Public invited to learn about Delta restoration project

05/08/2014 12:15 PM

05/08/2014 12:16 PM

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is proposing to restore 90 acres of tidal marsh in the Delta near Bethel Island, and the public is invited to comment and learn about the project at a meeting Friday in Sacramento.

The project calls for using soil and sediment previously dredged from the Stockton ship channel to fill in small portions of two islands in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta that flooded many years ago: Big Break and Little Franks Tract, both near Bethel Island in Contra Costa County.

The two locations are as much as 20 feet below sea level. More than 1 million cubic yards of dredged material will be moved to the two sites and deposited to reduce that depth. Portions of each site will be brought back above the water surface, so that tides will again sweep across the land surface as they once did in the Delta’s original state.

Since the late 1800s, about 95 percent of the Delta’s tidal marsh habitat has been lost to land development, eliminating habitat vital to wildlife. Tidal marsh is essential to many of the Delta’s native species, including salmon, Delta smelt, tricolored blackbird, western pond turtle, and numerous species of waterfowl and shorebirds.

The project is estimated to cost $22 million, which will be shared equally by the Corps and the California Department of Water Resources, the state sponsor of the project.

Friday’s meeting is from 2 to 4 p.m. at the Sheraton Grand Hotel, 1230 J St., in Sacramento. For more information, including an environmental impact study on the project, visit: http://bit.ly/DeltaStudy. Or contact Robert Kidd at the Army Corps, (916) 557-5100, robert.d.kidd@usace.army.mil.

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