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 29 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

Delta Protection Advisory Committee member appointed

Gerry GoodieSTOCKTON, Calif. (Jan. 18, 2024) – The Delta Protection Commission appointed Gerry Goodie Thursday to the Delta Protection Advisory Commission (DPAC) on Thursday.

Goodie is co-owner, with his wife, of Wimpy’s Marina Restaurant & Bar in Walnut Grove. A 2023 alum of the Commission’s Delta Leadership Program, he also serves as a board member of the Asian Pacific Islander American Public Affairs (APAPA) Delta Chapter, and is active in the Walnut Grove Rotary Club.

Goodie fills a new general-public seat that was added in September when the Commission voted to expand DPAC, adding a tribal representative and an additional general public representative. He will serve a three-year term.

The tribal seat remains open; applications will be accepted until it is filled. The application form is here.

The Committee meets every other month, and its next meeting is on Feb. 6.

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).

2024 Delta Leadership Program Kicks Off

15 people standing in front of a mural

The 2024 class of the Delta Leadership Program. L-R front: Jacylyn Stokes, Pat Tirone, Priti Agarwal, Min Park, Samar Salma, Cintia Cortez, Matthew Brown, Nancy Young. L-R back: Tim Cook, Krystal Moreno, Malissa Tayaba, Katie Wiley, Ahmad Majid, Alice LLano, MacKenzie Owens.

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (Jan. 12, 2024) – The 2024 Delta Leadership Program kicked off Friday with its first meeting of the year for its 15 participants.

Run by the Delta Protection Commission and the Delta Leadership Foundation, the program is designed to build and support leadership within the Delta community.

The first seminar of the year covered Delta legislation; Delta agencies; and Delta trends, issues and interests. In addition to honing leadership skills, participants will team up on projects benefitting the Delta.

This years participants are:

Priti Agarwal, Alameda County: Recent volunteer with Lodi Sandhill Crane Festival, nearly 20-year career in Bay Area corporate positions (Director, Manager, Analyst).

Matthew Brown, San Joaquin County: Banking officer (Bank of Stockton since 2019, Bank of Rio Vista from 2011-2018), 3rd generation Rio Vistan, Walnut Grove Rotary Club since 2015, graduate of Leadership Lodi.

Tim Cook, Yolo County: Co-owner of Meyer and Cook Insurance Co. (Walnut Grove), Walnut Grove Rotary Club, Walnut Grove Fire Department (former Captain), Clarksburg Cub Scouts Pack 83 Den Leader.

Cintia Cortez, San Joaquin County: Restore the Delta (Policy Analyst since March 2022).

Alice LLano, Yolo County: Pear farmer in Clarksburg, community volunteer (school parent teacher council, Friends of Clarksburg Library, Clarksburg Rotary Club).

Ahmad Majid, San Joaquin County: National Women in Agriculture (Central Valley Chapter President since September 2022), Director of Environmental Initiatives – With Our Words (since Jan. 2023), Central Valley Neighborhood Harvest (multiple positions since March 2020).

Krystal Moreno, Placer County: Traditional Ecological Knowledge Program Manager (Shingle Springs Band of Miwok Indians – since 2018), DSC Adaptive Management Forum Advisory Board member, volunteer competitive softball coach.

MacKenzie Owens, San Joaquin County: Restore the Delta (Media and Communications Coordinator), Community Based Organization Advisory Committee for Estuary Youth Council (part of San Francisco Estuary Partnership).

Min Park, Contra Costa County: Bethel Island community volunteer (Bethel Island Municipal Improvement District), professional career in hospitality industry (New York, Oklahoma, Hawaii, and Bay Area restaurants, including Executive Director of Greens Restaurant).

Samar Salma, Solano County: External Affairs Specialist with FEMA, Certified California Naturalist.

Jacylyn Stokes, San Joaquin County: Walnut Grove grape grower, board member of Lodi Winegrape Commission, California Agricultural Leadership Foundation (Class 52).

Malissa Tayaba, El Dorado County: Vice Chair and Director of Traditional Ecological Knowledge for Shingle Springs Band of Miwok Indians (and other positions since 2008), member of Delta Conveyance Project Stakeholder Advisory Committee.

Patricia Tirone, San Joaquin County: Founder of Delta Sculling Center in Stockton, advocate for building the Delta Aquatic Center in Stockton.

Katie Wiley, Sacramento County: Marketing Manager for numerous Delta businesses (Wimpy’s, Al’s Place, Fosters Bighorn), Delta recreationist.

