Restoration Projects in the Delta and Suisun Marsh
Big Break and Marsh Creek Water Quality and Habitat Restoration Project
This enhancement project is restoring tidal marsh, floodplain and Antioch dune habitat on the delta of Marsh Creek. The Delta Science Center was created as a part of this project to educate the public on the Delta’s natural resources. The Delta Science Center’s Big Break Visitor Center and the Big Break Regional Shoreline Park are both now open to the public to enjoy year-round.
For more information visit: http://www.deltasciencecenter.org/delta-library/the-marsh-creek-restoration-project
Blacklock Tidal Habitat Restoration
This project is a passive restoration project that created 70 acres of tidal wetlands in Suisun Marsh through beaching a levee along Little Honker Bay in 2006. The passive restoration strategy used in this project involved breaching a levee and allowing sedimentation and plant detritus accumulation to restore the intertidal elevations, and natural colonization to establish the plant and wildlife communities. This project has been completed and a ten-year monitoring program is ongoing.
For more information visit: http://www.water.ca.gov/suisun/restoration/
Cosumnes River Preserve
The Cosumnes River Preserve consists of approximately 45,859 acres of wildlife habitat and agricultural lands owned by seven land-owning partners. The Preserve is centered along the Cosumnes River, its floodplains and riparian habitat. This habitat is buffered by a variety of agricultural operations. The Preserve provides numerous social, economic, and recreational benefits to local communities and to people residing in the larger Sacramento and San Joaquin areas. The habitat supports wildlife, including birds that migrate throughout the Pacific Flyway.
For more information visit: http://www.cosumnes.org/
Decker Island is approximately 20 feet above sea level because of spoils that were deposited on the original marshland when the Sacramento River was dredged and straightened at Horseshoe Bend between 1917 and 1937. Exotic weeds and grasses developed on the dry, upland site, providing little habitat value. This project aims to restore tidal perennial aquatic, tidal freshwater emergent, valley/foothill riparian, upland scrub, and grassland habitats to create more natural Delta hydrodynamic processes and function.
For more information visit: http://www.water.ca.gov/floodsafe/fessro/environmental/dee/decker.cfm
Dutch Slough Tidal Marsh Restoration
The Dutch Slough Tidal Marsh Restoration Project, in an area formerly slated for urban development, will soon become 1,178 acres of critically needed habitat for fish and wildlife in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta. The project’s location in the western Delta offers the opportunity, soil types, and lack of subsidence to create a large area of tidal marsh and complex intertidal channels favored by native Delta species. Shaded channels, native grasslands, and riparian forests will be restored in the upland portions of the site. The restored habitats are like those that historically dominated the Delta, and their restoration is considered a critical action to increase numbers of native sensitive species and improve general ecological health of the Delta.
For more information visit: http://www.water.ca.gov/floodsafe/fessro/environmental/dee/dutchslough/index.cfm
Grizzly Island Wildlife Area Uplands and Wetlands Enhancement
With 88,000 acres of land, bays and sloughs, the Suisun Marsh is significant: it is the largest contiguous estuarine marsh in the entire United States. The Grizzly Island Complex occupies about 15,300 acres of this prime wildlife habitat. The complex is a patchwork of 10 distinct land parcels, many of which are not connected and are surrounded by private land. They offer a variety of recreation opportunities and act as a vital buffer against further marsh development.
The Grizzly Island Wildlife Area Uplands and Wetlands Enhancement was an enhancement/restoration project for approximately 475 acres of uplands and 150 acres of wetlands on the California Department of Fish and Wildlife’s (CDFW) Grizzly Island Wildlife Area. This project aimed to provide breeding habitat for waterfowl many other bird species as well as provide additional habitat for elk. Existing water delivery and drainage systems were upgraded to allow CDFW to flood existing wetlands and to irrigate the uplands as needed.
For more information visit: https://www.wildlife.ca.gov/Lands/Places-to-Visit/Grizzly-Island-WA
Hill Slough Tidal Restoration
The purpose of the Project is to restore brackish tidal marsh and associated upland ecotone at the northern Suisun Marsh near the corner of Highway 12 and Grizzly Island Road to benefit endangered as well as migratory and resident species. This Project involves creating 940 acres of tidal wetlands in Suisun Marsh. Restoring tidal brackish marsh aids the recovery of listed plant and wildlife species while contributing to primary productivity in the estuary and reducing the entrainment of at-risk, native anadromous species of concern as well as other resident and transitory fish species in the Suisun Bay.
