Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta

Investing in Our Future
Promoting a Sustainable Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta 
  

The Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta is unlike any other place in California. Along with being the heart of the state’s water delivery system, the estuary is home to more than 35 endangered native plants and animals, dozens of historical communities and hundreds of thousands of acres of farmland. The fertile peat soil of its islands produces an estimated $965 million in agricultural crops annually and its ecosystem supports the commercial salmon industry on the West Coast. The Delta is simultaneously a crucial link in statewide water infrastructure, a vital yet fragile ecosystem, an engine of our economy and home to 500,000 people. It’s also a region that has witnessed major land-use and landscape changes over the past centuries.

The Delta was once a vast marshland covered with tules and teaming with wildlife. In the mid-1800s, settlers built levees to drain and reclaim the land and today about 95% of the original wetlands and floodplains are gone. In this highly altered environment, non-native species have thrived, over-running native species. Striped bass, Asian clams and many other invaders, large and small, are either eating the native populations or the foods on which they rely.

Recognizing the importance of stabilizing the Delta and securing our water future, Metropolitan purchased a number of Delta islands in 2016. To make our commitment to state and regional water resources more transparent, Metropolitan’s board officially adopted an updated Bay-Delta Policy Framework in October 2022. As a responsible landowner and conscientious neighbor invested in environmental stewardship, we have committed to science-based watershed management, multi-benefit environmental initiatives and community-based partnerships with local stakeholders on these islands and throughout the region.

Metropolitan's Bay-Delta Policies & Objectives

A pictorial representation of Metropolitan's Bay-Delta Policies & Objectives, including Climate Resilience,  Water Supply Reliability,  Science-based Watershed Management, Regional Cooperation & Partnerships, and Cost-effective Investments.

Delta Islands

A Laboratory for Adaptation & Sustainability

The Delta faces many challenges, and Metropolitan is committed to finding workable, cooperative solutions. Metropolitan-owned lands in the Delta – Webb Tract, Bacon Island, Bouldin Island and Holland Tract – enable us to explore cooperative approaches to improve the declining ecosystem and promote water reliability. Consistent with our board-adopted Bay-Delta policy framework, we contribute to research and science-based watershed management that improves water quality and reliability, restores native habitat in support of protected and endangered species and promotes sustainable agricultural practices. We’re also studying climate change risks, managing peat soils to reduce carbon emissions and strengthening levees.

We are partnering with state and federal agencies, technical experts, academia and environmental organizations to develop and participate in the studies and projects highlighted below.

Delta Islands

“A healthy, thriving ecosystem in the Delta helps deliver a wide range of benefits for our water supplies, threatened species and the local Delta communities. We are committed to working collaboratively to sustain this region that is so critical to our entire state.” 

— Metropolitan General Manager Adel Hagekhalil 

Additional Bay-Delta Resources