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 National Park Service, under 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