There is no place in the world like the Delta—just ask any resident or first-time visitor. Located just minutes from major urban areas, the Delta’s 1,000 miles of meandering waterways provide recreational opportunities to millions of Californians offering fishing, boating, waterskiing, picnicking, kayaking or just enjoying nature and the chance to partake of a slower pace of life. Its unique small towns with historic buildings, residents with lineages that spans generations, hundreds of family farms and marinas—both rustic and sophisticated—create an environment that must be recognized and protected.
It is a place where Native Americans lived and harvested food, where river travelers have long passed between the Central Valley and the ocean, where America’s only rural “Chinatown” was built and still stands, and where industrious farmers invented entirely new tools to work the unique Delta soils.
Its agricultural lifestyle and rural quality contrast sharply with the intense urbanism of the Bay Area, Stockton, and Sacramento. From wine grapes and pears to rice, corn, and tomatoes, the Delta grows more than 90 different crops, producing more than $650 million annually in farm sales for the California and Delta economies. The combination of fertile soils, a marine-influenced climate, proximity to market, and the accumulated experience with this unique farm region of generations of farming families makes the Delta a key and valuable part of California’s famed diverse and rich agricultural bounty.
With millions more people arriving in northern California over the coming decades, the Delta’s role as a recreational retreat will become even more valuable. Indeed, with its rich mixture of habitats, farmlands, open spaces, watercourses, fisheries, and historic towns, the Delta could become a compelling new kind of tourist destination that mixes ecosystem restoration, outdoor recreation, and an active local economy. In addition, the
Delta is home to several key infrastructure systems of statewide importance, including highways, railroads, aqueducts, and electricity and natural gas lines, which cannot be allowed to fail for long periods of time.
By the 22nd century, California’s Delta will be a vibrant and safe place to live, work, and recreate. It will be a place where the heart of California beats to a strong, steady rhythm of river flows, estuarine life, and human activity. The Delta will look different, with more areas experiencing tidal flows and broad corridors of natural and semi-natural habitats connecting marsh to extensive uplands. The Delta will also be used differently, with land uses, water exports, and recreational uses that respect and work with the natural processes of the estuary.
California’s Delta, however, will be a place where foresight, learning, and flexibility have resulted in a fruitful integration of the environment and the economy. In the 22nd century, California’s Delta will be a showcase for the nation and the world of how to integrate nature and technology. In the 22nd century, California’s Delta will function as an integral part of a vital estuary, teeming with life. In the 22nd century, Californians will have reliable supplies of high quality water from many sources, including the Delta.