Decker Island Tidal Habitat Restoration with Audio Description

Text, Decker Island tidal habitat restoration. A body of water with reed-like water plants in the background. Ripples move through the water surface. A terrain map appears. Near the lower left is San Francisco, and near the upper right is Sacramento. We zoom into the center of the map and Decker Island appears. Well this is Decker Island. This is part
of the Fish Restoration program where we’re restoring 8,000 acres of tidal
wetland habitat in the Delta and Suisun Marsh. – Dennis McEwan. – This is a very opportune location
in the delta for Delta Smelt in that it’s down near the interface between
freshwater and salt water and that’s where Delta Smelt like to be. This is one
of 13 projects that we have under the Fish Restoration program together with
California Department of Fish and Wildlife, and right now as you can see
it’s in construction. We are breaching the levees and allowing the tides back in. – Dan Riordan. – with this Decker Island project, DWR is going to restore approximately 140
acres of tidal habitat. We have four design features. We have a breach that
will be open to the tides all the time, and water is constantly moving on and off
passively with the tides. The second feature is a levee degrade. When the tide
comes up, water is going to overtop that levee and it’s going to flood the site.
The last two features are notches in two of the three berms that are on the site,
and by doing that we’re allowing water to hit we hope the entire site, and all
of that is to let water onto the site, produce food that Delta Smelt need, and
then move it off-site with the tides going out. We’re trying to make what is
already a wetland into a tidal wetland right now it’s ringed by levees, so it’s
not open to the tides. What we’re doing is we’re punching holes and the levees,
we’re allowing the tide to come in on a daily basis and flow in and out of the
site. What that does is it takes the productivity, the small creatures that
are growing and proliferating and reproducing in this site, and exports
them out into the Delta where they can be eaten by other fishes. So really these
tidal wetlands are the bread baskets of the Delta. This is where the basis of the
food web is created that gets exported out into the rest of the sloughs and the
other waterways where fish can eat it. This is a really important ecological
function in the Delta and it’s something that has been greatly diminished. It’s
estimated that 150 years ago there were 350,000 acres of tidal
wetland habitat in the Delta. Today, there’s about 10,000 acres, so that’s a
loss of 97%. When you take that into account and you look at all these fish
that are declining, not just Delta Smelt there’s a whole host of fish that are
declining in the Delta, that’s one of the reasons is they don’t have the food
anymore because these areas that they’re being produced have been greatly
diminished. So that’s why we’re focusing on tidal wetland habitat, that’s what
we’re trying to put back and when the Fish Restoration Program is finished we
will about double the amount of existing tidal wetland habitat in the Delta today – Text, California Eco Restore, a stronger delta ecosystem. A logo resembling the outline of a leaf. Produced by Department of Water Resources, California.

Glenn Chapman

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