Delta News

Another big decision about the Delta: What to call it?

California leaders are embroiled in many difficult decisions about the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, such as who should get the water, how it should be delivered and what to do about all the endangered fish that get in the way. Now there’s a new decision looming about the Delta, and policymakers are as stumped as ever: What to call the place?

The Delta Protection Commission, a state agency, is in the midst of a $95,000 campaign to brand the Delta and help raise awareness about the region, the largest estuary on the Pacific Coast. The Delta not only supplies about 50 percent of California’s fresh water, but also nurtures its most important salmon run and is one of the state’s most popular boating destinations.

Yet most Californians don’t even know where it is.

While planning the campaign, the commission ran smack into a strong difference of opinion about what to call the Delta. One faction favors the official and historical title, the “Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta,” which refers to the two primary rivers that flow into it. This name is familiar and hints at where it’s located. Another favors “California Delta” because it is simpler, catchier from a marketing perspective, and brands the region as part of the tourist-friendly Golden State.

To break the impasse, the commission is asking the public to decide. In an online survey made available Thursday, participants can vote for one of the two names. The votes will be tallied July 7, and the victorious name will headline the branding effort.

“It’s gotten so passionate that we’re going to put out a survey, so the choice can be made without anybody seeming heavy-handed,” said Nicole Bert, a commission spokeswoman. “Whatever they decide is what we’ll go for.”

The one-question survey takes only seconds to complete. It is available online at: For more information, call the Delta Protection Commission at (916) 375-4800.