BAY DELTA CONSERVATION PLAN
JULY 2015 PARTIALLY RECIRCULATED DRAFT
ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT REPORT/ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT STATEMENT
RECREATION (AND TOURISM)
Kim Glazzard and Barbara Daly – North Delta C.A.R.E.S.
Post Office Box 255, Clarksburg, California 95612
November 9, 2015
This document presents comments on the July 2015 partially recirculated draft Environmental Impact Report/Environmental Impact Statement (EIR/S) of the Bay Delta Conservation Plan (BDCP). The purpose of our review is to offer constructive concerns and suggestions regarding how, in our judgment, the BDCP EIR/S could better meet the requirements of the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA), the National Environmental Protection Act (NEPA), the applicable provisions of the 2009 Delta Reform Act, the National Historic Preservation Act, and the Delta Plan’s regulatory policies and recommendations.
These comments include:
- A summary of key issues
- A reminder about the Delta Reform Act’s provisions and DWR’s responsibility to certify that its preferred alternative is consistent with the Delta Plan.
- Comments on the partially recirculated draft EIR/S’s assessment of impacts and its mitigation proposals for recreation, community character, aesthetics, and cultural resources in the Delta.
- An overview of Tourism as an additional feature of Recreation in the Delta.
- SUMMARY OF KEY ISSUES AND RECOMMENDATIONS
Relative to our review of the recirculated draft BDCP EIR/S, we offer the following summary of key issues and recommendations:
- Delta Plan and Delta Reform Act consistency. Issue: If the California WaterFix is ultimately chosen as the project, DWR will need to certify that the California WaterFix is consistent with the Delta Plan. In addition, the BDCP EIR should fulfill the requirements of Water Code section 85320(b)(2).
Recommendation: Continue reviewing the Delta Plan and Delta Reform Act and aligning all elements of the final EIR/S so that certification of consistency with the Delta Plan can be ascertained and fully attained.
- Comprehensive project description. Issue: The final EIR/S needs a project description that is complete. Important cultural and historical information and perspective are necessary factors to be considered to be consistent with the Delta Plan and to offer comprehensive and complete information for informed approval by Lead and Cooperating Agencies.
Recommendation: The final EIR/S’s project description should be consistent with and contain fully vetted information regarding the critical historical value not only of the historic 9 Legacy Towns of the North Delta, but also of the importance tourism plays in the Recreational opportunities of the Delta.
- Evaluation and mitigation of impacts to unique Delta values, general Delta recreation including tourism, and Delta aesthetics. Issue: The maps in Figure M15-4, Sheets 1 – 8 (attached) as well as Recreation Chapter 15 are inadequate both in fully evaluating and depicting the full-spectrum aspects of recreation, including tourism in the Delta, as well as labeling and identifying the recreational aspects that are depicted.
Recommendation: The final maps in Figure M15-4, Sheets 1 – 8 (attached), as well as the Recreation Chapter 15 should recognize, evaluate, and depict/reflect all recreation in the Delta such as tourism, museums, Delta wineries and wine tasting venues including the Clarksburg Appellation vintners, agri-tourism locations, art galleries, and the 10-mile Delta Scenic Loop, in addition to other land and water-based recreation which has largely been omitted in the BDCP and partially recirculated draft EIR/S.
- Evaluation and mitigation of impacts to the Community Character of the Delta. Issue: The community character of the Delta has been minimized, with limited acknowledgement and mitigation of the adverse impacts to this rural-flavored jewel if Alternative 4A (State Water Project – SWP) and/or Alternative 9 (Federal Central Valley Project – FCVP) (or any other alternative currently shown in the EIR/EIS) is chosen for implementation.
Recommendation: Further study and development of mitigation options to reduce the adverse impacts on the Delta’s community character and culture is needed if Alternative 4A (State Water Project – SWP) and/or Alternative 9 (Federal Central Valley Project – FCVP) (or any other alternative currently shown in the EIR/EIS) is chosen for implementation. It is best to identify a real alternative (not just a variation of a massive water transfer plan) that does not further alter or disrupt land, mineral, or water resources in the Delta, but in fact, provides for greater flows through the Delta and promotes fish and habitat restoration in the Delta.
- Summary of the vast range of recreational opportunities of the Delta. Issue: The Delta has a myriad of diverse recreational and tourism opportunities, most of which are not included on the Figure M15-4 maps, Sheets 1-8 (attached) or in the recirculated draft EIR/S or Recreation Chapter 15, nor addressed in many other areas of the BDCP or recirculated draft EIR/S which address Delta recreation and tourism. This includes addressing both water-based recreation and land-based recreation.
Recommendation: The final maps in Figure M15-4, Sheets 1 – 8 (attached), as well as the partially recirculated draft EIR/S including Recreation Chapter 15 identify, thoroughly assess, and depict/reflect all recreation in the Delta such as tourism, museums, Delta wineries and wine tasting venues including the Clarksburg Appellation vintners, agri-tourism locations, art galleries, and the 10-mile Delta Scenic Loop. There needs to be an exhaustive accounting of, and mitigation plans developed for, the adverse effects which will impact the wide range of both land and water-based recreation and tourism, much of which has largely been omitted from the BDCP and partially recirculated draft EIR/S.
- Compliance with the National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA) and Advisory Council on Historic Preservation (ACHP). Issue: Neither the BDCP, nor the partially recirculated draft EIR/S indicates where they have fully complied with the The National Historic Preservation Act and Advisory Council on Historic Preservation that administers the requirements of the Act. There is no indication that a thorough and exhaustive list of the historic properties, towns, and places in the Delta eligible for inclusion in the National Register of Historic Places has been either researched, developed, or identified in compliance with the National Historic Preservation Act. There has also not been a full opportunity for public involvement, particularly an expansiveinvolvement of Delta residents, in this process as also identified by the Act, particularly per the ACHP’s interpretation and instructions regarding Section 106 which requires public involvement and discussion regarding these historic places in the early stages of project planning. There have been no notable public meetings or opportunities for public participation or discussion regarding historic towns and properties that either are on or eligible to be on the National Register of Historic Places. This particularly applies to NEPA compliance with the National Historic Preservation Act Section 106 of the historical structures in and around the Delta Legacy Towns and the proximity of Preferred Alternative 4A (SWP) and/or Alternative 9 (FCVP) (and/or all other alternatives). Neither the State nor Federal Lead Agencies have provided a formal forum or series of opportunities for broad spectrum public input early in the planning process as is required by Section 106 of the NHPA.
Recommendation: That the Federal and State Lead Agencies form a Delta Landmark Preservation Commission that identifies historic properties and potential historic properties throughout the Delta, including built environment resources (i.e. buildings, canals, bridges, ferries, etc.), historic landscapes (i.e. levees, sloughs, etc.), and traditional cultural properties (i.e. homes, buildings, schools, museums, cemeteries, etc.). Delay going forward with any alternative, be it the preferredAlternative 4A (SWP) or Alternative 9 (FCVP) or any other alternative identified in the BDCP and partially recirculated draft EIR/S, until thorough study and evaluation of the significant and/or adverse impacts have been correctly and specifically identified, mitigation plans determined, and full compliance with the National Historic Preservation Act has been accomplished. This includes providing for the opportunity for public input in the historic places evaluation process, particularly for greater Delta residents and residents of Delta communities, many of whom are 5th, 6th, and 7th generation Delta property owners. Additionally, we recommend that the Secretary of the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation, in consultation with the Council and with the State Historic Preservation Officer, review and determine a significant threat to the National Historic town of Locke and certain buildings in Walnut Grove due to water development projects initiated by the State of California, per Alternative 9 (FCVP) and develop and submit them to the President and Congress with recommendations for appropriate protection of these areas.
- 9 Historic Legacy Towns in the North Delta. Issue: The historic value of the 9 Historic Legacy Towns in the North Delta, especially in relation to their proximity to the preferred Alternative 4A (SWP) and/or Alternative 9 (FCVP) (or any other alternative currently shown in the partially recirculated EIR/EIS), is not adequately recognized or accommodated for either in the Figure M15-4 maps, Sheets 1-8 (attached), or in the partially recirculated draft EIR/S including Recreation Chapter 15. The 9 Historic Legacy Towns in the North Delta include Freeport, Clarksburg, Hood, Courtland, Locke, Walnut Grove, Rio Vista, Ryde, and Isleton in approximately a 35 mile stretch of the Sacramento River, just 10 miles from the State Capitol in downtown Sacramento. Due to the proximity of the proposed Alternative 4A (SWP) and/or Alternative 9 (FCVP) (or any other alternative currently shown in the partially recirculated draft EIR/S) to the 9 Historic Legacy Towns of the North Delta, many of these towns will be directly and indirectly severely impacted if any of the current alternatives are implemented.