Nancy Young, San Joaquin County: Mayor, City of Tracy (on City Council since 2012), deep community involvement with numerous organizations in Tracy.

DPC Letter: Twitchell Island Wetland Enhancement and Restoration Project

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.


 

December 28, 2023

Jesse Barton
Reclamation District 1601
c/o Gallery & Barton, APLC
1112 I St, Suite 240
Sacramento, CA 95814

VIA EMAIL

Re: Twitchell Island Wetland Enhancement and Restoration Project Initial Study/Mitigated Negative Declaration (SCH #2023110643)

Dear Mr. Barton:

Thank you for providing the Delta Protection Commission (Commission) the opportunity to comment on the Initial Study/Mitigated Negative Declaration (IS/MND) for the Twitchell Island Wetland Enhancement and Restoration Project (Project). The Project proposes to enhance and restore approximately 40 acres of wetland and approximately 80 acres of riparian and scrub-shrub habitat within a 185-acre Project Area footprint on Twitchell Island. Approximately 50 acres within the Project Area would remain under agriculture use.

The Commission is a state agency charged with ensuring orderly, balanced conservation and development of Delta land resources and improved flood protection. Proposed local government 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). Although proposed actions by a State agency are not subject to consistency requirements with the LURMP, we submit these comments under Public Resource Code Section 29770(d). This section states that the Commission may comment on projects that impact the Primary Zone.

The Commission is supportive of habitat restoration projects within the Delta. We urge the California Department of Water Resources to review the Project for compliance with LURMP policies, particularly those related to conversion of agricultural land to wildlife habitat, use of public lands for restoration, and employment of the good neighbor checklist and other best management practices to minimize impacts on surrounding residents, businesses, and recreational opportunities.

We are concerned about the Project’s conversion of existing farmland and pastureland on Twitchell Island to a non-agricultural use. The IS/MND states that agricultural operations for the property are not sustainable due to soil subsidence and high water table and that the Project will enhance farming practices in the Delta due to subsidence reversal. Nevertheless, the conversion of agricultural to non-agricultural use will displace agricultural operations to other locations, possibly outside of the Delta, and decrease the economic benefits of agriculture for Sacramento County and the Delta. These effects are heightened when considered with the cumulative impacts from other habitat restoration projects in the region. The IS/MND should provide mitigation measures that adequately address these impacts.

Thank you for the opportunity to provide input. Please contact Blake Roberts, Program Manager I, at (530) 650-6572 for any questions regarding the comments provided.

Sincerely,

Bruce Blodgett
Executive Director

cc: Pat Hume, Commission Member and Sacramento County Board of Supervisors

The NHA Sign Is Back … and Here’s Why We’re Excited About It

Workers install a sign welcoming motorists to the California Delta

A Yolo County Public Works crew installs the replacement for a sign damaged when it was hit by a car in July. Located on Jefferson Boulevard just outside of West Sacramento, the new sign is a little farther from its original location on the curve where Jefferson goes up on the levee, ideally making it less likely to get hit again.

WEST SACRAMENTO, Calif. (Dec. 13, 2023) – A Delta National Heritage Area sign on Jefferson Boulevard outside of West Sacramento was replaced Dec. 7 after being destroyed in a non-injury car accident in July, just weeks after it had been installed.

Why does it matter?

Delta communities have warmly welcomed these signs, which are a project of the Delta Protection Commission – the agency coordinating the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta National Heritage Area.

Three of eleven planned signs have been installed so far.

Why these signs are important to people?

Signs tell you something important is ahead.

California is filled with internationally renowned destinations that are announced on freeway signs often from hundreds of miles away: San Francisco, Lake Tahoe, Yosemite, Los Angeles.

And, typically, the closer you get, the larger those destinations loom as their skyscrapers, mountain peaks, and trees reach for the sky.

But in a place as flat as the Delta, how would a visiting motorist know what lies ahead? By definition, its landmarks are low-profile: a lacework of rivers, 100-year-old bridges, tiny communities built by early settlers from around the globe, and farm stands offering some of the best produce in America.

Signs are the only way a visitor – and many Northern Californians – would know what’s there.

And how often do signs announce you’re entering a rural area worth exploring, making you think twice about just speeding through on your way somewhere else?

Not very often. That’s why the Delta has welcomed these signs.

Whom do we have to thank for these signs?

