By Joe Eaton

Development agreements were already in place for three parcels of land around Dutch Slough when John Cain first took a hike in this West Delta area in the spring of 1999. “It was clear as day to me that removing the levee would be a great way to restore freshwater wetlands at the mouth of Marsh Creek,” says Cain, who now works for American Rivers. Almost two decades later, earthmoving equipment is now preparing 1,178 acres for conversion to marsh habitat. Patricia Finfrock of the Department of Water Resources has managed the project through design, planning, and permitting. “It’s a biologist’s dream come true to actually do habitat restoration,” she says. Michelle Orr, a project designer with ESA Associates, says compared to other projects she’s worked on in San Francisco Bay, the Delta’s Dutch Slough will rely more on hands-on intervention than natural processes to build wetlands. The project – the largest to date in the Delta – is designed to test different approaches to restoration.

Read More

Big Restoration Experiment for the Delta’s Dutch Slough

By Joe Eaton

Development agreements were already in place for three parcels of land around Dutch Slough when John Cain first took a hike in this West Delta area in the spring of 1999. “It was clear as day to me that removing the levee would be a great way to restore freshwater wetlands at the mouth of Marsh Creek,” says Cain, who now works for American Rivers. Almost two decades later, earthmoving equipment is now preparing 1,178 acres for conversion to marsh habitat. Patricia Finfrock of the Department of Water Resources has managed the project through design, planning, and permitting. “It’s a biologist’s dream come true to actually do habitat restoration,” she says. Michelle Orr, a project designer with ESA Associates, says compared to other projects she’s worked on in San Francisco Bay, the Delta’s Dutch Slough will rely more on hands-on intervention than natural processes to build wetlands. The project – the largest to date in the Delta – is designed to test different approaches to restoration.

Read More
About the author

Joe Eaton writes about endangered and invasive species, climate and ecosystem science, environmental history, and water issues for ESTUARY. He is also "a semi-obsessive birder" whose pursuit of rarities has taken him to many of California's shores, wetlands, and sewage plants.

Related Posts

Of Mice and Marshes: Surveying Salties to Save Them

It’s five in the morning, and Don Edwards San Francisco Bay National Wildlife Refuge remains in the tight velvet grip of night. All is peaceful and quiet, despite the fact that the toll plaza of the Dumbarton Bridge is less than a quarter-mile away. By 5:15, car dome lights and...

California will spend big bucks on beavers to try to boost their numbers and reap some of the benefits—including slowing wildfire—these ecosystem engineers can provide.

After years of advocacy by beaver “believers,” the state has allocated funding for a beaver restoration program. The $1.67 million in license plate funds for fiscal year 2022-23 and $1.44 million the following year represents a new way of thinking about beaver management in California, says Kate Lundquist, of the...

Climate change is heating, salinizing, and expanding the San Francisco Estuary, a review of nearly 200 scientific studies concludes.

Sea level rise, changing snow and rainfall patterns, and warmer waters are some of the changes already observed in the Estuary and expected to continue through the rest of the century as greenhouse gas concentrations rise. Changes to water are at the heart of the documented and further expected impacts;...