This spring marked the fifth anniversary of the California EcoRestore initiative, a coordinated effort across state agencies to deliver 30,000 acres of restored fish and wildlife habitat in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, an immensely important landscape that five years ago only had 5 percent of its native habitat remaining.
The EcoRestore initiative was built on the assertion that cutting-edge science, strong partnerships, and a healthy impatience could drive more restoration than had ever been pursued in the Delta. After five years of work on 30 projects totaling over $500 million, the Department of Water Resources and its state agency partners are within reach of doubling the Delta’s restored and protected habitat lands. Our EcoRestore 5-Year Highlights fact sheet shows just how far we’ve come and gives a glimpse of what’s ahead.
EcoRestore projects are funded by multiple state sources, with a majority of financial support provided by the State Water Contractors.
The projects employ a broad spectrum of restoration strategies including the following:
- Breaching levees to allow river water to flow up into the banks of the Delta with the tides, allowing fish to access more food.
- Inserting underwater passages in flood-control weirs to reopen floodplains for fish access.
- Inundating Delta islands to sequester atmospheric carbon and reverse subsidence.
- Installing setback leveesto protect communities from flooding and restore ecosystems
- Spurring the production of microbes, or small bugs eaten by fish, by managing flows of river water into new areas.
Looking ahead to the next five years – and then further ahead to the next five – EcoRestore will remain committed to embracing solutions for a sustainable Delta. Science, partnerships, and a stubborn focus on making progress for native species will be complemented by innovation, non-traditional collaborations, and a commitment to the Delta’s agricultural and small-community heritage.