The San Joaquin-Sacramento River Delta is the cradle which nurtures the drinking water supply of more than 23 million Californians and much of the state’s farm land. But measurements show land on Sherman Island has sunk as much as 28 feet below sea level as the State’s population and demand for water have grown.
If that sounds like a serious problem, it is.
That’s why California Climate Investments is providing more than $10 million to improve the situation. The Cap-and-Trade money is being used to restore up to 1,700 acres of permanent wetland on Sherman Island. The effort should help that area stop sinking and actually start to come back, bit by bit.
“I have been in a unique position to witness the ongoing research that has been conducted on Twitchell and Sherman Islands over the last 20 years,” says Juan Mercado who watches over Sherman Island as President of the area’s reclamation district. “That research has shown how wetlands constructed on peat soils can not only stop sinking, but also begin to rise again.”
The California Department of Water Resources, University of California, Berkeley, US Department of Energy, and Ducks Unlimited are collaborating on this project. Restoring these wetlands will not only help stabilize an area that supplies millions of Californians with drinking water, it will also sequester as much as a half-million tons of carbon.
The restoration on Sherman Island will also improve flood protection, provide critical wildlife habitat, as well as provide recreational and economic opportunities for disadvantaged communities in south Sacramento County.