zone of the Delta (California Public Resources Code Section 29723(a)). A list of excepted activities that are not regulated as development are provided in California Public Resources Code Section 29723(b). None of these exceptions apply to the proposed facility thus it is regulated “development” within the meaning of the Act.

The Land Use and Resource Management Plan provides the following policy:

“The priority land use of areas in the Primary Zone shall be oriented toward agriculture and open space. If agriculture is no longer appropriate, land uses that protect other beneficial uses of Delta resources and that would not adversely affect agriculture on surrounding lands or the viability or cost of levee maintenance, may be permitted” (Delta Protection Commission 2010:12).

In addition to regulating development, the Delta Protection Commission is required to plan for and promote the economic sustainability of the Delta under the Act. The Commission prepares an economic sustainability plan to promote the “continued socioeconomic sustainability of agriculture and its infrastructure” in the Delta (California Public Resources Code Section 29759(b)(2)).

The applicant’s biological assessment indicates that the current project would result in the permanent loss of 39.4 acres of agricultural land (Madrone 2023). Between present and 2014, over 12,000 acres of farmland have been lost in the Delta (Delta Stewardship Council 2024). Our planning work documents that agriculture is the main economic driver of the Delta economy (Delta Protection Commission 2012:274). A dollar of agricultural crop revenue generates three to five times greater regional income than other leading revenue sources such as recreation or tourism (Delta Protection Commission 2012:274). For these reasons, the project would contribute to the incremental loss of agricultural land and the reduction of economic sustainability in the Delta.

The natural resource goals for the Delta also include the goal to “preserve and protect the natural resources of the Delta [and to] encourage compatibility between agricultural practices and wildlife habitat.” (Delta Protection Commission 2010:18).

The land in the project area proposed for conversion serves as foraging habitat for various raptor species including but not limited to Swainson’s hawk (Buteo swainsoni) (Madrone 2023). Swainson’s hawk is listed as a threatened species by the California Department of Fish & Wildlife (CDFW 2024). CDFW must make the determination for a “threatened” listing based on facts demonstrating the presence of one or more of the factors provided in California Code of Regulations Title 14, Section 670.1(i)(1)(A), including “present or threatened modification or destruction of [a species’] habitat.” The primary threat to Swainson’s hawk is loss of suitable foraging habitat, including suitable agricultural foraging habitat (CDFW 2016:3). The conversion of this parcel would reduce habitat for a threatened species that CDFW has identified as contributing factor to decline of the species consistent with its listing process and five-year review under California law (CDFW 2016).

To review the facts, the proposed facility:

  • Falls inside the Primary Zone of the Delta subject to our Plan,
  • Is inconsistent with the statutory mandates of California Public Resources Code Sections 29759 and Section 29760(b) to protect agricultural land and economic sustainability because it would permanently convert agricultural land to non-agricultural uses in the Primary Zone,
  • Is inconsistent with the natural resource policy goals of our Land Use and Resource Management Plan adopted under California Public Resources Code Section 29760 because it would reduce habitat for a threatened species, and thus contribute to one of the factors CDFW has identified as a cause of the species’ decline.

Note that California Public Resources Code Section 29770 allows “any aggrieved person” the right to appeal land use decisions taken in the primary zone for inconsistency with the Act or our Plan. The exact language states: “the ground for an appeal and the commission consideration of an appeal shall be that an action, as to land located exclusively within the primary zone, is inconsistent with the resource management plan, the approved portions of local government general plans that implement the resource management plan, or this division [i.e. the Act]” (California Public Resources Code Section 29770).

In closing, our contention with this project is not about its merits. It appears to be a valuable facility; however, it is in a location that makes it incompatible with California law and our mandate to protect the Primary Zone of the Delta.

Sincerely,

Bruce Blodgett signature
Bruce Blodgett, Executive Director
Delta Protection Commission

CC: Patrick Hume, Supervisor, Sacramento County

References Cited

Delta Protection Commission. Economic Sustainability Plan for the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta. 2012. West Sacramento, California.

Delta Protection Commission. Land Use and Resource Management Plan for the Primary Zone of the Delta. 2021. West Sacramento, California.

Delta Stewardship Council. Updated Delta Plan Performance Measures Guidebook. Available: https://viewperformance.deltacouncil.ca.gov/ 2024. Sacramento, California.

