The Delta’s Sinking Islands

delta
Carlos Avila Gonzalez / The Chronicle

A fight over the management of a diked island in the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta is shining a light on a growing conundrum for California water managers, farmers and environmentalists over the best way to restore natural habitat on cropland created more than a century ago by draining marshes.

“Staten Island has problems that are quite common for the rest of the delta — it has subsidence,” said World Water Big Idea champion Jay Lund, who is also the director of the Center for Watershed Sciences at UC Davis. “I think down at the southern end, it’s 20 to 25 feet below (mean high tide), and there are other places in the delta that are similarly deep.

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