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Why the Delta is key for SJ County

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POSTED January 5, 2014 6:11 p.m.

The San Joaquin-Sacramento Delta accounts for  25 percent of the land that sustains San Joaquin County’s No. 1 employer — agriculture.

Sat the same time farmland about 80 percent of the state depends on water that flows through the Delta of which 43 percent is within San Joaquin County boundaries.

The following are facts gleaned by the San Joaquin County Farm Bureau in regards to the Delta:

uToday, nearly two-thirds of the state’s population (approximately 25 million people) depend on water conveyed through the Delta for some portion of their water supply, as does more than 2 million acres of irrigated farmland that grow crops for in-state, national, and international distribution.

uMuch of California’s agriculture depends on water from the Delta watershed; one-sixth of all irrigated lands in the nation are in this watershed, including the southern San Joaquin Valley.

uRivers flowing into the Delta are the Sacramento, San Joaquin, Mokelumne, Cosumnes, and Calaveras rivers.

uIn 1992 California’s Delta Protection Act was passed. The act established the Delta Protection Commission, a state entity to plan for and guide the conservation and enhancement of natural resources, agriculture, and recreation in the Delta. The Act also defines a Primary Zone, which is the Commission’s geographic area of jurisdiction. The Primary Zone is largely the agricultural water and open space areas in the center of the Legal Delta. The Secondary Zone is an area outside the Primary Zone within the Legal Delta.

uMost of the Delta in the Primary Zone is below sea level, some areas as much as 25 feet below sea level.

The Bay-Delta is the West Coast’s largest estuary, with 57 major reclaimed islands and numerous unleveed channeled islands.

uOver half of the Delta’s 1,000 miles of levees are located in San Joaquin County.

uOf the five counties with Delta land, San Joaquin County has the largest portion of 43%. The other counties with Delta land are Sacramento, Solano, Yolo, and Contra Costa counties.

uThe San Joaquin County Delta has over 215,000 acres of farmland that produces a farm gate value of nearly $560 million.

uOver a third of San Joaquin County’s land mass is in the Delta and produces nearly 25% of the County’s $2.2 billion total agricultural value.

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