In addition to the Delta Protection Commission, the following agencies have also been involved in this project: the Delta Stewardship Council; the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta Conservancy; Caltrans districts 3, 4 and 10; the California Conservation Corps; California Prison Industry, which made the signs; and the Yolo County Public Works crew that installed the replacement sign.

When will the remaining eight signs be installed?

Five signs slated for San Joaquin County will be installed by Caltrans District 10. The signs will be located at Walnut Grove Road at I-5, Highway 12 at I-5, Highway 4 just outside of Stockton, I-5 south of Lathrop, and the I-205/I-580 split.

Two more signs in Sacramento County – one on Twin Cities Road off of I-5 and another on Highway 12 outside of Rio Vista – are targeted for installation by Caltrans District 3 in spring or early summer of 2024.

The Commission is still working to find a partner to install the sign planned for Highway 4 in Pittsburg.

Click here to see a map of current and planned sign locations.

Why does it take so long to install signs?

The process requires several layers of permits, approvals, and contracts for design, fabrication, location, and installation.

The fact that this phase of the sign project spans four counties and three Caltrans districts adds to the complexity.

And even when an installation has been fully approved, delays are common with projects involving work on busy freeways and highways.

Montage of photos: Two men holding a sign level, a posthole drill, a county public works truck and a public works crew posing under a new sign.

Delta Protection Advisory Committee to gain Tribal representative

A woman gestures toward the audience while speaking behind the dais at a meeting

Delta Protection Commission Chair Diane Burgis

STOCKTON, Calif. (Sept. 21, 2023) – The Delta Protection Advisory Committee (DPAC) will gain a tribal representative under action taken Thursday by the Delta Protection Commission.

“It’s about engagement, opportunity and giving the tribes a voice on DPAC,” said Delta Protection Commission Executive Director Bruce Blodgett.

Commission Chair Diane Burgis, who also serves on the Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors, emphasized the importance of the perspective a tribal representative will bring.

“Native American tribes have thousands of years of deep memory of the Delta from before Europeans came,” she said. “Tribal voices should have a voice in how we manage our land and water. This is not us checking a box; Native knowledge will help us do a better job caring for the Delta.”

DPAC was created in 2009 by amendments to the 1992 Delta Protection Act. Whereas the Delta Protection Commission has majority representation from local government and water agencies, the Advisory Committee is composed of Delta stakeholders, including representatives in agriculture, recreation, natural resources, local communities and infrastructure.

Its role is to provide recommendations to the Commission regarding the Delta ecosystem, water supply, socioeconomic sustainability, recreation, tourism, agriculture, flood control, environment, water resources, infrastructure, Delta values and other Delta issues.

Tribal presence in the Delta

The Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta is critically important to modern-day Californians – with its fertile farmland, water that helps meet the needs of 27 million people, diverse recreation and tourism opportunities, and history-drenched network of small farm communities.

But prior to Spanish, Mexican, and American settlement, the Delta watershed was inhabited, carefully tended, and revered by diverse peoples: Bay Miwok, Coast Miwok, Plains Miwok, Maidu, Nisenan, Ohlone, Patwin, Pomo, Wappo, Wintun, and Yokuts.

Despite great resistance, their land was occupied by new settlers, and their populations decimated by disease and genocidal campaigns. But the descendants of these original inhabitants, including sovereign tribes, are still among us, and still carrying out traditional practices in the region.

Representatives of four tribes made clear their desire to be consulted early and often on matters affecting the Delta during a Tribal Listening Session held in April by the Delta Stewardship Council, another state agency. (Read about the session here, or watch a recording – the listening session starts at 2:49:22 and runs nearly to the end of the recording.)

The representatives – who spoke for the Buena Vista Rancheria of Me-Wuk Indians, Shingle Springs Rancheria of Miwok Indians, United Auburn Indian Community, and Paskenta Band of Nomlaki Indians – also emphasized their continuing wish to be guardians of the region, along with its other modern-day inhabitants and leaders.

DPAC’s new membership

In addition to getting a new tribal representative, DPAC will get another position representing the general public as a result of Thursday’s action – a unanimous vote – raising the total membership to 17.

With the expansion of the Committee approved, Commission staff will now develop an application process for the two new members, who will serve three-year terms.

DPAC is not the Commission’s only committee with tribal representation: Tribal representatives also serve on the Delta National Heritage Area Management Plan Advisory Committee, both as general and ex officio members. Their input has been crucial.

