The attention that Hurricane Katrina focussed on human-made changes to the Mississippi River Delta has triggered an echo in California. Under rising scrutiny is the vast San Joaquin-Sacramento Delta, a maze of artificial, often-tilled “islands” (actually below sea level) and dikes. Its waterways are managed mainly to provide fresh water to aqueducts. A new report by Univ. of California, Davis professors for a non-profit foundation says it is in terrible shape and can’t last as is (the Sacto Bee pic shows one big island, flooded after dikes gave way). The report seems to feed enviro hope for a partial restoration of the delta into a true estuary of mixed fresh and sea water.
SF Chronicle Glen Martin says the report calls for a “radical shift” from current policies; Sacramento Bee Matt Weiser says the report may identify a path to goals earlier thought to be incompatible — secure water and a natural delta; Los Angeles Times Bettina Boxall leads with chances for disaster if Delta management stays as it is; Contra Costa Times Mike Taugher leads with the report’s talk of a peripheral, delta-evading canal — an old idea that has had several, controversial incarnations; Associated Press Samantha Young;
Speaking of Katrina : New Orleans Times-Picayune Mark Schleifstein this week reports the latest revision to the state’s master plan for the Mississippi Delta and gulf coast. Plenty here on maintaining wildlife habitat, reducing flood risks in towns, boosting fisheries, etc.