Delta Conservancy Board Approves New Project and 2024 Implementation Plan
January 24, 2024
WEST SACRAMENTO – The Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta Conservancy Board on Wednesday convened for its first meeting of 2024, approving a new project as well as the Conservancy’s Implementation Plan for 2024.
The Board voted unanimously to approve up to $715,180 in grant funding to Suisun City for the Suisun City Fishing Dock Planning Project.
The funding will help plan the construction of a public fishing dock in the Suisun Slough, located within Suisun City. The dock will be Americans with Disabilities Act accessible and feature benches, shade, fishing pole holders, and an educational kiosk.
“This is a huge first step in giving Suisun City residents a much-needed amenity downtown. The fishing dock project will provide an updated, inclusive recreation space that will be a tourist attraction regionally and will highlight the Delta’s beautiful and unique ecosystem,” said Suisun City Mayor Alma Hernandez. “Thank you to the State of California and the Delta Conservancy for turning this need into a reality.”
The Board also approved the Conservancy’s 2024 Implementation Plan, which is a companion document to the Conservancy’s 2022-2027 Strategic Plan. The Strategic Plan provides a high-level road map and sets objectives and performance measures to achieve them. The annual Implementation Plan provides the more detailed tasks the Conservancy will undertake in the coming year.
Lastly, the Board received an overview of the Conservancy’s 2023 Annual Report highlighting the achievements and milestones from the past year. View the 2023 Annual Report here: https://bit.ly/3HlieY1
Delta Conservancy Board Approves $13 Million for Nature-Based Solutions: Wetland Restoration Projects
October 25, 2023
OAKLEY – The Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta Conservancy Board on Wednesday approved awarding up to $13.3 million for three climate-benefit projects that will provide fish and wildlife habitat, halt or reverse subsidence, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, support the Delta economy, and more.
The grant funding for these projects 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 funding offers a great opportunity to implement projects that offer nature-based solutions to habitat loss, subsidence, and carbon emissions on Delta islands. We have the science that tells us rewetting the landscape will be beneficial; now we can start putting this knowledge into practice,” said Karen Buhr, Delta Conservancy Deputy Executive Officer.
The projects approved Wednesday will contribute to California’s 30×30 goal of conserving 30% of our lands and coastal waters by 2030.
Delta Rice Conversion Program
The Board approved an award of up to $4.3 million to The Nature Conservancy (TNC) to support conversion of at least 3,000 and up to 7,500 acres of current agriculture in San Joaquin and Contra Costa counties to wildlife-friendly rice for the purpose of stopping subsidence (reduction in land elevation); reducing greenhouse gas emissions; providing ecosystem benefits, particularly for migratory birds; and supporting the local Delta economy.
The money TNC receives will support lands where farming has been hindered by subsidence, which is caused by the drainage of wetlands and the oxidation of peat soil, resulting in the release of carbon. In addition to climate benefits, rice cultivation has community benefits, including decreased flooding risk and increased economic viability since rice can be a higher priced commodity than other crops.
“Rice farming is an important part of a resilient future for the Delta. This incentive program for interested landowners will lead to economically viable agricultural operations that also reduce land subsidence, cut greenhouse gas emissions, and improve habitat for wildlife. The Delta Rice Conversion Program is a win-win opportunity; we appreciate the State of California and Delta Conservancy’s leadership in making it possible,” said Rodd Kelsey, TNC Land Program Director.
Wetland Restoration on Staten Island
The Board also approved an award of up to $6.7 million to TNC to restore 426 acres of wetland on Staten Island in San Joaquin County. The wetland restoration effort will be part of a broader carbon farming project on the island to create and support vital habitat for birds and other species, reduce greenhouse gas emissions and restore carbon stocks, halt and reverse subsidence, provide other co-benefits like improved water quality, and serve as a demonstration project to help scale similar wetland and carbon farming projects across the Delta.
“The Nature Conservancy’s vision for its Staten Island farm is to maintain and expand its role as a learning laboratory advancing wildlife-friendly farming, wetland restoration, and climate-responsive agricultural practices in the Delta. The Wetland Restoration Project on Staten Island will demonstrate how wetland restoration in some of the more subsided portions of the Delta can support higher-quality wildlife habitat, reduce greenhouse gases and stop land subsidence, and maintain economic returns for landowners,” said Sydney Chamberlin, TNC Project Manager. “The Nature Conservancy will be pursuing private funding to complement this public investment.”
Land Acquisition on Bethel Island
Lastly, the Board approved an award of up to $2.2 million to John Muir Land Trust (JMLT) to acquire a 600-acre property on Bethel Island in Contra Costa County for permanent environmental protection and stewardship.
Acquisition is the first phase of an anticipated multi-phase project to restore wetlands, riparian forest, and sand dunes on the property. Once constructed, the managed wetlands will reverse subsidence and reduce carbon emissions; protect native and special status species; and enhance quality of life for Bethel Island residents, including severely disadvantaged communities on and near the island, by providing public access to open space.
“Few conservation priorities are as important to Californians as protecting the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta and San Francisco Bay, a region essential to the health of freshwater and marine habitats and to the well-being of many cities and towns,” said Linus Eukel, John Muir Land Trust Executive Director. “On Bethel Island, nature-based solutions will address the multiple threats posed by climate change and encroaching development. This project will improve vital habitat for native wildlife and preserve the rural character of a place cherished by residents and visitors for generations to come.”
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.