Recommendation: Engage in extensive research on the settlement of California by the Native Americans and original settlers of California during and after the 1849 Gold Rush and the development of the farmland after the Federal Government declared the Swamp and Overflowed Lands Act of 1850 and how these helped to shape and form the historic value of the 9 Historic Legacy Towns in the North Delta. In 1902 The Reclamation Act further funded the construction and maintenance of irrigation projects for the storage, diversion, and development of waters – – meaning dams, reservoirs, and canals – – to irrigate arid and semi-arid lands in 16 western states including California, with the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta’s massive levee system. Continue to research and identify the tourism/recreational aspects that these towns provide to the legacy of California’s beginnings as well as to California’s economy and that of the respective communities. Additionally, add and label/identify these towns as recreational centers on the final maps in Figure M15-4, Sheets 1 – 8 (attached), as well as in the partially recirculated draft EIR/S including Recreation Chapter 15, and include plans for mitigation for the adverse impacts if Alternative 4A (SWP) and/or Alternative 9 (FCVP) (or any other alternative currently shown in the partially recirculated draft EIR/S) are implemented.
- Historic Museums in the North Delta. Issue: The historic value of the 12 major museums in the North Delta has not been adequately recognized nor efforts identified to protect and preserve these historic treasures and mitigate for the significant and adverse impacts that will occur if Alternative 4A (SWP) and/or Alternative 9 (FCVP) (or any other alternative currently shown in the partially recirculated draft EIR/EIS) are implemented.
Recommendation: To identify, list, and label the historic museums in the North Delta on the final maps in Figure M15-4, Sheets 1 – 8 (attached), as well as in the partially recirculated draft EIR/S including Recreation Chapter 15, and to adequately recognize the valuable role these museums play in capturing and documenting the historical legacy of the North Delta and to provide for protecting and preserving these museums for California’s vast historical record so this history is preserved and not lost.
- Wineries and Wine Tasting Venues in the North Delta. Issue: The agricultural and tourist appeal of the Clarksburg Appellation and North Delta Wine Growing Region, including over 25 wineries and wine tasting venues, has not been adequately recognized, identified or addressed to protect this Recreational/Tourist treasure of California and mitigate for the unavoidable adverse impacts that will occur if Alternative 4A (SWP) or Alternative 9 (FCVP) (or any other alternative currently shown in the partially recirculated draft EIR/EIS) are implemented.
Recommendation: To identify, add, and label the valuable Clarksburg Appellation vintners, wineries, and wine tasting venues of the Clarksburg Appellation and North Delta on the final maps in Figure M15-4, Sheets 1 – 8 (attached), as well as a notable aspect of recreation and tourism in the partially recirculated draft EIR/S including Recreation Chapter 15. Mitigate for the direct and/or indirect adverse impacts that will occur if Alternative 4A (SWP) or Alternative 9 (FCVP) (or any of the alternatives currently shown in the partially recirculated draft EIR/S) are implemented.
- Agri-Tourism Locations (Excluding Wineries) in the North Delta. Issue: The tourism and recreational value of the 13 major agri-tourism locations in the North Delta has not been adequately recognized or efforts identified to protect these agricultural recreation/tourist (i.e. agri-tourism) sites and mitigate for the direct and indirect adverse impacts that will occur if Alternative 4A (SWP) and/or Alternative 9 (FCVP) (or any other alternative currently shown in the partially recirculated EIR/EIS) are implemented.
Recommendation: To identify, add, and label the agri-tourism and Sacramento Delta Grown tourist destination sites in the North Delta on the final maps in Figure M15-4, Sheets 1 – 8 (attached), as well as in the partially recirculated draft EIR/S including Recreation Chapter 15 as notable and credible aspects of recreation in the North Delta. Address the direct and indirect adverse impacts that will occur if Alternative 4A (SWP) and/or Alternative 9 (FCVP) (or any other alternative currently shown in the partially recirculated EIR/S) are implemented and mitigate for these.
- Art Galleries in the North Delta. Issue: The historic value of the 9 major historic art galleries in the North Delta has not been adequately evaluated, recognized or efforts identified to protect these cultural treasures and mitigate for the direct and indirect adverse impacts that will occur if Alternative 4A (SWP) and/or Alternative 9 (FCVP) (or any other alternative currently shown in the partially recirculated EIR/EIS) are implemented.
Recommendation: To adequately evaluate, identify, add, and label the 9 major Art Galleries in the North Delta on the final maps in Figure M15-4, Sheets 1 – 8 (attached), as well as acknowledge Art Galleries as recreation centers and tourist destination sites in the partially recirculated draft EIR/S including Recreation Chapter 15, and to address and mitigate the unavoidable adverse impacts that will occur if Alternative 4A (SWP) and/or Alternative 9 (FCVP) (or any other alternative currently shown in the partially recirculated EIR/EIS) are implemented.
- Delta Scenic Loop. Issue: The recreational value of the Delta Scenic Loop, with its approximately 25 marinas, recreational resorts, harbors, restaurants, and RV/Mobile Home Parks, will be severely and adversely impacted with the construction of Alternative 4A (SWP) and/or Alternative 9 (FCVP) (or any other alternative currently shown in the partially recirculated EIR/EIS).
Recommendation: To adequately evaluate, identify, add, and label the approximately 25recreational sites in the Delta Scenic Loop in the final maps in Figure M15-4, Sheets 1-8 (attached), as well as in Recreation Chapter 15, along with addressing the sever direct and/or indirect adverse impacts which will occur to the Delta Scenic Loop’s major recreational sites if Alternative 4A (SWP) and/or Alternative 9 (FCVP) (or any other alternative currently shown in the partially recirculated EIR/EIS) are implemented.
III. DELTA PLAN AND DELTA REFORM ACT CONSISTENCY
There is a disconnect between what the Delta Plan and the Delta Reform Act find is important regarding Recreation and protecting the quaint community and agrarian qualities and lifestyles of the Delta, especially in the North Delta where the preferred Alternative 4A (SWP) and/or Alternative 9 (FCVP) (or any other alternative currently shown in the partially recirculated draft EIR/S which impacts this area) would have the most adverse impact and do the most harm to the agrarian ambiance of the Delta, and what the BDCP and the partially recirculated draft EIR/S have recorded, and they themselves identified as significant and adverse. Our comments on both the BDCP and the partially recirculated draft EIR/S identify mitigation measures that may need improvement. Other comments below call attention to other aspects of the project where additional information or consideration of further alternatives or mitigation measures may be important to certification of the project’s consistency with the Delta Plan.
Chapter 5 in the Delta Plan cites the Delta Stewardship Council’s five core strategies for protecting and enhancing the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, which includes “Encourage recreation and tourism that allow visitors to enjoy and appreciate the Delta, and that contribute to its economy” and to “Sustain a vital Delta economy that includes a mix of recreation, commercial and other industries, and vital components of state and regional infrastructure.” The Delta Plan states on page 167 that “The Delta provides opportunities for recreation and tourism because of its unique geography, mix of activities, and rich natural resources.” The Delta Plan suggests that the Delta’s traditions can be honored and its history preserved by including policies that “enhance recreation and tourism,” page 167. The Delta Plan also suggests that among the values that make the Delta a distinctive and special place are the fact that “The Delta retains a rural heritage, characterized by farms and small towns linked by navigable waterways and winding country roads,” page 167. It also states that “The Delta is a place of multicultural tradition, legacy communities, and family farms.” The Delta Plan recognizes that “The Council envisions a future where the Delta’s unique qualities are recognized and honored,” page 168. And that “Visitors to the region will enjoy recreation on and in its waterways, marshes, resorts, parks, and historic legacy communities.”
The Delta Plan also notes that “A Healthy ecosystem is also important to the Delta’s communities,” and that “Visitors drawn to its scenery, waterways, fish, and wildlife support tourism businesses. Protecting the ecosystem maintains these benefits and restoring it can expand them, especially when it can be accomplished in ways that enhance the Delta’s working landscape.” This all suggests, then, that consistency with the Delta Plan would require that the final EIR/S needs to take into account the importance of protecting the Delta’s ecosystem, the 9 Historic Delta Legacy towns, as well as the community character that is exemplified in its Legacy towns, and would seek alternatives other than Alternative 4A (SWP) and Alternative 9 (FCVP) (and other alternatives currently shown in the partially recirculated draft EIR/S) that would not have the severe impacts on the North Delta that are currently proposed in the preferred Alternative 4A (SWP) and Alternative 9 (FCVP) (or any other alternative currently shown in the partially recirculated EIR/EIS). Another new and innovative alternative needs to be identified and adopted as “preferred” that will not jeopardize and adversely impact the 9 Historic Legacy Towns and the historical and recreational value in tourism that they bring to the Delta. (See additional comment submission on the Delta-Tulare Water Plan.)
