Delta Conservancy Board Approves $24 Million for Wetland Restoration, Community Access, Climate Resiliency Projects

Awards made as part of Climate, Access, and Resource (CAR) and Nature Based Solutions (NBS) funding

May 24, 2023
WEST SACRAMENTO – The Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta Conservancy Board on Wednesday approved $24 million for two projects that will restore wetlands, improve community access, and support climate resiliency in Contra Costa County.

Under the larger of the two projects, the Board unanimously approved up to $20.9 million in grant funding for the Wetland Mosaic Landscape on Webb Tract Project proposed by the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California. During the two-phase project, Metropolitan will design and construct up to 3,500 acres of managed, flooded wetlands and up to 1,500 acres of rice fields on Webb Tract, located in the northeastern portion of Contra Costa County and owned by Metropolitan.

The grant funding for this project was made possible by the Amended Budget Act of 2022, which provided the Delta Conservancy with a general fund allocation of $36 million for projects that support Nature Based Solutions: Wetland Restoration.

“This is an excellent opportunity to demonstrate how we can manage the deeply subsided islands of the Delta in a way that stops subsidence and related carbon emissions, maintains agriculture, provides habitat benefits, and – most importantly – improves the long-term economic viability and resilience of the islands,” said Delta Conservancy Executive Officer Campbell Ingram.

“This project will significantly improve the sustainability of Webb Tract in multiple ways and help develop methods and strategies that can potentially be applied throughout the Delta,” said Metropolitan General Manager Adel Hagekhalil. “We anticipate it will help reverse ongoing subsidence, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and create new critical habitat, while also supporting the studies that can lead to carbon sequestration opportunities and the development of sustainable agriculture.”

Metropolitan will work with local interested parties, farmers, and a design firm to develop the mosaic of expected land uses that are consistent with the existing topography.

Under the second project approved by the Board, the City of Pittsburg will receive up to $3.5 million in grant funding for the Central Harbor Park and Boat Launch Facility Upgrade Implementation Project, which will revitalize Pittsburg’s downtown waterfront park, adjacent parking lot and boat launch facilities.

With the funding, the city will be able to improve parking lots, paths of travel, shade structures, facility lighting and a boat launch ramp approach. Additionally, the city will install break-in-proof restrooms, educational signage, a public safety substation, landscaping to prevent erosion, shade trees, public fire pits, leasable event space and a fish-cleaning station.

The grant funding for this project was made possible by the Budget Act of 2022, which provided the Delta Conservancy with $6.1 million for projects that support climate resilience, community access and natural resource protection activities that benefit the Delta (collectively known as Climate, Access and Resource funding). The project was spurred by community input and concerns about climate resiliency, degradation of the park, and aging infrastructure.

“The project area is foundational to an exciting reimagining of the waterfront that aims to attract continued development,” said City of Pittsburg Assistant to the City Manager Sara Bellafronte. “The funding will build upon the existing infrastructure and elevate the area to a family- and event-friendly space that will motivate even more people to spend time and money at the waterfront and care for the Delta, which is such an incredible landscape and resource.”

Improvements to the Central Harbor Park and Boat Launch Facility are expected to be completed by the end of 2026. The Wetland Mosaic Landscape on Webb Tract Project is expected to be a three- to four-year project.