For more information visit: http://www.dfg.ca.gov/ERP/erp_proj_hill_slough.asp
Liberty Island Tidal Habitat Restoration
On the northwestern fringe of the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta sits the 5,200-acre Liberty island whose demise by flooding, and ensuing accidental restoration, have yielded an unexpected, and encouraging, future for the Delta. In 1995, a large chunk of levee at the island’s southern tip crumbled, resulting in mass flooding. Repaired, it failed for good in 1997. In 1999, the Trust for Public Land (TPL) acquired the island and managed it for more than a decade. During that time, the submerged island became home to one of the largest and healthiest populations of Delta Smelt in the north Delta, along with other threatened and endangered fish such as Chinook Salmon and Green Sturgeon. In January 2011, TPL conveyed 4308 acres of the island to the California Department of Fish and Wildlife for ongoing restoration and permanent protection.
For more information visit: https://www.wildlife.ca.gov/Lands/Places-to-Visit/Liberty-Island-ER
Lindsey Slough Tidal Habitat Restoration
Within the 965-acre Calhoun Cut Ecological Reserve tidal action was restored to the southern arm of Lindsey Slough and tidal connection between the southern arm and Calhoun Cut was reestablished. The new channels meander through tule marsh, mudflats, willow and riparian forest providing complex, high value feeding areas and escape for numerous fish species.
Lower Yolo Restoration Project
The project is located in the lower Yolo Bypass and is a tidal and seasonal salmon habitat project restoring tidal flux to about 1,100 acres of existing pasture land. The project site includes the Yolo Ranch, also known as McCormack Ranch, which was purchased in 2007 by the Wetlands Water District (WWD). The goal of this project is to provide important new sources of food and shelter for a variety of native fish species at the appropriate scale in strategic locations in addition to ensuring continued or enhanced flood protection. The Lower Yolo wetlands restoration project is part of an adaptive management approach in the Delta to learn the relative benefits of different fish habitats, quantify the production and transport of food and understand how fish species take advantage of new habitat.
For more information visit: http://www.sfcwa.org/2011/06/09/lower-yolo-restoration-project/
Mayberry Farms Duck Club Subsidence Reversal Project (Sherman Island)
The Mayberry Farms Subsidence Reversal Project was designed to restore approximately 274 acres of palustrine emergent wetlands on a nearly 308-acre property on Sherman Island owned by the California Department of Water Resources (DWR). The property was previously managed as winter-flooded emergent wetlands and for grazing. The interior of the site is divided into up to seven wetland management units. Water levels in each unit are manipulated independently to restore, create and maintain the desired emergent wetland conditions throughout the site year-round, effectively creating a permanent wetland.
The Mayberry Farms Project has also produced several research opportunities. DWR staff uses bench marks to perform annual subsidence surveys, and with the assistance of chemists at the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW), is monitoring flow, mercury and methyl mercury data inside the wetlands. The University of California, Berkeley also monitors greenhouse gases (specifically carbon flux) at the site.
For more information visit: http://www.water.ca.gov/floodsafe/fessro/environmental/dee/mayberry.cfm
McCormack Williamson Tract Project
In the eastern Delta, The Nature Conservancy (TNC) acquired the 1,600-acre McCormack Williamson Tract (MWT) in 1999 with the purpose to restore the Tract to floodplain and wetland habitat. TNC is currently working with the Department of Water Resources (DWR), the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), and the State and Federal Contractors Water Agency (SFCWA) to implement flood control improvements in a manner that benefits aquatic and terrestrial habitats, species and ecological processes.
The MWT Project is one of two main elements of DWR’s North Delta Flood Control and Ecosystem Restoration Project that consists of flood control and habitat improvements where the Mokelumne River, Cosumnes River, Dry Creek and Morrison Creek converge. Flood flows and high water conditions in this area threaten levees, bridges and roadways. The project will reduce flooding and provide aquatic and floodplain habitat along the downstream portion of the Cosumnes Preserve by modifying levees on McCormack-Williamson Tract and Grizzly Slough. Benefits to ecosystem processes, fish and wildlife, will be achieved by recreating tidal marsh, subtidal and floodplain/riparian habitat on the MWT property. The project is being implemented in two phases, Phase A: Levee Resloping and Tower and Phase B: Breach, Weir and Restoration.