While Figure M15-4, Sheets 1 – 8 (attached), which include the areas most impacted by Alternative 4A (SWP) and/or Alternative 9 (FCVP), show a minimum of 42 potentially impacted parks, marinas, resorts, fishing access’s and docks, they are missing a whole separate, but just as important aspect of tourist attraction type recreation in the Delta. The Delta Plan map (Figure 5-6 – attached) shows many of the additional recreation and tourist attractions and historic sites, hunting facilities, winery/tasting rooms and the 9 Historic Legacy Communities. Please also see the four enclosed Delta Regional Maps included with our comments. These maps delineate many of the land-based and water-based tourist recreational locations.
- COMPREHENSIVE PROJECT DESCRIPTION
Recreation in the Delta comes in many forms. There is both water-based and land-based recreation. Recreation may be primarily sightseeing or going for a drive in the country. It can also be tuning into the Sacramento River another way – through fishing, recreational boating, or swimming.
One form of Delta recreation in the form of tourism, which has been largely ignored and omitted both in the language and in maps of the BDCP and there has been little, if any, effort to correct these omissions in the partially recirculated draft EIR/S, even though they were presented in comments to the original iteration of the BDCP. Tourism in the Delta is alive and well and is vibrantly supported in the North Delta through a wine tasting region on par with Napa called the Clarksburg Appellation, which sports at least 30 wineries and wine tasting venues including Bogle Winery, which is known internationally – as well as at the White House – for its outstanding wines.
Other tourism highlights in the North Delta include the 9 Historic Legacy Towns, which are integrally interwoven with California’s 1849 Gold Rush and the blossoming and growth of California during the latter part of the 1800s and early 1900s. These Historic Legacy Towns include the historic town of Locke, which is one of the last remaining towns in America built by the Chinese for Chinese and was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1971. As many Chinese played a pivotal role first in largely building the western portion of the transcontinental railway, and then were major players in building much of the Delta levee system, their influence in the Delta and early California history is significant. Locke and most of the other 9 Historic Legacy Towns will be either directly and/or indirectly adversely impacted and likely destroyed if Alternative 4A (SWP) and/or Alternative 9 (FCVP) (or any other alternative currently shown in the partially recirculated EIR/EIS) are implemented.
These towns contain much history dating back to the Gold Rush Era and also include 12 Historic Museums, 9 Art Galleries, wonderful shopping experiences/excursions including gift shops and bazaars and host annual events, such as the Courtland Pear Fair, Rio Vista Bass Festival, Isleton Cajun Festival, and Taste of the Delta, as well as weddings, receptions, and other special occasion events, etc.
Agri-tourism includes 13 Delta Grown Farms and Winery Trail Farms and Orchards. The Delta Scenic Loop is awash with marinas, resorts, and extensive boating and water sports opportunities.
These will all be directly and indirectly severely adversely impacted and likely largely abandoned during and after the construction process of the preferred Alternative 4A (SWP) (and/or Alternative 9 (FCVP) (or any other alternative currently shown in the partially recirculated draft EIR/EIS). These treasures of the Delta need to be included in the equation of what will be lost – in addition to much more of California’s rich history – through the building of the Bay Delta Conservation Plan and its twin tunnels.
- EVALUATION AND MITIGATION OF IMPACTS TO UNIQUE DELTA VALUES, GENERAL DELTA RECREATION AND TOURISM ECONOMY, AND DELTA AESTHETICS
Along with Recreation and Tourism, the unique Delta Values and Delta Aesthetics have been narrowly represented in both the draft BDCP and the partially recirculated draft EIR/S. The concerns expressed in the comments to the original BDCP were not accounted for, nor addressed, in the partially recirculated draft EIR/S including Recreation Chapter 15.
The final maps in Figure M15-4, Sheets 1 – 8 (attached), as well as the Recreation Chapter 15 should recognize, evaluate, and depict/reflect all recreation in the Delta such as tourism, museums, Delta wineries and wine tasting venues including the Clarksburg Appellation vintners, agri-tourism locations, art galleries, and the 10-mile Delta Scenic Loop.
Recreation references should also include bicycling (the Amgen Tour bicycle race goes through the Delta), motorcycle touring, car clubs, and wind surfing, etc. Additionally, there are numerous locations for special occasion events such as weddings and parties as well as unique shopping experiences in the 9 Historic Legacy Towns with the beautiful backdrop of the Sacramento River and sloughs that wind their way around approximately 60 islands Delta-wide.
The Sacramento River Delta is the West’s largest estuary. It is formed by the confluence of the Sacramento and San Joaquin rivers, the state’s two largest rivers. It plays a major role in the state’s prosperity by providing drinking water for millions of Californians and fueling a $31 billion agricultural industry. The Delta is an important habitat to more than 750 animal and plant species, including waterfowl, birds of prey, sport fish and species listed as threatened or endangered such as the Delta smelt, Chinook salmon and Steelhead salmon. The 1,000 square-mile estuary through which 50% of all California’s water runoff travels, supports 80% of California’s commercial salmon fisheries. Over 1,100 miles of levees protect farms, cities, schools, people and natural habitat.
As the Sacramento River, with its historic prevalence of Chinook and Steelhead salmon, is the basis of the culture that has evolved in the Delta, it is important to understand the history of the salmon in the Sacramento River in understanding the unique Delta values, general Delta recreation and tourism economy and Delta aesthetics. It is also important to recognize how the agricultural and river cultures developed into integrated communities.
California’s Central Valley was once home to robust Chinook salmon runs that surged through the waters of the Sacramento River and San Joaquin Rivers to spawning grounds located hundreds of miles upstream. During this era, the rivers and streams of California’s Central Valley were uninhibited by any significant human impacts and seemed an appropriate place to start a salmon fishery. By the 1850s, 60 boats fished the Sacramento River between Sutter’s Fort and Suisan Bay. Fourteen years later, Hapgood, Hume and Company were canning salmon on a barge located near K Street in Sacramento. In 1882, the Sacramento River hosted 19 canneries producing 200,000 cases of salmon annually.
The Delta old-timers still tell stories where they recall the Sacramento River being so abundant with salmon it was believed a person could almost walk on the backs of the salmon across the rivers and sloughs.
Not only did the region appear rich with salmon, but by most engineer’s and legislator’s accounts the freshwater resources of the Bay-Delta were rich enough to supply vast acreages of farmland. The early California Legislature adopted English Law’s riparian water rights. These water rights endowed owners of land bordering streams or bodies of water with the right to utilize a reasonable amount of water. Some farms in the Delta, many 5th and 6th generation, still maintain riparian water rights to this day. As the farming industry grew in the fertile soils of the Central Valley, the limited amount of farmland with direct access to surface water began to disappear and farmers were forced into drier areas. More and more sprawl created a need for increasingly more water and most importantly, a way to funnel that precious water to farms popping up in lands historically regarded as deserts. To convey this water to those outside of the natural watershed, state and federal engineers devised a dizzying array of pumps, canals, pipes, dams, and reservoirs.
The Central Valley Project (FCVP) did the job that nature wouldn’t. Its man-made rivers and streams abandoned the ecological bounty of the four Central Valley salmon runs, and focused their crashes. The construction of the Friant Dam on the San Joaquin River in 1944 cut off all water to the river’s lower reaches and destroyed its salmon runs. In 1987 the salmon water supply in the Sacramento was reduced by 90%. The epic Central Valley Chinook runs that had once provided commercial and recreational fishermen with catches of over 1.5 million fish annually were reduced down to less than fifty thousand returning spawners in 1987. In 1989, the winter run Chinook was listed as a threatened species by the federal government and endangered by the state of California.
By the early 90s, drought and bountiful water allocations for agribusiness had sucked the 4,500,000 acre feet Shasta reservoir down to 2-3% of capacity. The State Water Project cut some agriculture customers off completely, while the Bureau of Land Management reduced the water supply available to its CVP customers by 75%. Restrictions in surface water use proved a minor setback for some large farmers with the financial resources and technology necessary to drill into the finite water resources stored underground. Despite the exploitation of newly developed underground aquifers and additional water allocations, the unemployment rate in many farming communities hovered around 30%. Towns suffered and construction jobs also experienced a major decline in employment.
For the salmon fishermen, drilling for more salmon water was not an option. In 1992, the PFMC imposed tight quota limits on the commercial salmon fleet. The California harvest limit was set at a mere 150,000 fish or about a couple dozen salmon per boat. Such a small catch would not even pay for the cost of fuel. From 1980 to 1995 the number of fishermen employed by salmon fishing shrank from 50,000 to 10,000 and the number of boats dropped from 6,000 boats to 2,000. October 1992 ushered in the Central Valley Improvement Act, which called for changes in water management to restore, enhance, and protect fish and wildlife. That same fall 300 of 350 salmon trawlers in Fort Bragg were up for sale.
