Delta News

New research center planned for Sacramento Delta

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the state Department of Water Resources are proposing to build a science and research center in the Delta to focus on the the Delta and San Francisco Bay ecosystem.

If built, the Delta research station would consist of two facilities – an estuarine research station and a fish technology center, said Steve Martarano, spokesman for the Fish and Wildlife Service.

The center would consolidate about 145 employees from an Interagency Ecological Program currently involved in the management of the Delta-San Francisco estuary. The new center would combine state and federal employees involved in that effort under one roof for the first time, said Martarano.

“This has been 10 years in the works, us looking at this,” he said.

The combined cost of the two facilities is estimated at $130 million, he said.

The estuarine research station would include office and work space, wet and dry laboratory facilities, warehouse and boat storage space, a marina, and a vehicle and boat repair shop. The labs would include water tanks of varying sizes for processing field samples and experimental studies of fish. The center would be managed by the Department of Water Resources.

The planned fish technology center would conduct research and develop captive propagation techniques to help imperiled fish populations, such as the Delta smelt, said Martarano. That center would include research and study facilities, an office and administration building, a shop and vehicle storage building, a water treatment facility and an effluent treatment facility. The fish center would be run by the Fish and Wildlife Service.

A public comment period is underway that offers four alternatives for the project identified in a environmental impact report. The preferred alternative in the plan would be to build the center on the Sacramento River at the Rio Vista Army Reserve Center, Martarano said.

The public comment period ends Dec. 14. Comments can be submitted at

More information on the project can be found at