THE CALIFORNIA DELTA
The California Delta is unique in the world – like no other place. Geographically, it covers approximately 738,000 acres in the form of 58 islands surrounded by over 1,000 miles of rivers and sloughs winding around these islands. It receives water runoff from over 40% of the State’s land area.
This maze of islands, rivers and sloughs is situated in the confluence of two large rivers, the Sacramento and San Joaquin, and several tributaries, including the Mokelume, Consumnes, Stanislaus, Tuolumne, and Merced rivers.
The Delta supports two inland ports (the Sacramento and Stockton deep water ports), a number of unique, small communities situated along the banks of its rivers, an intensive agricultural base, recreational interests, and essential habitat for resident and migrating fish and wildlife. Its water is pumped out of the Delta to irrigate millions of acres for central and south state farm lands and provide water essential to over 20 million people, two-thirds of the State’s population.
The California Delta Chamber writes of the Delta…
“There is a remoteness to the lightly populated inner Delta. The lifestyle here is decidedly laid back, a sort of Huck Finn kind of existence. Boating, fishing, and camping are a way of life.
Some of the historic river towns are little changed from the Gold Rush era when paddlewheel steamboats came piping their arrival with the steam-driven calliope. Drawbridges yawn open to let boating traffic pass, you cross some waterways on lumbering cable-drawn car ferries, the postman delivers mail by boat.
Although Sacramento and Stockton are at our doorsteps, and San Francisco, “Silicon Valley,” and the great valley city of Fresno are no more than a two-hours drive from the California Delta, word about the attributes of this great place has not been quick to spread. In a way, we river people appreciate that. It’s gratifying to be privy to knowledge of a cool place that is not widely known. On the other hand, we enjoy this place so much that we want to show it off to others.
For all its rural charm, the California Delta caters to visitors’ needs. It boasts over 100 marinas and waterside resorts, full-hookup RV parks and campgrounds. There are quaint waterside restaurants for dining, grocery stores for provisions, bait and tackle shops, and over 50 boat launching facilities. Public parks and bank-fishing sites are numerous.”