Less salmon fishermen on the water did not equate to more fish in the rivers, and in 1994 the winter-run Chinook salmon was listed as Endangered by the Federal government. Salmon fishermen have worked with the California Fish and Wildlife officials to help mitigate for the loss of thousands of miles of upstream spawning habitat for decades. The Salmon Stamp Program, begun in 1979, was a self-taxation program envisioned by commercial salmon fishermen thatwould provide supplementary funds in support of large scale hatchery enhancement, small-scale enhancement, habitat restoration, and public education. The multifaceted approach to Central Valley salmon restoration has seen definite signs of success; however, without the provision of adequate water flows to the Delta, the disparity between Central Valley crop production and Chinook salmon production continues to magnify.
One element of salmon and other aquatic endangered species impacts which we did not find in either the BDCP or the partially recirculated draft EIR/S is the fact that much of the ecosystem, predominantly lush vegetation, that should be normally on the levee banks, and which provides habitat and food for aquatic life – through insects and other bugs – has been largely removed between Freeport and Rio Vista along the Sacramento River. This minimizes the food and shade available for Delta aquatic life, and should be mitigated to allow for and encourage increased vegetation growth on the Delta levees. This is also adversely impacting Delta fish populations, particularly the endangered Chinook and Steelhead salmon, while compromising other fish as well.
- EVALUATION AND MITIGATION OF IMPACTS TO THE COMMUNITY CHARACTER OF THE DELTA
The Delta is a fresh-water system primarily comprised of fertile agricultural islands that sit below sea level, but are protected by a stout system of levees. It is fed by five major rivers, including the Sacramento River and the San Joaquin River.
The Lauritzen Indians lived in the historic California Delta for centuries when the Spaniards first found it in 1772. The region was heavy from spring rains and from their view atop Mount Diablo they thought it to be a huge inland lake. French trappers arrived in 1832, and mountain men like Jedediah Smith trekked its high ground. But it was the discovery of gold on the American River in Coloma in 1848 that hastened the reclamation and settlement of the Delta. Starting in 1849, paddlewheeler steamboats brought Argonauts to the fledgling waterfront towns of Sacramento and Stockton, who then went overland to the mines. The California Gold Rush was on, and history was in the making.
This historical setting establishes the foundation for the “Community Character” of the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta. There was an organic evolution of the Delta Region, which began in earnest during the California Gold Rush of 1849. The Delta is a living legacy of the 1849 Gold Rush miners and pioneers who settled this land, which is steeped in history.
The Sacramento River is the foundational element of the communities and everything historically revolved around the river. The Sacramento River provided a way of navigating into the inlands of California that sometimes prohibited land travel due to rough terrain or flooding. Essentially, the Sacramento River was the I-5 of their day. The river provided food in the abundant fish supplies, and water for agriculture and life in general. Argonauts who did not become wealthy in the gold mines, often turned to and found their niche in agriculture or through other supportive labors of those who sought their fortunes in the gold fields. Small communities sprang up along the Sacramento River during this time and expanded over the next 70 years as the need for resources to support the gold seekers and adventurous pioneers grew. Many 5th, 6th, and 7th generation Delta farmers still farm the lands their families farmed back in the mid-to-late1800s; their children attend the Delta schools and these families contribute to the California economy in a substantial way.
The rural and historical character of the Delta remains strong. People worldwide from many cultures have made the Delta what it is today. Portuguese, Italian, Chinese, Japanese, Filipino, Native American, Dutch, African American, Mexican and Anglo influences all contributed to the thriving agricultural area. Many of the towns along the river include schools, stores, services and places of worship that honor and perpetuate various ethnic customs and cultures that still flourish within the Delta. The Delta is a true mixing pot of cultures. The historic homes and architecture reflect this rainbow of cultures. These are eclectic homes and buildings with a variety of architecture dating back to the Gold Rush Era of the 1850s. These include Victorian homes, the Colonial estates and architectural homes of the old south, as well as updated mansions and modest ranchettes. The Delta marinas and parks also offer homes for those wishing to live on or nearby the water.
The geography and topography also helps to define the community character of the Delta. There is an enormous variety of trees spanning the range from cedar, oak, eucalyptus, pine, willow, pear orchards, lemon, fig, apple, orange, grapefruit, almonds, cherries, and kiwi among others within the 35 mile stretch between Freeport and Rio Vista on State Highway 160. The trees and surrounding vegetation support an eclectic menagerie of wildlife including otters, beaver, skunks, coyotes, raccoons, and many varieties of birds, including the migrating birds using the Pacific Flyway that runs through the Delta.
These are different feelings and topography in different areas of the Delta. For instance, while the 9 Legacy Towns are predominantly on the banks of the Sacramento River over a roughly 35 mile stretch, the Delta Loop is on two different waterways including two rivers and one slough – the San Joaquin and Mokolumne Rivers and the Georgianna Slough. Driving along “The Loop” gives a person a sense of being closer to the water than high above it while on the levees.
As you meander along the rivers and sloughs of the Delta, you’ll be crossing a myriad of spectacular and varied bridges. Some are approaching 100 years old. Double Leaf “Bascule” design bridges (with two halves that rise in unison) along Historic Highway 160 were designed by the Strauss Bascule Bridge Company of Chicago Illinois, who engineered virtually all of the “Bascule” bridges in California prior to WWII. The engineer was Joseph B. Strauss, who was also the Chief Engineer of the San Francisco Golden Gate Bridge.
Two free public ferries still operate in the Delta: The “Real McCoy” takes vehicles across Cache Slough between Rio Vista and Ryer Island and the J-Mack ferry crosses Steamboat Slough between Grand Island and Ryer Island.
The Delta has become a common system and what impacts recreation and tourism on one part of the Delta will affect businesses and community life in other areas. It can affect the population of churches and schools. When a business closes down or is forced to shut down, it affects all of the population of churches, schools, businesses, and the community’s tax base, etc. The common system is impacted with the loss of recreation, including tourism, and it will effect businesses, livelihoods, and church and school populations throughout the Delta.
The rural historical character that permeates the whole Delta region will be adversely impacted if inverse condemnation and eminent domain are employed to the point that the Delta communities may become completely forfeited and obliterated. Changing the Delta from a rural historical agrarian lifestyle to an industrial water complex will likely destroy the Delta’s living historical legacy. Many legacy farms with 5th, 6th, and 7th generation family farmers, some families dating back to the gold rush era of the 1850s may be destroyed – and become a thing of the past.
Construction of the conveyance facilities will result in numerous impacts, which are enumerated in a variety of areas throughout the partially recirculated draft EIR/S. However, the scale of collective impacts in the construction zone over ten or more years of construction have not been adequately assessed and documented. Because the collective construction impacts will have a major effect on numerous resource categories, the final EIR/S should aggregate the description of impacts that affect community character associated with each alternative’s construction activities in one location and summarize them, including the scope and time frames of each impact. In this aggregation, the final EIR/S should discuss the combined footprint of construction impacts affecting each community including effects on agriculture, recreation and tourism, noise, traffic congestion, air quality, aesthetic resources, local economies, and cultural resources. This should be done for each of the alternatives, and the final aggregation for each alternative should be compared to the aggregation of each of the other alternatives to obtain a detailed picture of the adverse impacts of each of the alternatives as they compare to each other. As all of the alternatives offered are similar, we expect a similar outcome of adverse impacts will develop.
The Native American cultures and different California tribes have many historical roots in the Delta. The Native American cultural resources are especially important to identify and consider as recently passed Assembly Bill 52 (2014) has mandated the incorporation into CEQA the equation that the destruction of Native American sacred land is to be considered as equal to and dealt in the same way as destruction of the environment. AB 52 would specify “that a project with an effect that may cause a substantial adverse change in the significance of a tribal cultural resource, as defined, is a project that may have a significant impact on the environment. The bill would require a Lead Agency to begin consultation with a California Native American tribe that is traditionally and culturally affiliated with the geographic area of the proposed project …” (See attached AB 52 legislation.)
VII. SUMMARY OF THE VAST RANGE OF RECREATIONAL OPPORTUNITIES OF THE DELTA
While the BDCP and the partially recirculated draft EIR/S have captured some of the aspects of water recreation in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, such as some marinas and boating options, information about land recreation is woefully lacking.
Tourism is especially minimized – whether it is regarding Clarksburg Appellation and Delta wine-tasting adventures, agri-tourism of the Delta’s generational family farms, or visiting the special historical places in the quaint 9 Historic Legacy Towns, tourism is largely omitted in the BDCP process.
Other recreational aspects that have been largely omitted are the bicycling options, motorcycle clubs, recreational driving, and wind surfing, etc.
Recreation also should include bicycling (the Amgen Tour bicycle race goes through the Delta), motorcycle touring, car clubs, and wind surfing. Additionally, there are numerous locations for special occasion events such as weddings and parties as well as unique shopping experiences in the 9 Historic Legacy Towns with the beautiful backdrop of the Sacramento River and sloughs that wind their way around approximately 60 islands Delta-wide. Engage in extensive research as to the historic value of the 9 Historic Legacy Towns in the North Delta and identify, recognize, and include the many diverse forms of recreation opportunities offered in the Delta, including the multiple aspects of tourism, and mitigate for the numerous significant and unavoidable adverse impacts that will occur if the preferred Alternative 4A (SWP) and/or Alternative 9 (FCVP) (or any other alternative currently shown in the partially recirculated draft EIR/EIS) are implemented.
VIII. COMPLIANCE WITH THE NATIONAL HISTORIC PRESERVATION ACT (NHPA) AND THE ADVISORY COUNCIL ON HISTORIC PRESERVATION (ACHP)
Section 1 of the National Historic Preservation Act explains why Congress created this Act, stating:
“… (b) The Congress finds and declares that –
(1) The spirit and direction of the Nation are founded upon and reflected in its historic heritage;
(2) The historical and cultural foundations of the Nation should be preserved as a living part of our community life and development in order to give a sense of orientation to the American people;
(3) Historic properties significant to the Nation’s heritage are being lost or substantially altered, often inadvertently, with increasing frequency;
(4) The preservation of this irreplaceable heritage is in the public interest so that its vital legacy of cultural, educational, aesthetic, inspirational, economic, and energy benefits will be maintained and enriched for future generations of Americans;
(5) In the face of ever-increasing extensions of urban centers, highways, and residential, commercial, and industrial developments, the present governmental and non-governmental historic preservation programs and activities are inadequate to ensure future generations a genuine opportunity to appreciate and enjoy the rich heritage of our Nation;
(6) The increased knowledge of our historic resources, the establishment of better means of identifying and administering them, and the encouragement of their preservation will improve the planning and execution of Federal and federally assisted projects and will assist economic growth and development; and
(7) Although the major burdens of historic preservation have been born and major efforts initiated by private agencies and individuals, and both should continue to play a vital role, it is nevertheless necessary and appropriate for the Federal government to accelerate its historic preservation programs and activities, to give maximum encouragement to agencies and individuals undertaking preservation by private means, and to assist state and local governments and the National Trust for Historic Preservation in the United States to expand and accelerate their historic preservation program and activities.”
Neither the BDCP or the partially recirculated draft EIR/S have adequately and/or appropriately demonstrated compliance with the National Historic Preservation Act. The Advisory Council on Historic Preservation, who administers the National Historic Preservation Act, states on their website under “Information About Section 106 Review and Consultation” that “The federal agency implementing the project or providing assistance, licenses, permits, or approvals for a proposed project is responsible for consulting with stakeholders and completing Section 106 prior to making a final decision. Agencies initiate Section 106 reviews in consultation with state and tribal officials. . . . “
“Consultation is the cornerstone of the Section 106 process and should be initiated in the early stages of project planning.” (Emphasis added.) “Federal agencies are required to also include local governments and applicants for federal assistance permits, licenses, and other approvals in the Section 106 review process. Other consulting parties, such as individuals or groups interested in historic preservation should be invited to consult, too. In order to successfully complete a Section 106 review, federal agencies must follow these four steps:
- INITIATE Section 106 and determine if it applies to a given project;
- IDENTIFY historic properties in the project ares;
- ASSESS the effect of the project on identified historic properties; and
- RESOLVE adverse effects by exploring alternatives to avoid, minimize, or mitigate the effects.”
“The process provides for the consideration of alternatives that promote preservation and offers the public and stakeholders the opportunity to influence federal decision making.” (Emphasis added.) (See second submission for suggested alternatives.)
Under “Federal Preservation Programs” of the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation’s Website www.ACHP.gov/ofapfactsheet2011.pdf, they state:
“The successful completion of Section 106 reviews depends heavily on strong federal participation. OFAP works closely with federal agencies to identify opportunities for improving their preservation programs and compliance strategies.” (Emphasis added.)
Per Cultural Resources Chapter 18, Mitigation Measure CUL-3, page 15, Lines 17-22, it is stated that “The Bureau of Reclamation, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, National Marine Fisheries Service, and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers are entering into a Programmatic Agreement with the California State Historic Preservation Officer for the implementation of the National Historic Preservation Act Section 106 for their undertakings associated with the BDCP. The effects of Federal undertakings (actions) on historic properties (eligible for or listed on the National Register of Historic Places will be taken into account through the implementation of this programmatic agreement.”
Per CFR Part 800-Protection of Historic Properties (incorporating amendments effective August 5, 2004) Section 800.2 Participants in the Section 106 Process, 4(b)(2)(c)(1)(i) of the National Historic Preservation Act, “The State Historic Preservation Officer (SHPO) reflects the interests of the State and its citizens in the preservation of their cultural heritage. In accordance with Section 101 (b)(3) of the Act, the SHPO advises and assists Federal Agencies in carrying out their Section 106 responsibilities and cooperates with such agencies, local governments and organizations and individuals to ensure that historic properties are taking (taken) into consideration at all levels of planning and development.” (Emphasis added.)
- 9 HISTORIC LEGACY TOWNS IN THE NORTH DELTA
The Delta Reform Act of 2009 designated a number of unincorporated legacy communities in the Delta including Freeport, Clarksburg, Hood, Courtland, Locke, Walnut Grove, Isleton, and Rio Vista (as well as Bethel Island and Knightsen). These communities are predominantly in the North Delta and all sit on the banks of the Sacramento River, while exemplifying the Delta’s unique cultural history and contributing to the sense of the Delta as a place. These communities enjoy a colorful history. And, coupled with Sacramento River water recreation, along with the Clarksburg Appellation wine tasting region within a mere 30 minutes drive from two major Northern California metropolitan regions, this area is a major tourism draw for both Sacramento area and the San Francisco Bay Area.
The historic legacy of the Delta, particularly through the 9 historic legacy towns of the North Delta, has not been adequately acknowledged and recognized in the BDCP or recirculated draft EIR/S Recreation Chapter 15, nor mitigated for unavoidable significant impacts due to the construction of Alternative 4A (SWP) and/or Alternative 9 (FCVP) (or any other alternative currently shown in the partially recirculated draft EIR/EIS) conveyance facilities. Construction of any of these potentially 5 intake facilities would adversely impact well-established recreational/tourist opportunities and experiences due to reduced access, excessive noise, poor air quality and visual/aesthetic blight and disruptions that could – and likely would – result in loss of public use during the ten year construction period. This would also significantly impact the economic stability of these communities.
The construction would effectively create massive industrial water complexes – some stretching up to ½ mile long – with at least three of these located within the five mile stretch from Clarksburg to Hood along the Sacramento River in the North Delta. If construction of Alternative 9 (FCVP) intake facilities at the Delta Cross-Channels are completed, this would also have a significant adverse impact on the towns of Walnut Grove and Historic Locke, who depend largely on recreation and tourism for their economic stability. The other Delta Legacy towns of Freeport, Courtland, Isleton, Rio Vista and Ryde would also suffer due to largely clogged and congested highways, and declining recreation and tourism. Walnut Grove and Locke would be largely destroyed during the construction process through the constant pile driving and the numerous large semi-truck trips per day causing shaking and possible collapse of historic old buildings in both Locke and Walnut Grove with the construction of Alternative 9 (FCVP). The industrial water complex that is being proposed in Alternative 9 (CVP), if built, would overshadow any tourism element that managed to survive the ten-year construction zone process. The re-routing of State Highway 160 (Appendix A – Revision to Draft EIR/EIS Chapter 3 Description of the Alternatives pages 3 – 34 and 35) along with the largely congested traffic and construction air pollution will make this area largely undesirable for tourism and/or recreation.
9 Historic Legacy Towns in the North Delta include:
Freeport – Established 1862
Nearly all goods traveling to Sacramento and the Gold Rush came by boat from the Bay Area. In the early 1860s businessmen grew tired of paying taxes at the Sacramento Embarcadero (port). In 1862 Freeport Railroad Company was created with the idea of building a new port that was free of taxes, hence “Freeport” was named. The idea was to build a railway that bypassed Sacramento connecting with the Sacramento Valley Railroad at a midway point between Sacramento and Folsom. The newly formed town boomed for three years until populations dropped.
Freeport Highlights (Sacramento County)
- Gateway to the North Delta
- Freeport Bar & Grill
- Scribner Bend Vineyards
- Betts Horse Stables
- Beach Lake Stables
- Mi Pueblo Mexican Restaurant
- Moon River Inn
- Freeport Marina
- Cliff’s Marina
- Bartley Cavanaugh Golf Course
- Bill Conlin Youth Sports Complex
- First Delta bridge in the North Delta is the Freeport Draw Bridge
- 3 bait and grocery stores
- Freeport side of the Freeport Bridge is Sacramento County and the other side is Yolo County
- Entry in to the Delta by Freeport Boulevard in the North or I-5 Cosumnes River Boulevard exit from the East
Clarksburg – Established 1876
Clarksburg was settled in stages dating back as early as the 1850s when Merritt Island was first cleared and developed for agricultural uses. Postal authorities first established a post office in 1876, under the name “Clarksburgh” and changed the name to “Clarksburg” in 1893. The town was named after Robert C. Clark who settled at the place in 1849. In the 1920s the New Holland Land Company began subdividing the tracts in the area and formally established Clarksburg as an unincorporated community. Clarksburg is unique among small California towns in that many of the families who initially settled the area are still present, thus lending a small-town charm and familiarity to the community members. A portion of the original Old Sugar Mill (which was formerly a sugar beet factory) is now home to a modern wine tasting and production facility. The Bogle Winery on Merritt Island has become the most famous of the Clarksburg Appellation vintners with their wines being sold worldwide and being served at the White House as of 2007. Clarksburg serves as a hub providing 2 churches, 3 schools, a County library, post office and social activities for the farming and rural families that live in the North Delta.
The portion of Sacramento County directly across the Sacramento River was once considered part of the Clarksburg community due to the ferry crossing that existed at Clarksburg from 1920 until the Freeport Bridge opened on New Year’s Day in 1930. The ferry itself sank in November, 1928. Some of the older members of the community still refer to that adjoining area of Sacramento County as Clarksburg for that reason.
Clarksburg has a thriving grade school, middle school, and high school that has students from all over the region including West Sacramento. There are two churches, a United Church of Christ Community Church and the St. Joseph’s Catholic Church, both very well attended. The Catholic Church has three services every Sunday. There is also a post office, community grocery store, and public library. The climate is excellent for wine grapes, and Bogle Winery was featured as selling the most wine in the Western Hemisphere at Sacramento’s United Wine Symposium in 2013.
Clarksburg is the epitome of the all-American small town akin to “motherhood and apple pie” with a wonderful 4th of July Parade that the whole town turns out to see as well as an extensive celebration of the winter Christmas season with lots of lights and festive decorations.
Clarksburg Highlights (Yolo County)
- Center of the Delta wine industry and the Clarksburg Appellation since 1984 – with vintners and 30 wineries and wine tasting venues
- The Old Sugar Mill – which hosts 11 wineries
- Bogle Vineyards & Wine Tasting – which is world renowned
- Miner’s Leap Winery
- Julietta Winery
- Carvalho Family Winery
- Heringer Estates
- Three Wine Company
- Rendez-vous Wine Tastingt
- Due Vigne di Famiglia Wine Tasting
- Clarksburg Wine Company
- Merlo Wine Tasting
- ElevationTen Wine Tasting
- Draconis Wine Tasting
- Todd Taylor Wine Tasting
- Perry Creek Wine Tasting
- Old Sugar Mill Wine Tasting and Event Center
- Wilson Vineyards & Event Center
- Shorty’s Mexican Restaurant
- Clarksburg Charter School
- Clarksburg Middle School
- Delta High School with an excellent FFA program (Future Farmer’s of America) and numerous music, arts and sports opportunities for the students
- Clarksburg Library – Yolo County
- Clarksburg Post Office
- Clarksburg Community Church
- Joseph’s Catholic Church
- Volunteer Fire Department
- Clarksburg Dock and the Dinkey Diner on the river
- Schumacher Ceramics Art Gallery
- Vierra’s Farm Stand and Pumpkin Patch
- Loving Nature Organic Farm
- Town Square
- Annual 4th of July parade
- Troop 83 Boy Scout Cabin boasting many young men to the rank of Eagle Scout over the years
- Husicks (100 year old building) BBQ Proper & Taphouse Restaurant
- Entry from Freeport Boulevard in the South, South River Road from West Sacramento or Jefferson Boulevard from I-80 in West Sacramento
Hood – Established 1912
Hood was named in 1910 after William Hood, chief engineer of the Southern Pacific Railroad. The population was 271 at the 2010 census. Hood still has one of the original cold storage packing sheds that sits on the Sacramento River and was used to store produce until picked up or dropped off by steamboat or rail. It is currently being revamped as the new home of River Road Vintners & Brewery Exchange. Hood is a quiet, residential agrarian community.
Hood Highlights (Sacramento County)
- Volunteer Fire Department
- Post Office
- Old Cold Storage Produce Packing Shed on the river (new home of River Vintners & Brewery Exchange)
- Antique Shop
- Hood Supply Company & American Grill
- Grocery Store
- Kelly Farms
- Entry to Hood is a short 3 mile drive from I-5, Hood – Franklin Road Exit
Courtland – Established 1872
Courtland was named after Courtland Sims, son of James V. Sims, a landowner who opened a steamer landing in the community in 1870. Courtland was once the Pear Capital of the world and celebrates this the last Sunday in July by hosting an annual community Pear Fair which brings thousands of visitors to the Delta.
Courtland Highlights (Sacramento County)
- Hosts Annual Pear Fair
- Courtland Grade School
- Post Office
- Volunteer Fire Department
- Community Doctor’s Office
- Sacramento County Library
- Was the “Pear Capital of the World”
- Courtland Bridge
- Hub of North Delta Agri-Tourism and Sacramento River Delta Grown Farm Trail
- Swimming and Picnic Area at Steamboat Acres/founded in 1849
- Steamboat Acres Restaurant, Farm Stand and Pumpkin Patch
- Double M Farms
- McDowell Hunting Preserve
- A new winery to open soon
- Steamboat Marina Resort
- Entry to Courtland is via State Highway 160, 3 miles from Hood and 5 miles from Locke
Locke – Established 1915
Locke is one of the only towns in the United States built entirely by the Chinese. It was built in 1915 and burned down twice. This year, 2015, is their Centennial Celebration. Locke was a bustling place with gambling houses, merchant stores and a movie house all owned by the Chinese. Locke today is much like it was many years ago. Most of the original buildings are still standing. The Chinese residents were immigrants from two different areas from the Delta region in Guangdong [Canton] China. (Note that it was experienced Chinese engineers from the Pearl River Valley of Canton China who designed most of the levees that were built. Many of these Chinese engineers returned to China after the project was built.) The Chung Shan people resided in Locke, while Walnut Grove was populated by immigrants from Toi Shan county in China. During the Sino-Japanese War in the 1930s, the Walnut Grove – Locke-Isleton area was a prime target for visiting Chinese government VIPs to raise funds for the Chinese government. Locke was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1971 and further was designated a National Historic Landmark District in 1990 due to its unique example of a Chinese American rural community.
Locke Highlights (Sacramento County)
- Designated a National Historic Landmark District in 1990
- One of the last Chinese towns in America built for the Chinese by the Chinese
- Locke Historic District with Museums and Art Galleries
- Historic Museums
- Locke Boarding House
- Locke Memorial Park and Monument
- Star Theater
- The Dai Loy Gambling House
- The Jan Ying Benevolent Association
- The Joe Shoong School
- Locke Art Center
- Art Galleries
- Moon Cafe Art Gallery
- The Shack
- Ning Hou Fine Art Gallery with art lessons for young and old
- River Road Art Gallery
- Delta Meadows State Park
- Borders the north side of the Delta Cross Channel (CVP)
- Chinese Cultural Shop and Strange Cargo for Shopping
- Al’s Place Restaurant
- Locke Garden Restaurant
- Lockeport Bar & Grill Restaurant
- Locke Food and Wine tasting – opening 2016
- Annual Chinese New Year Celebration
Walnut Grove – Established 1850
Walnut Grove is one of the earliest settlements along the Sacramento River. The town quickly prospered as an agricultural center and riverboat stop (the forests were timbered for steamboat firewood) and a major shipping port by 1865 for agricultural produce, and fish, with the Bartlett Pear as its primary product. By 1870, it was a thriving town full of small businesses, a school, post office, and Union Guard Armory. Ferry service operated for many years between parts of the town on either side of the river until the first bridge was opened in 1916. The bridge, since replaced by a modern span, was the first cantilevered counter-weight bascule drawbridge constructed west of the Mississippi River. It was officially opened by the Governor of California who traveled with various dignitaries to Walnut Grove on the gubernatorial yacht.
As early as 1914, a large Japanese community lived in Walnut Grove. About 67 Japanese-owned businesses, including names and addresses, are listed in the Nichi-Bei Nenkan (Japanese American Yearbook) of 1914 – including one tofu shop – Sakai Tofu-ya. There was still a tofu shop in town in 1975 according to “The Book of Tofu.”