Conservancy Board Approves $2.5M for Delta Aquatic Center of Stockton
Award made as part of Climate, Access, and Resource (CAR) funding from the state
March 22, 2023
WEST SACRAMENTO — The Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta Conservancy Board on Wednesday approved a new multimillion-dollar planning project that aims to bring a world-class water sports facility to the city of Stockton, bolstering recreation and tourism opportunities in the community.
The Board approved $2.5 million in grant funding for the Delta Aquatic Center of Stockton planning project, which was proposed by the San Joaquin Community Foundation and received dozens of letters of support from institutions and community members.
The grant funding from the Delta Conservancy was made possible by the Budget Acts of 2021 and 2022, which provided the Delta Conservancy with one-time general fund allocations of $5,250,000 and $6,125,000 for projects that support climate resilience, community access, and natural resource protection activities that benefit the Delta (collectively known as Climate, Access, and Resource (CAR) funding).
The Americans with Disabilities Act-friendly facility on the Delta will make it possible for all, regardless of ability or means, to access Delta waterways in small, human-powered watercraft. The award of up to $2.5 million will go toward project design, planning, and outreach, which will enable the project to be shovel-ready immediately upon completion of the planning phase.
“We are pleased to sponsor the Delta Aquatic Center of Stockton project, and grateful for the support and partnership of the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta Conservancy,” said Moses Zapien, CEO of the San Joaquin Community Foundation. “Once completed, this public investment will bring much-needed hands-on education and employment opportunities for our region and dramatically improve access to the Delta waterways for recreation and tourism. Stockton is one of the most diverse cities in the nation, and the Delta Aquatic Center of Stockton will be impactful to the quality of life for residents and visitors alike.”
There are four properties being considered as site locations for the Delta Aquatic Center, which will include a building, docks, and parking lot. Additionally, the project will house the Delta Sculling Center, which will conduct programs for disadvantaged, disabled, and youth populations. The project will also partner with other community-based organizations to promote activities such as urban gardening and provide space for educational programming for youth. The cost of construction to build the facility is estimated at $15 million. During the planning phase, the project will seek community input on programs to be offered onsite, and look to the public, private, and corporate sectors for charitable support to build the aquatic center.
“Stockton is surrounded by 700 miles of interlacing waterways, and if we take care of it, we will all reap the benefits. It has been our dream to find a bigger and safer place to enjoy the Delta and to offer the entire community access to this amazing waterway,” said Dr. Pat Tirone, director of the Delta Sculling Center, and advisory board member for the Delta Aquatic Center of Stockton. “This award from the Delta Conservancy is a major step in moving closer toward making access to the Delta available to everyone, regardless of their ZIP code.”
Delta Conservancy Board Approves Millions for Projects
Nov. 16, 2022
WEST SACRAMENTO — The Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta Conservancy Board today approved dozens of new projects, totaling up to $10.8 million, and paved the way for an additional $42 million for multi-benefit projects in the Delta.
The Board unanimously approved an award of up to $10.8 million for 64 Delta Drought Response Pilot Program (DDRPP) projects for water year 2023.
The 2023 Delta Drought Response Pilot Program was developed through a collaborative effort between the Department of Water Resources, the Office of the Delta Watermaster, The Nature Conservancy, and the Delta Conservancy, in coordination with Delta water users.
The goals of the 2023 program are to reduce drought stress in the Delta watershed by incentivizing agricultural water users to incorporate practices into their operations that:
- Conserve water on a net basis during the 2023 water year
- Protect Delta water quality by providing an added buffer against salinity intrusion
- Promote soil health
- Mitigate potential drought impacts on fish and migratory birds
Click here to read more about the program.
Additionally, the Board approved draft solicitation notices for Climate Resilience, Community Access, and Natural Resource Protection (CAR) and Nature Based Solutions: Wetland Restoration (NBS: WR) funding. The funding opportunities, $42 million in total, will be administered as non-competitive grant programs without proposal submission deadlines.
Grants funded through CAR funding should be multi-benefit projects that advance the state’s initiatives to build climate resilience, expand outdoor access for all, and advance California’s 30×30 goal to conserve and protect 30 percent of the state’s land and coastal waters by 2030. Grants funded through NBS: WR should support restoration, conservation, and climate resilience for wetlands in the Delta and Suisun Marsh.
Delta Conservancy Board Elects New Chair, Approves Millions for Projects
The projects will support ecosystem restoration, climate resilience, community enhancement, and public access
July 27, 2022
WEST SACRAMENTO – The Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta Conservancy Board today elected a new Chair and approved seven new projects, totaling up to $5.4 million, as part of multiple programs aimed at improving Delta conditions related to ecosystem restoration, climate resilience, community enhancement, and public access.
Solano County Supervisor Mitch Mashburn will serve as the Conservancy’s Board Chair for 2022-2023. He will replace Sacramento County Supervisor Don Nottoli, who was Chair for 2021-2022. Board Member Sandi Matsumoto will continue to serve as the Conservancy Board’s Vice Chair.
“The Conservancy looks forward to having Supervisor Mashburn as our new Chair. We offer our many thanks to Supervisor Nottoli for serving in the post and congratulate him on his upcoming retirement in January 2023,” said Campbell Ingram, Delta Conservancy Executive Officer.
The seven newly approved projects involve dozens of entities partnering to improve the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta. The projects comprise wetland restoration, enhancing habitat conditions for animals and plants, invasive species removal, improving water quality, increasing public access to natural areas, and bolstering habitat resiliency to climate change.
“These projects were developed and approved with local support and will continue the vital work of enhancing the Delta ecosystem and economy in the short and long term,” Ingram said.
The approved projects are: