Magazine Features

Sandhill crane

Wildlife and Way of Life in the North Delta?

Californians ask a lot of the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta, where the state’s longest rivers meet and deliver snowmelt from the mountains. Water suppliers want to reconfigure the Delta’s plumbing via the ever-contentious Water Fix project, which Governor Gavin Newsom just sent back to the drawing board. State wildlife officials want to boost restoration in the region, and the 2019 Delta Conservation Framework outlines their latest plan. And people in the Delta want to live and farm there as they have for generations. There may not be a way to give everyone what they want from the Delta. But there are ways to restore ecosystems while preserving local communities. This is true even along State Route 160, which traverses the most populated and most intensively farmed part of the region. The highway follows the Sacramento River into the Delta, twisting...
Oakland green infrastructure vision.

Clock Ticking for Cities to Commit to Greening

Managing stormwater is a physics problem, and not a very glamorous one. In decades past, the main objective of managing stormwater was figuring out how fast it could be directed through the Bay Area’s built landscape via storm drains, culverts, and channels, and into the Bay. In decades future, however, the object will be to slow down the runoff, and sink it into greener, spongier surfaces sprinkled throughout our cities and counties, or to run it through more meandering, more natural channels and drainages. Such measures fall under the classification of green stormwater infrastructure. And building more green infrastructure isn’t just some kind of concept or vision. Instead, the region’s water quality regulators want to see more of it from local municipalities – enough to make it a requirement of another five-year federally-mandated permit to discharge stormwater. Green infrastructure can...

Super-Shore: A Multi-Habitat Experiment at Giant Marsh

Interview anyone of any stripe about the Giant Marsh living shorelines project and the same two words will be in every other sentence: high tide. Each construction step of this California Coastal Conservancy-led effort to build new native oyster reefs interspersed with eelgrass off the Contra Costa County shore must consider the timing of tides. High enough to float a barge or Boston whaler into the shallows, do a day’s work, and get back out again on the next cycle. Three feet at least of draft – the amount of boat below the surface which varies depending on its weight — and preferably not in the middle of the night. On April 18, as the contractor Triton Marine placed 180 1000-pound reef balls topped with clean Pacific oyster shell in the shallows off Point Pinole Regional Shoreline, the day time...
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Pearls in the ocean of information that our reporters didn’t want you to miss

Joaquin Esquivel is impatient with the narrative that has dominated California water policy for decades, especially when it comes to the Delta and the eternal tug-of-war between farms, cities and the environment.

“For so long in the water space you’ve had these false dichotomies where you are being told you have to choose one or the other,” says Esquivel, who Governor Gavin Newsom appointed Chair of the State Water Resources Control Board in February. “These narratives can fuel themselves, they take root in communities, but they don’t...

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ESTUARY News is the 25-year-old regional magazine of the San Francisco Estuary Partnership and its myriad partners around the Bay and Delta. Written by professional, independent journalists, it provides in-depth, silo-crossing coverage of the environmental, restoration, and climate adaptation issues of our time, and tells the stories behind the 2016 Estuary Blueprint.

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