The community was racially segregated up to the start of World War II. Only whites were allowed to own homes on the West side of the river. Even on the East side, the Asians separated into a Japanese section and a Chinese section. There were two elementary schools (a “white’ school and Walnut Grove Oriental Elementary) until the Japanese were forcefully moved out of the area at the start of World War II. Then the two elementary schools (up to Grade 8) were combined. After elementary school, the students were bussed to Courtland for high school..
Walnut Grove Highlights (Sacramento County)
- Only town on the Sacramento River that is on both sides of the river and both sides are in Sacramento County
- Miyazaki Japanese Bath House and Gallery (restored historic Japanese bathhouse)
- Walnut Grove Theatre (National Register of Historic Places)
- Elementary School
- Buddhist Church
- Catholic Church
- Post Office
- Hidden Treasure Shop, Whirl Wind Gifts, Cigar Bazarre
- Eco Farm
- Tony’s Bar & Grill, Giuisti’s Place Restaurant, Maya’s Mexican Restaurant
- Pizza Factory, Alma’s Restaurant, Mel’s Mocha & Ice Cream
- Six Hands Winery
- Snug Harbor Marina & Resort
- Deckhands Marina
- Walnut Grove Marina
- Dagmar’s Marina
- Delta Islands Organic Farm
- Sheriff’s Office
- New Public Dock
- 2 Dentist Offices
- The Tong Fine Art Gallery
- Walnut Grove Iron Works
- Marty Stanley/Lost in the Delta Art Gallery
- J-Mack Ferry
- Delta HeartBeat Tours
- Walnut Grove Bridge
- Georgiana Slough Bridge
- Delta Cross-Channel Bridge
- Grand Island Mansion – weddings and special occasion events, dock
- South side of Delta Cross Channel borders Walnut Grov
Ryde – Established 1892
Ryde is best known for the Ryde Hotel. It is an interesting tourist attraction where they serve bottomless champagne Sunday brunch. The hotel also hosts meetings, events, and is open for overnight lodging. The Ryde Hotel was built in 1927 at the peak of the prohibition era. It was an opulent establishment, complete with a beauty salon and barber shop that served as a riverboat way station. It was also rumored to be a bordello. The lower level was a speakeasy, offering bootleg whiskey and jazz to a clientele in search of a good time. There was even a trap door in the floor that allegedly opened to reveal a tunnel running under the road to a hidden doorway at the river’s edge. The Ryde attracted celebrities of all types from President Herbert Hoover to local and state politicians to movie stars and mobsters whose pictures adorn the walls of the hotel lobby today.
Ryde Highlights (Sacramento County)
- Ryde Hotel & Event Center – popular during Prohibition, Sunday Brunch, 30 rooms for rent, weddings, restaurant and full bar
- Ko-Ket Resort
- Post Office
- Art and Jewelry Shop
- Current Congressman John Garamendi’s home is ½ way between Ryde and Walnut Grove on the west bank of the Sacramento River
Isleton – Established 1876
Chinese began immigrating to Isleton around 1875, and at its peak, the Chinese population numbered approximately 1,500. The city has many preserved 19th-century era storefronts along its main street, some of which show distinct Chinese influences. Chinatown, and the many facade front buildings, still remain intact. The very appeal of a bygone era still reminds residents and visitors of what was once referred to as “the Little Paris of the Delta.” Many cultures still inhabit Isleton today as they did then.
Isleton Highlights (Sacramento County)
- The Bing Kong Tong Museum (restored 2014)
- Isleton Museum
- Elementary School
- Post Office
- Fire Department
- Delta Diamond Farm Event Center
- Hosts the Annual Cajun Festival
- Public Dock
- Catholic Church
- 7th Day Adventist Church
- Isleton Bridge
- Large Operating Grainery
- Peter’s Steakhouse, Pineapple Restaurant, 25 Main Street Deli, Levee Café’, Rogelio’s
- Vieira’s Resort
- E2 Wine Tasting
- Entry a short 3 miles from Highway 12 on two separate routes; Highway 160 and Terminous Road
Rio Vista – Established 1893
The present location of Rio Vista is several miles south of the original settlement. Colonel Nathan H. Davis founded “Brazos del Rio” near the entrance of Cache Slough at the Sacramento River, on the Rancho Los Ulpinos Mexican land grant, in 1858. The settlement was renamed “Rio Vista” before a flood in 1862 that resulted in the town moving to its present location on higher ground. The city’s name combines the Spanish words for “river” and “view.” Post authorities established offices in 1858. The community was officially incorporated as Rio Vista on December 30, 1893. Rio Vista was visited by a lost humpback whale in 1985, despite being 60 miles upriver from the Pacific Ocean. The young whale, nicknamed “Humphrey,” attracted throngs of curiosity seekers before he was eventually guided back to sea by rescuers. Again in May 2007, humpbacks were sighted in Rio Vista. “Delta” and “Dawn,” mother and calf, stopped at least twice in the river near the town.
Rio Vista Highlights (Solano County)
- Helen Madre Lift Bridge
- The Real McCoy Ferry
- Fire Station
- Grade School
- Middle School
- High School
- 2 Christian Churches
- Post Office
- Fishing Pier/Board Walk on the River
- Lira’s Grocery Store
- Delta Farm Stand & Discover the Delta
- Awender Chiropractic
- Chef Edwards Restaurant, Donnelly Floral Design, Foster’s Bighorn Restaurant
- Tortilla Flats, Striper Cafe, Rio Cafe, Lucy’s Café’, Pizza Factory
- Travel Agency, Pharmacy, Bakery, Pet Store, Book Store, Social Butterfly, $Store
- Delta Marina & RV Park
- Sea Nymph Vineyards & Event Center
- Tower Park Marina and RV Park/Camping
- 2 Car Dealerships
- Rio Vista Museum
- Rio Vista Library in Solano County
- Trilogy Retirement Community (large upscale) with Golf Course
- Annual Bass Festival
- Annual “Taste of the Delta” event by Delta Chamber of Commerce & Visitors Bureau
- Entry by Interstate 80/Highway 12 from the East, Interstate 5 from the West, Highway 4 from the South and State Highway 160 from the North.
- HISTORIC MUSEUMS & SITES IN THE NORTH DELTA
The museums of the North Delta, many of which are in the vicinity of the proposed construction of the preferred Alternative 4A (SWP) and Alternative 9 (FCVP), reflect the times of the 1849 Gold Rush and display many historical items, while capturing and promoting the history of the Delta levees, the Chinese and Japanese influence in the Delta, the history of California’s 1849 Gold Rush, and the development of the massive levee undertaking and reclamation of much agricultural land. There are many buildings that are on the National Register of Historic Places and the whole town of Locke is on the National Register of Historic Places. Many of these historic buildings will be at risk during and after construction of Alternative 4A (SWP) and/or Alternative 9 (FCVP) (or any of the other alternatives being considered in the partially recirculated draft EIR/S). Even most of the bridges and the J-Mack Ferry are over 50 years old and need to be protected to allow future generations their opportunity to learn about the history of California and understand its roots.
- Courtland Bridge
- Steamboat Slough Bridge
- Sutter Slough Bridge
- Locke Boarding House
- Locke Memorial Park and Monument
- The Shack
- Star Theatre
- The Dai Loy Gambling House
- The Jan Ying Benevolent Association
- The Joe Shoong School
- Main Street – Locke
- Miyazaki Japanese Bath House and Gallery
- Walnut Grove Theater – National Register of Historic Places
- Grand Island Mansion
- Walnut Grove Bridge
- Georgiana Slough Bridge
- Historic Ryde Hotel
- J Mack Ferry
- Bing Kong Tong Museum
- Isleton Museum
- Isleton Bridge
- Dutra Museum
- Rio Vista Museum
- Rio Vista Bridge
- WINERIES AND WINE TASTING VENUES IN THE NORTH DELTA
THE CLARKSBURG APPELLATION AND GREATER SACRAMENTO RIVER DELTA
Viticulture is critical to the agricultural and recreational aspects of the North Delta, and in the direct vicinity of the proposed Alternative 4A (SWP) on both the east and west sides of the Sacramento River from Clarksburg to Hood.
