Posts Tagged ‘Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta’

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A view of the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta

The California Department of Water Resources (DWR) has produced a video called Restoring California’s Great Estuary that explains the EcoRestore initiative which is one of the big, state-wide efforts that is aiming at restoring some fairly significant amounts of habitat to the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta.

Being that I work for a State agency called the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta Conservancy, this is something that I pay a lot of attention to. But there are a lot of reasons that everyone who lives in California, and many people who live outside the state, should also be interested in this video. A large portion of the people, farms, ranches, and industries in California rely, at least in part, on water from the Delta. That fact alone should make efforts like

Also, I work with many of the people featured in this video including my boss, Campbell Ingram. Seeing talented people that I know talking about an issue that I care about makes this video that much more appealing to me, but that probably won’t have much impact on you.


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A study was published earlier this month in the journal Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment on the effects that invasive species have on other species around the globe. The study is by Tim M. Blackburn, Celine Bellard, and Anthony Ricciardi, and it can be found here.

The main thrust of the paper is that invasive species of plants and animals have been found to have a significant impact on the extinction of other plants and animals all around the world. Specifically, 25% of the plant species that have gone extinct in recent years have been the result, at least in part, of invasive species. Additionally, 33% of the animal species that have gone extinct in recent years have been the result, at least in part, of invasive species.

These numbers are pretty compelling components to the story of just how damaging invasive species can be. It is part of the reason I find working on invasive species control in California to be rewarding.

I am currently working on the control of Arundo (which is a large invasive reed), water primrose (an invasive aquatic plant), Phragmites (which is another invasive reed that is a bit smaller than Arundo), and Nutria (which is a 20 pound semi-aquatic rodent). Each of these species pose unique threats to the native species of California and to many other aspects of the ecosystem as well.

Hopefully, protocols can be developed to stop invasive species before they contribute even more extinctions!

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The Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta is a large, and highly complicated place. With all the rivers and other waterways, all the history, all the endangered species and habitats, all the people, and all the threats on the horizon, it can be daunting for anyone to begin to learn about. Where to start?

Well, a Sea Grant Fellow working at the Delta Protection Commission has created a good answer to that question. Heidi Williams received a fellowship from an organization called California Sea Grant to work in the area of science communication. She spent her one year fellowship at the Delta Protection Commission where she worked to create virtual tour of the Delta. This broad introduction to the the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta is called “A Beginner’s Guide to the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta.” The whole digital “Guide” can be found here, and it makes for a very interesting and well assembled read that includes an overview of many of the topics that make the Delta such a complex place to work and live. it also includes quite a few sources which allows for further reading and exploration.

Tule Elk

Tule Elk in Suisun Marsh (cover photo from the “Guide”)

Even thought it is called a beginner’s guide, I will guarantee that anyone who reads through all the materials that have been assembled in this “Guide” will learn something.



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