For more information visit: http://www.water.ca.gov/floodsafe/fessro/levees/north_delta/
Meins Landing is in eastern Susiun Marsh adjacent to the Montezuma Slough. The long-term restoration goal of the project is to develop a multi-species habitat enhancement project, which will provide habitat for marsh-dependent sensitive plant and animal species, including the endangered salt marsh harvest mouse. The property is currently operates as a duck club and managed wetland.
For more information visit: http://www.water.ca.gov/deltainit/action.cfm
Overlook Club Restoration Project
Overlook Club (Property 322) is currently maintained as a managed wetland, primarily for the purpose of waterfowl habitat and recreational hunting. Property 322 consists of approximately 36 acres of upland grassland; 33 acres of tidal berm; and 156 acres of managed wetland, including several open water features. The remaining area includes the levees, roads, and tidal waterways that connect to Denverton Slough. DWR is currently planning to breach levees and restore the property to tidal habitat in 2017. Restoring tidal action to Overlook Club will contribute to restoration under the Fish Restoration Program Agreement and the Suisun Marsh Habitat Management, Preservation, and Restoration Plan. DWR is currently developing hydrodynamic models to aid in evaluating various restoration configurations and identifying opportunities to optimize habitat value for native fish and wildlife, while managing the property to promote native wildlife and vegetation prior to restoration.
For more information visit: http://www.water.ca.gov/environmentalservices/frp_overlookclub_restoration.cfm
Prospect Island Tidal Habitat Restoration Project
Prospect Island is the most easterly feature of the Cache Slough Complex. This island is bounded by the Sacramento River Deep Water Ship Channel to the west, the remnant of Little Holland Tract to the north, Miner Slough to the east, and the confluence of the Ship Channel and Miner Slough to the south. The Prospect Island Tidal March Restoration project entails permanently breaching levees on Prospect Island to restore up to 1,320 acres of open water, tidal marsh, mudflats, and shaded riverine aquatic habitat. This would provide spawning and rearing habitat for delta smelt and Sacramento splittail, and rearing and migration habitat for winter-run Chinook salmon. Upland areas in the northern part of the island would accommodate new marsh formation when sea level rises.
For more information visit: http://www.water.ca.gov/environmentalservices/frpa_prospect_restoration.cfm
Rush Ranch Tidal Habitat Restoration
Rush Ranch Open Space Preserve (2,070 acres) located along the northern edge of the Suisun Marsh. The restoration project would focus on a 70-acre diked marsh situated in the northwest corner of Rush Ranch. Since the 1990’s the diked marsh has fallen into disrepair and is now subsided and overgrown with emergent vegetation. Restoration efforts would likely breach the levee to return the marsh to daily tidal inundation and restore natural patterns of sedimentation, marsh plain and channel evolution. Restoration of this area would allow a fully connected transitional zone and connect existing tidal marsh to the north and south.
For more information visit: http://www.solanolandtrust.org/RushRanch.aspx
Sherman Island – Belly Wetland Restoration
The Belly Wetland Restoration Project will restore approximately 1500 acres of palustrine emergent wetlands and an unknown number of acres of upland and riparian forest habitat on Sherman Island. This property is owned by the Department of Water Resources and previously managed as flood irrigated corn and pasture.
For more information visit: http://resources.ca.gov/docs/ecorestore/projects/Sherman_Island-Belly_Wetland.pdf
Sherman Island Setback Levee and Habitat Enhancement
Department of Water Resources, in coordination with Reclamation District 341, constructed 6,100 linear feet of habitat setback levee to increase levee stability and provide waterside habitat restoration along Mayberry Slough on Sherman Island. This project was initiated in 2004 and was completed in 2009.
For more information visit: http://water.ca.gov/floodsafe/fessro/environmental/dee/sherman_setback.cfm
In the eastern Delta, The Nature Conservancy (TNC) owns Staten Island (9,200 acres) and practices wildlife friendly agriculture to provide for both food and wildlife habitat. TNC is committed to long term agricultural production on the property because of its importance to the local farm economy and to wildlife. As a consequence of promoting wildlife habitat through agriculture, Staten Island is a roosting site for about 15% of the Central Valley’s Sandhill Crane population and hosts a number of migratory birds including ducks, geese and shorebirds.