The quaint Clarksburg Appellation spans three counties – Sacramento, Solano, and Yolo – and enfolds 64,640 acres of prime farmland near the town of Clarksburg. (Wikipedia) Sixteen miles long and eight miles wide, this American Viticultural Area (AVA) has over 10,000 acres of vines, and more than 25 wine grape varietals thrive there. “While the Clarksburg appellation produces over 40,000 tons of grapes annually, 90% of it is crushed outside the appellation. Multiple wineries, both in and outside the AVA are now producing under the (Clarksburg) AVA name, which may signal much deserved future recognition. New facility projects such as conversion of the Old Sugar Mill, a shuttered beet sugar processing facility, into a major multiple winery/wine tasting venue has certainly presented opportunity for expanded presence of wines in this appellation.” (AppellationAmerica.com)
Recreation, Tourism and Agri-Tourism have been on the increase over the past few years in the Delta, and this is partly due to the increasing number of wineries and wine tasting venues in the Clarksburg area. There are approximately 30 wineries/wine tasting venues in the Greater Sacramento River Delta and Clarksburg Appellation including the following:
- Bogle Vineyards and Winery (A well-known and international bestseller, Clarksburg Appellation Vintners)
- Carvahlo Family Wines (Clarksburg Appellation Vintners)
- Heringer Estates (Clarksburg Appellation Vintners)
- Merlo Family Vineyards at the Old Sugar Mill (Wine Tasting Venue)
- Lake Winchester Vineyards (Clarksburg Appellation Vintners)
- Scribner Bend Vineyards (Clarksburg Appellation Vintners)
- Wilson Vineyards (Clarksburg Appellation Vintners)
- Clarksburg Wine Company (Clarksburg Appellation Vintners)
- Draconis (Greater Sacramento River Delta)
- Due Vigne di Famiglia (Greater Sacramento River Delta)
- Ehrhardt Estates Winery (Greater Sacramento River Delta)
- Rendez-Vous Winery (North Delta Wine Tasting)
- River Grove Winery (North Delta Wine Tasting)
- Three Wine Company (Greater Sacramento River Delta)
- Todd Taylor Wines (Greater Sacramento River Delta)
- Twisted Rivers Wines (Clarksburg Appellation Vintners, Wine Tasting Venue )
- Miners Leap Winery (Clarksburg Appellation Vintners)
- Tierra Del Rio Vineyards (Clarksburg Appellation Vintners)
- Dancing Coyote Wines (Clarksburg Appellation Vintners, Wine Tasting Venue)
- Six Hands Winery (Clarksburg Appellation Vintners)
- Watts Winery (Greater Sacramento River Delta)
- Benson Ferry Winery (Greater Sacramento River Delta)
- Elevation Ten Winery (Clarksburg Appellation Vintners)
- Julietta Wine Tasting (Wine Tasting Venue)
- Husick’s BBQ Proper & Taphouse (Wine Tasting Venue)
- E2 Family Winery (Greater Sacramento River Delta)
- Todd Taylor Winery (Wine Tasting Venue)
- Muddy Boot (Clarksburg Appellation Vintners, Wine Tasting Venue)
- Sutter Home (Greater Sacramento River Delta)
- River Road Vintners & Brewery Exchange/Antique Shop (Greater Sacramento River Delta)
- River Grove Winery (Clarksburg Appellation Vintners)
XII. AGRI-TOURISM LOCATIONS (EXCLUDING WINERIES) IN THE NORTH DELTA
The Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta was California’s first Agricultural Region. By the mid-1800’s the Sacramento River Delta was a bustling region with steamboats transporting pears, asparagus, and other crops from Sacramento to San Francisco. While “Forty-Niners” passed through on their way to strike gold in the Sierra foothills, other settlers began to farm the rich soils in the Delta to provide food for the California and eastern markets. In 1861, the California Legislature authorized the Reclamation District Act, providing levee construction to make the land more suitable for farming.
By 1930 the swampland had been levied and was being farmed more extensively. The rich soil and the flat terrain coupled with year-round availability of fresh water, made irrigating and growing crops in the Delta cheaper and simpler than other fertile regions of California. This created the Delta region, the first developed agricultural region in California. Since 1944, one important protection for farmland has been the release of water from dams during low-flow periods to protect farmlands from salt intrusion and protect the ecology of the Delta. Today Delta farmers value and protect the fragile ecosystem by implementing efficient water management to preserve the state’s most productive farming region.
Over 80% of the Delta’s total land area (553,687 acres) is in agriculture, of which 75% is classified as Prime Farmland. By comparison, only 18% of the state’s agricultural land is classified as PrimeFarmland. Some vineyards and pear orchards in the Delta date back to the early 1800s. Steamboat Acres in Courtland dates back to 1848 and is still being farmed by the original Neuharth family. Grapes grown in the Clarksburg Appellation in the North Delta find their way to highly touted vintners. Wines made here in the Delta region are recognized worldwide for their award winning quality.
The Delta Farm and Winery Trail and Sacramento River Delta Grown farms and wineries are nestled among the trees and along the winding rivers and sloughs in the heart of the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta. The Delta Farm and Winery Trail Map reminds tourists and visitors to visit the quaint historic towns, shop at rustic farm stands and to pick their own fresh fruit and vegetables. Visitors are also reminded to watch for the slow-moving tractors and large trucks hauling agricultural produce which are common on the Delta roads. Visitors are encouraged to taste Delta wines, picnic by the river, and enjoy the peaceful pace among generational family farms.
The Delta Farm and Winery Trail and Sacramento River Delta Grown Map includes and connects the 9 Legacy Town areas to Sacramento’s Farm to Fork Initiative raising awareness about the Sacramento Region’s local food production. Members include.:
- Steamboat Acres (Courtland)
- Double M Farms/McDowell Hunting Preserve (Walnut Grove)
- Wallace Chan Farms Inc. (Courtland)
- David J. Elliot & Son/Stillwater Orchards (Courtland)
- Greene & Hemley Inc. (Hood)
- Delta Islands Organic Farm (Walnut Grove)
- John McCormack Co. (Rio Vista)
- Kelley Farms (Hood)
- Maggi’s Farm (Hood and Courtland)
- Vierra Farms (West Sacramento)
- Backyard Basics and Personal Chef (Clarksburg)
- Delta Farmers Market (Isleton)
- River Pear Orchards (Walnut Grove)
XIII. ART GALLERIES IN THE NORTH DELTA
The Art Galleries of the North Delta feature art and photography that reflect the special beauty and spirit of the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta. Most of these galleries are filled by local artists who display their work for tourists and locals to purchase. Some galleries also feature art that depicts the history of the Delta Region with its vast array of cultural diversity.
- Schumacher Ceramics Art Gallery
- Husick’s BBQ Proper & Taphouse
- The Shack Art Gallery
- The River Road Art Gallery
- Moon Cafe Art Gallery
- Ning Hou Fine Art Gallery
- The Tong Fine Art Gallery
- Walnut Grove Iron Works
- Marty Stanley/Lost in the Delta Gallery
XIV. DELTA SCENIC LOOP
The Delta Scenic Loop adds a richness and flavor to the region because it is at the confluence of two rivers and a major slough; the Mokolumne River, the San Joaquin River, and the Georgiana Slough. Generally the marinas service larger boats here; and there are more than ten marinas in the ten mile Loop, the roads are closer to the water, and the houses are built higher on stilts. Water and boating recreation is at its peak as many vacationers and recreationists come from the San Francisco Bay Area and the Sacramento Region. There are also many opportunities for overnight camping and enjoyment of nature with its abundant wildlife.
- Perry’s Boat Harbor
- B & W Resort Marina
- Delta Shores Resort & Marina
- Lighthouse Marina & Resort
- Willow Berm Marina
- Riverboat Marina/Delta Boat Works
- M & M Marina
- Korth’s Pirates Lair Marina
- Andreas Cove Marina
- Spindrift Marina & Mobile Home Park
- Sacramento Delta Bay Marina
- River’s Edge Marina & Resort
- Owl Harbor Marina
Recreation Rentals and Sales
- Kokopelli Kayak Rentals
- Delta Yacht Sales
- Delta Boat Storage
- Tower Park and Reliable Home Solutions
- Marty Stanley/Lost in the Delta Gallery
Lodging and Bed & Breakfast
- Delta River Getaway
- B & W Resort
- Tower Park
- Rancho Marinna Mobile Home Park & RV
- San Andreas Park
- Delta Shores
- Tower Park
Restaurants, Grocery, and Gifts/Shopping
- The Lighthouse Restaurant & Bar
- Korth’s Pirates Lair Café
- My Bar at the Harbor
- Spindrift Restaurant & General Store
- Korth’s Pirates Lair Gift Shop
- B & W Resort
On behalf of North Delta C.A.R.E.S. we urge you to refuse the BDCP, all of its alternatives, and the twin tunnels plan.
Thank you for this opportunity to comment.
Kim Glazzard/Barbara Daly
North Delta C.A.R.E.S. Action Committee
Attachments will follow in mail, including:
Other Referenced Material
ACHP Advisory Council on Historic Preservation
BDCP Bay Delta Conservation Plan
CEQA California Environmental Quality Act
Delta Sacramento – San Joaquin River Delta Estuary
DWR Department of Water Resources
EIR/S Enviromental Impact Report/Statement
FCVP Federal Central Valley Project
NEPA National Environmental Quality Act
NHPA National Historic Preservation Act