OPINION: The Changing Delta’s Challenges

The Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta is essential for the Central Valley’s economy, well-being and ecosystems. It is a major supplier of land for local agriculture, water for Central Valley farms and Bay Area and southern California cities, recreation for Californians and habitat for native species.

The Delta is ever-changing, from its origins 6,000 years ago as rising post-Ice Age sea levels drowned the confluence of local rivers to form a massive freshwater marsh. Since the 1800s this marsh was diked and drained for agriculture, leading to continuing land subsidence, as much as 25 feet below sea level in some places. Major federal and state water projects altered and reversed its water flows.

Protecting The Watershed

Everyone has heard it a million times by now: The Camp Fire was the most destructive fire in California’s history. But that’s only taking into consideration man-made structures. What about the natural landscape—and, in particular, our waterways? To echo the mantra of 2017’s Standing Rock protest, “Water is life.” That was what brought many people out to Chico State’s University Farm Tuesday (June 4) for the daylong Camp Fire Water Resources Monitoring and Research Symposium. Organized by the University of California Cooperative Extension, it included presentations from researchers who have been studying fire’s impact on ecosystems, in particular ground and surface water.