Welcome to the Delta Stewardship Council

Welcome to the Delta Stewardship Council

The Delta Stewardship Council was created by legislation enacted in special session in November 2009 as an independent agency of the state effective Feb. 3, 2010.

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Delta Description

The Delta Ecosystem


Delta Council
Background Info

The Delta is the largest estuary on the West Coast of North America and one of its most unique ecosystems, where fresh water from mountain runoff meets saltwater of the San Francisco Bay and Pacific Ocean. The Delta is home to 55 fish species, 750 plant species, and other wildlife supported by 1,000 miles of waterways and habitat. The Delta ecosystem's many components are interdependent—change one, and the effects ripple through the system. Change multiple components, and the system can topple.

The Delta is formed by the confluence of the state's two largest rivers: the Sacramento flowing south from its headwaters near Mt. Shasta and the San Joaquin flowing north from its origins high in the southern Sierra Nevada. Joining the Sacramento and the San Joaquin are the Mokelumne and the Cosumnes rivers that comprise the Delta's watershed, draining nearly 50 percent of the state's runoff.

California's Water Hub

The Delta provides water to 25 million Californians – nearly two-thirds of the state's population. It irrigates over three million acres of farmland. Nearly half of the water in the Delta passes out through the San Francisco Bay to the ocean and is lost forever. Water deliveries from the Delta have been reduced significantly in recent years and will reach crisis levels if ecological and other systemic problems in the Delta are not addressed. This would create tremendous impacts on California's economy, agricultural industry and millions of residents throughout the state.

A Unique Place to Live, Work and Play

There no place in the world like the Delta – just ask any resident or first time visitor. Located just minutes from major urban areas, the Delta's 1,000 miles of meandering waterways provide opportunities for fishing, boating, waterskiing, picnicking, kayaking or just enjoying nature. Its unique small towns with historic buildings, residents with lineages that span generations, hundreds of family farms and marinas – both rustic and sophisticated – create a place like no other in the world.

Problems in the Delta

The California Delta is truly in a crisis situation that is growing more serious each day. Today the Delta ecosystem is in an ecological tailspin due to an extremely complex combination of natural and man-made conditions. These include years of drought, invasive species and impacts of urban growth. Furthering this crisis is the potential for major flooding due to levee failures, earthquakes and sea level rise, as well as increased pressure to expand urbanization within the region. This threatens water supply and water quality for the entire state of California with economic impacts estimated at several billion dollars.

Additionally, this crisis impacts the way of life for the region's residents and visitors. The situation requires short- and long-term solutions for restoring habitat, reducing land subsidence and carbon emissions, preventing the spread of invasive species and addressing declining fish populations.

The Delta is formed by the confluence of the state's two largest rivers: the Sacramento flowing south from its headwaters near Mt. Shasta and the San Joaquin flowing north from its origins high in the southern Sierra Nevada. Joining the Sacramento and the San Joaquin are the Mokelumne and the Cosumnes rivers that comprise the Delta's watershed, draining nearly 50 percent of the state's runoff.