Title

Fish, Fields, or Front Yards: An Environmental Science Capstone Seminar’s Plan for Balancing Uses of the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta

Poster Number

5

Format

Poster Presentation

Abstract/Artist Statement

California’s Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta is the heart of the state’s water supply system and estuarine habitat. Water from the Delta supports California’s largest industries such as agriculture and recreation while at the same time providing clean drinking water for municipalities. Human interaction has altered the diverse array of ecosystems within the Delta. Reclamation of the Delta over the past 150 years has resulted in an artificial system of levees and dams to create the current state of islands and channels. Ongoing subsidence as well as emerging threats such as climate change endangers the Delta’s stability. Historical conflicts between water quality and quantity add other layers of complexity to an already convoluted system. Future stability and vitality is still attainable at the cost of statewide efforts to improve water infrastructure, sustainable agriculture, ecosystem health, and urban conservation and planning. A small, well-designed and managed peripheral canal and improved levee design standards will provide adequate natural flows to maintain the Delta’s ecosystems while satisfying the needs of Central Valley farmers. Encouraged responsible agricultural practices and crops through subsidies will maximize water efficiency in the central valley. Reexamination of possible beneficial uses for Delta islands in key locations and enhancing habitat for native species will help to revitalize local ecosystems. Urban improvements in water consumption and conservation through metering, pricing, and limitations on development will decrease municipal demand. If implemented collectively, these measures will alleviate pressures on the Delta while balancing the demands of farmers, ecosystems, and California residents.

Location

DeRosa University Center, Ballroom B

Start Date

1-5-2010 10:00 AM

End Date

1-5-2010 12:00 PM

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May 1st, 10:00 AM May 1st, 12:00 PM

Fish, Fields, or Front Yards: An Environmental Science Capstone Seminar’s Plan for Balancing Uses of the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta

DeRosa University Center, Ballroom B

California’s Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta is the heart of the state’s water supply system and estuarine habitat. Water from the Delta supports California’s largest industries such as agriculture and recreation while at the same time providing clean drinking water for municipalities. Human interaction has altered the diverse array of ecosystems within the Delta. Reclamation of the Delta over the past 150 years has resulted in an artificial system of levees and dams to create the current state of islands and channels. Ongoing subsidence as well as emerging threats such as climate change endangers the Delta’s stability. Historical conflicts between water quality and quantity add other layers of complexity to an already convoluted system. Future stability and vitality is still attainable at the cost of statewide efforts to improve water infrastructure, sustainable agriculture, ecosystem health, and urban conservation and planning. A small, well-designed and managed peripheral canal and improved levee design standards will provide adequate natural flows to maintain the Delta’s ecosystems while satisfying the needs of Central Valley farmers. Encouraged responsible agricultural practices and crops through subsidies will maximize water efficiency in the central valley. Reexamination of possible beneficial uses for Delta islands in key locations and enhancing habitat for native species will help to revitalize local ecosystems. Urban improvements in water consumption and conservation through metering, pricing, and limitations on development will decrease municipal demand. If implemented collectively, these measures will alleviate pressures on the Delta while balancing the demands of farmers, ecosystems, and California residents.