California Department of Fish & Wildlife (CDFW:3). Five Year Status Review for Swainson’s Hawk (Buteo swainsoni). 2016. Sacramento, California.

CDFW. 2024. State and Federally Listed Endangered and Threatened Animals of California, January 2024. Sacramento, California.

Madrone Ecological Consulting (Madrone). Biological Resources Assessment Twin Cities Composting Facility. 2023. Citrus Heights, CA.

The Next Leg: West Sac to Clarksburg

A bike trail, a river and the Great California Delta Trail logo.WEST SACRAMENTO, Calif. (Feb. 29, 2024) The Great California Delta Trail may grow its network of trails with a new segment from West Sacramento to Clarksburg.

The segment would run along 6.4 miles of the Clarksburg Branch Line of the Sacramento Northern Railroad. West Sacramento acquired the right of way in 2005.

The addition would create a safe, healthy way for pedestrians and cyclists to reach Clarksburg, a historic Delta community with popular wine-tasting venues. It could also help improve broadband access in the Delta by including conduit for fiberoptic cable.

Project partners are West Sacramento, Yolo County, the Yolo Transportation District, and the Delta Protection Commission, which is the coordinating agency for the Great California Delta Trail. West Sacramento leads the project, and the DPC will:

  • Contribute toward required local matching funds.
  • Lead community outreach.
  • Ensure the project meets guidelines for designation as part of the Great Delta Trail.

The partners have applied for a grant from the Sacramento Area Council of Governments to fund trail development. If funded, the next step would be seeking public input on design. The target completion date would be in 2029.

This project would extend one of five existing segments of the Great Delta Trail: the Clarksburg Branch Line Trail. The other four segments are:

  • West Sacramento River Walk
  • Sacramento River Parkway
  • Big Break and Marsh Creek Trail
  • Carquinez Loop Trail

The Great California Delta Trail is envisioned as a continuous regional recreation corridor extending around the Delta.  Learn more about the Great California Delta Trail here.

Delta National Heritage Area Management Plan Released for Public Comment

Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta National Heritage Area logoWEST SACRAMENTO, Calif. (Feb. 5, 2024) The Delta Protection Commission today released a public-comment draft of the Management Plan for the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta National Heritage Area (Delta NHA). 

All interested parties are encouraged to view the plan here, and submit comments on the Plan by 5 p.m. March 6, 2024. Comments can be emailed to submit@delta.ca.gov, or mailed to the Delta Protection Commission, 2101 Stone Blvd., Suite 200, West Sacramento, CA 95691.

In addition, members of the public may attend one of two scheduled meetings to comment in person: Feb. 21 in Walnut Grove and Feb. 22 in Antioch, both 6-8 p.m. An additional virtual meeting will be scheduled as well.

“We’re excited and pleased to be at this juncture – a critical point in the development of this National Heritage Area,” said Commission Executive Director Bruce Blodgett. 

“A great deal of work has gone into the plan in consultation with a broad group of stakeholders and tribes,” he said. “But this public comment process is key to ensuring that the voices of the Delta and all who depend on it – whether for work, recreation, historical and cultural appreciation, or spiritual connection – are represented well in the final plan.” 

The Delta NHA was created in 2019 by Congress (PDF). It is California’s first, and so far only, National Heritage Area. 

The NHA’s boundary extends from Sacramento to Stockton to Vallejo with the junction of the Sacramento and San Joaquin rivers at its heart. The history of California’s Delta and Carquinez Strait is a rich tapestry of indigenous peoples and immigrants from around the world, natural beauty and wildlife and engineering marvels, bustling metropolitan areas and picturesque rural towns. The native peat soils provide for fertile cropland and its water supports 27 million Californians. 

The Delta Protection Commission, a California state agency, was designated the local coordinating entity for the Delta NHA. It has drafted the Management Plan in cooperation with the commission’s Delta NHA Management Plan Advisory Committee, the National Park Service, California State Parks, tribes, and stakeholders. 

The Delta Protection Commission is scheduled to vote on the plan March 7, 2024, after which it will be submitted to the Secretary of the Interior for approval. After approval, implementation of the plan can begin.

Media contact: Blake Roberts, (530) 650-6572 or blake.roberts@delta.ca.gov

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