Navigating the Delta


Thu March 6, 2014
Health, Science, Environment

Today's Delta: A Place That Levees Built

Mike Scriven on Terminous Tract
Lisa Morehouse

Mike Scriven’s driving a big truck on the levees of an island called Terminous. He’s in charge of maintaining the levees here, and that means he’s looking for … squirrels. He spots something out his window, stops the truck, and shows me freshly dug holes. 

“Now here’s something that we’re always watching for, is all this squirrel activity that you see here,” he says.

It’s a danger sign to Scriven. Squirrels, he says, can burrow into or underneath a levee.

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Wed February 26, 2014

Navigating the Delta: Holding on to a Boating Economy and Culture

Portrait of Captain Barry Canevaro
Lisa Morehouse

Water is the defining feature of the Delta, and recreation on the water is a big part of the economy and culture of this place. There are about 8 million visits to the Delta each year for activities like fishing, wind-surfing, water-skiing, and house-boating. The population just outside the Delta interior has grown significantly over the last 20 years, so it would make sense that the boating and fishing industries would have grown a lot, too. But they haven’t.

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Wed February 19, 2014
Delta part 2

Navigating the Delta: The Roots of Agriculture

Nicholas Cotano, standing by old asparagus packing shed he used to supervise
Lisa Morehouse

Major California rivers drain into the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, and over decades of building dams and reservoirs and pumps, it’s become the major hub of the state’s water system. It’s not just the water flow that’s been transformed here, however. This land used to be made up of tidal wetlands and marshes of tullies. Today, there are nearly 60 islands surrounded by levees. Most of the land here is used for farming, and it’s some of the richest farmland in the state.

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Wed February 12, 2014
Arts & Culture

Navigating the Delta: Meeting the People Who Live in California’s Water Hub

Mailman Rick Stelzriede runs the only postal boat route in California
Tony George

Pretend you’re looking at a map of the Bay Area. Now scroll out a little bit. Find Martinez and Benicia, and draw a line east to Stockton. From there, go north to Sacramento, then back to Martinez. Look closely at that triangle, and you will see a puzzle of waterways and islands that make up the California Delta.

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