California Celebrates Two Tidal Habitat Restoration Projects to Benefit Delta Smelt

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Representatives from state, federal and local agencies open a joint event at the Suisun Swamp in Solano County to celebrate restoration work about to begin at Bradmoor Island and the completion of construction at Arnold Slough.
Credit: DWR

July 16, 2022 – SACRAMENTO, California – State, federal and local agencies came together this week to celebrate two tidal habitat restoration projects in Solano County that support the survival of delta smelt and other fish species as part of the long-term operation of the national water supply project.

Bradmoor Island and Arnold Slough, two neighboring projects in the Suisun Swamp, are designed to provide high-quality habitat and food sources for fish in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta. Today’s event celebrated the completion of the Arnold Slough project and the start of construction on Bradmoor Island.

“As drought and climate change continue to strain California’s natural systems, these native fisheries support projects become even more vital. We are thrilled that they are also adding new recreational opportunities for Californians to enjoy the beauty and bounty of the California Delta,” said DWR Director Karla Nemeth.

Construction at Arnold Slough was completed in the fall of 2021 and restored approximately 161 acres of managed wetlands to tidal wetlands. Construction work included the demolition of infrastructure, three dyke breaches, filling of ditches to the elevation of the marsh plain, and leveling of the outer dyke segments to allow for crossing at high tide. Work at Arnold Slough also predicts resilience to climate change by taking into account sea level rise.

Bradmoor Island is a larger project that will restore approximately 490 acres of managed wetlands to a tidal marsh while providing new recreational opportunities for the public. Before construction began, steps were taken to control invasive species to prepare the site for restoration. Construction on Bradmoor Island is due to start this month and includes the demolition of infrastructure and buildings, as well as the excavation of five seawall breaches to restore tidal flow to the site.

Bradmoor Island and Arnold Slough are two of many projects the state is implementing to support fish species and restore much-needed habitat in the delta as part of EcoRestore. Recently, DWR inaugurated the Fremont Weir Big Notch Project, which will restore 30,000 acres to the floodplain salmon farming habit in the Yolo Bypass. The following week saw the grand opening of Lookout Slough, which will create habitat and produce food for Delta Smelt and other fish species while creating new flooding capacity in the Yolo Bypass.

Beyond the benefits for fish, habitat and adaptation to climate change, there will also be recreational opportunities at the Bradmoor Island location. Once construction is complete, public access to the site will be increased through the creation of new waterways for fishing, boating, hunting, kayaking and other public uses.

The two projects also advance restoration efforts outlined in the Suisun Marsh Habitat Management, Preservation and Restoration Plan, which is a 30-year plan to balance the benefits of wetland restoration with tidal and managed wetland improvements to preserve the unique and important Suisun ecosystem. Marsh. Ongoing restoration work at the Bradmoor Island and Arnold Slough projects is contributing to the plan’s restoration goal of 5,000 to 7,000 acres.

The delta is the hub of California’s two largest surface water distribution projects, the State Water Project and the Federal Central Valley Project. The delta provides some drinking water for 27 million Californians and irrigation water for much of the state’s $50 billion agricultural industry. Covering more than 738,000 acres in five counties, the Delta is home to more than half a million residents.

Additional Resources:

For more information on the Bradmoor Island and Lookout Slough projects, visit:

https://water.ca.gov/Programs/Integrated-Science-and-Engineering/Restoration-Mitigation-Compliance/Suisun-Projects

Source: CA. DWR

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