Stone Lake National Wildlife Refuge
The State of California and County of Sacramento purchased about 2,600 acres in the Stone Lakes Basin in the early 1970s, turning the land over to their respective park departments to manage
By the late 1980s, the idea of further protecting the Stone Lakes Basin by establishing a National Wildlife Refuge took hold. There was strong support for the refuge because the unique lakes and waterways of the basin are entirely within the 100-year floodplain. The basin also occupies a strategic location for buffering urban encroachment into the Delta. Additionally, a National Wildlife Refuge could potentially provide a habitat link with neighboring Cosumnes River Preserve. With acquisition of its first land in 1994, Stone Lakes National Wildlife Refuge was officially designated the 505th unit in the National Wildlife Refuge System.
For more information visit: http://www.fws.gov/refuge/Stone_Lakes/about.html
Tule Red Restoration Project
The Tule Red Restoration Project is a public-private partnership effort to restore 378 acres of tidal wetlands in the Suisun Marsh. The 378-acre project site, a long-time duck club commonly known as the Tule Red Hunting Club, is in Solano County’s Grizzly Bay region of Suisun Marsh. Prior to being diked off to create freshwater habitat favored by game ducks in the early 1900′s, this property was estuarine tidal habitat, providing tidal inundation and seasonal fresh water inundation during wet winter periods.
For more information visit: http://www.sfcwa.org/2013/03/27/tule-red-restoration-project/
Twitchell Island Farm Scale Rice Pilot Project
Growing rice may be an effective and sustainable way to reduce subsidence and facilitate carbon sequestration, while maintaining a farm economy in the Delta. This pilot project provides an opportunity to evaluate this technique while considering water quality, farming, and best management practice issues that must be evaluated and develop recommendations on how this method can be applied to reduce subsidence and sequester carbon. Data will also provide a road map for best management practices that can be used for rice growing implementation Delta wide. The project area consists of a 300-acre parcel on Twitchell Island.
For more information visit: http://www.water.ca.gov/floodsafe/fessro/docs/west_farming.pdf
Twitchell Island – San Joaquin River Setback Levee
This project will stabilize a threatened section of levee along the San Joaquin River and in doing so, allow for several different types of waterside habitat features to be constructed. Expected habitat types include Riparian SRA, intertidal habitats, and upland vegetation created by waterside beaches, benches, and undulations. An original 2200’ section was completed in 2000, and is currently serving as a model for a ~23,000’ setback spanning the entire San Joaquin river levee plus a proposed 80 acre tidal marsh restoration site on what is known as Chevron Point.
For more information visit: http://resources.ca.gov/docs/ecorestore/projects/Twitchell_Island-San_Joaquin_River_Setback_Levee.pdf
Twitchell Island USGS Subsidence Reversal Project
The Department of Water Resources (DWR) and the US Geological Survey (USGS) constructed approximately 15 acres of Wetlands in 1997 to evaluate land surface elevation changes and carbon accretion due to the accumulation and decay of plant materials. Ongoing research at this facility has shown that land surface elevation increases 1.3 – 2.2 in/yr, while surrounding areas used for agricultural purposes lost elevation due to subsidence. Decaying organic matter can not only eliminate subsidence but also reverse subsidence through utilization of appropriate land management practices. As a part of this project, DWR will work with State regulatory agencies, including the Air Resources Board to ensure that delta carbon sequestration efforts are considered when developing a statewide carbon market program.
For more information visit: http://water.ca.gov/floodsafe/fessro/levees/west_delta/twitchell.cfm
Yolo Bypass Wildlife Area
Dedicated in 1997, the Yolo Bypass Wildlife Area is home to nearly 200 species of birds and covers 25 square miles. It is located in the heart of one of the country’s richest agricultural areas, alongside one of America’s busiest people throughways I-80 and next to the bustling metropolitan area of Sacramento. The Wildlife Area is one of the largest public/private restoration projects with 3,700-acres of land in the Yolo Bypass floodway restored to wetlands and other associated habitats, with more restoration in the works.
For more information visit: http://yolobasin.org/yolobypasswildlifearea/