Additional resources:

DPC turns out for Save the Delta Town Hall

WALNUT GROVE, Calif. (Sept. 15, 2023) – Six representatives of the Delta Protection Commission were leaders or featured speakers Thursday night at the Save the Delta Town Hall, sponsored by the Asian Pacific Islander American Public Affairs (APAPA) Delta Chapter.

Montage of speakers and leaders at a town hall meeting

From left to right: Pat Hume, Mike Campbell, Douglas Hsia, Blake Roberts, Anna Swenson, Dan Whaley

Commission member and Sacramento County Supervisor Pat Hume was the cohost of the evening. Speakers included:

Around 90 people packed the auditorium of the Jean Harvie Community Center – an early 1900s schoolhouse – in Walnut Grove to hear presentations, raise concerns and ask questions of the speakers.

Delta Protection Advisory Committee members reappointed

RIO VISTA, Calif. (July 21, 2023) – The Delta Protection Commission re-appointed five incumbents Thursday to the Delta Protection Advisory Commission (DPAC).

The reappointed members and the institutions they represent are:

  • Todd Bruce – recreation – Delta recreationist
  • Mariah Looney – organization – Restore the Delta
  • Gary Mello – agriculture – J&L Mello Farm Equipment, RD 563 (Tyler Island)
  • Edward Hard – state agency – California Department of Parks and Recreation Division of Boating and Waterways
  • Sam Garcia – utility/infrastructure – Pacific Gas & Electric Company

Committee members serve three-year terms. The Committee meets every other month, and its next meeting is on Aug. 1.

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

The Committee was created by the Delta Protection Act, Public Resources Code Section 29753(a). This is its Charter (PDF).

Further information: Information Officer Holly Heyser, 916-531-9496

National Heritage Area Signs Going Up in the Delta

WEST SACRAMENTO, Calif. (June 19, 2023) Rich farmland on the left, the Sacramento River Deep Water Ship Channel and Yolo Bypass Wildlife Area on the right. These iconic Delta scenes form the backdrop for one of the first three signs welcoming motorists to the Delta and the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta National Heritage Area.

Roadside sign that says "WELCOME Sacramento - San Joaquin Delta National Heritage Area"

This was one of the first three signs installed in the Delta welcoming motorists to the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta National Heritage Area. (PHOTO: Delta Protection Commission)

Two signs were installed last week by the California Conservation Corps: one on southbound Jefferson Boulevard just outside of West Sacramento, where the road rises to the Ship Channel levee; the other on Interstate 80 at the eastbound East Chiles Road onramp to the Yolo Causeway. One was installed in late April on Hood Franklin Road just west of the southbound offramp from Interstate 5.

Eight more signs are planned in locations throughout the Delta along I-5, I-580, Highway 12 and Highway 4.

The signs are a highly visible part of the Commission’s efforts to educate the public about the Delta’s value as an agricultural, natural, historic, recreational and cultural resource. And they have been warmly received in Delta communities that welcome recognition of the Delta’s importance.

“It just acknowledges what we’ve known, that the Delta is special place and it deserves recognition,” said Mario Moreno, chair of the Hood Community Council. “It’s beautiful, and it should be treasured and taken care of.”

A new sign welcoming motorists to the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta National Heritage Area

Hood Community Council Chair Mario Moreno in front of a new sign welcoming motorists to the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta National Heritage Area (PHOTO: ©Mario Moreno 2023 – used with permission)

The sign installation also marks growing recognition of the Delta National Heritage Area, which Congress designated as California’s first – and so far only – NHA in 2019. The Delta Protection Commission is the local entity coordinating the NHA’s development; it is currently working on a management plan that is due to the Secretary of the Interior next March.

In addition to the welcome sign program, the Commission is working to develop both wayfinding and interpretive signs (PDF) to be placed throughout the Delta, using a grant from Caltrans’s Clean California program.

There has been a longstanding need for signage in the Delta, identified in the Commission’s 2012 Economic Sustainability Plan, which found the Delta economy generally, and recreation and tourism specifically, suffer from a lack of branding and marketing.

The welcome signs are a true joint effort, led by the Delta Protection Commission but conceived and carried out in partnership with the Delta Stewardship Council; the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta Conservancy; the California Conservation Corps; Caltrans districts 3, 4 and 10; and California Prison Industry, which made the signs.


For further information: Contact Information Officer Holly Heyser at holly.heyser@delta.ca.gov.

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