Area Profile

The Sacramento – San Joaquin River Delta is created by the confluence of the Sacramento, San Joaquin, Mokelumne, Consumnes, and Calaveras rivers and their tributaries. “The Delta” is an inland river delta area that generally consists of roughly 738,000 acres, or 1,503 square miles, across about 70 islands. Approximately 1,100 miles of levees protect the Delta lands. According to the California Department of Water Resources 1995 Delta Atlas, the majority of the Delta is in agriculture (538,000 acres), with 64,000 acres in cities and towns, 61,000 acres covered by water, and 75,000 undeveloped acres.

History

Historically, large areas of the Delta were subject to regular flooding during spring snowmelts until, in the late 19th century, laborers were employed to construct levees in order to reclaim and preserve agricultural lands. In addition to creating levees, manmade channels were created to direct water flow and allow for transportation. There are about 700 miles of natural and manmade channels throughout the Delta. Levees in the Delta are typically maintained by reclamation districts, and each island typically has its own district to which property owners pay a maintenance fee.

Access

Local area accessibility is generally good throughout the Delta, which is served by Interstates 5, 80, and 205, and State Routes 4, 12, and 160. Many secondary roads and levee roads provide access throughout the Delta islands, though some are only accessible by way of boat. There are numerous boat docks and launch facilities throughout the Delta. Additionally, there are several commercial rail lines in the area that provide access throughout the local area and into the region beyond. Passenger trains are also available, including the BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit), which has a terminus in Pittsburg/Bay Point.

Local Area Characteristics

The local area is composed of mostly agricultural uses, much as it was over 100 years ago. In fact, it is fairly common for Delta farm land to have been owned by the same family for multiple generations. As such, sales tend to be infrequent.

No residential development pressure is expected in the foreseeable future. Due to the Delta’s location along the Pacific Flyway, there are several recreational properties and preserved marsh areas, such as the Suisun Marsh, that support waterfowl hunting. Boating and fishing are also popular area activities, and there are several marinas and boat landings that allow the population to enjoy such uses.