As part of its ongoing commitment to restore Delta ecosystems and habitat, the California Department of Water Resources (DWR) recently took a significant step in launching a 3,000-acre multi-benefit tidal wetlands restoration project in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta.
At the end of 2018, DWR entered into a partnership with Ecosystem Investment Partners (EIP), a private company investing in large-scale ecological restoration projects nationwide, to establish the Lookout Slough Tidal Habitat Restoration Project.
Lookout Slough, located in the Cache Slough region at the lower end of the Yolo Bypass in Solano County, is a critical site for endangered Delta smelt as it is one of the few areas in the Delta that has favorable elevations for maintaining historical tidal habitats.
Once completed, Lookout Slough will be the Delta’s largest tidal habitat restoration project, twice as large as Dutch Slough.
The project will enhance food productivity, spawning and rearing habitat for threatened and endangered native fish populations.
The project will create new protective levees along the west and north edges of the property, to allow for breaching of the existing degraded levee along the Yolo Bypass.
Breaching the levee will restore historical tidal influence to the site, increasing seasonal floodplain rearing habitat for salmonids and providing food web and other benefits to Delta smelt.
Funding for this project will be provided through two separate sources based on project benefits. The habitat restoration objectives of the project will be funded by the State Water Project and the State Water Contractors, and Proposition 1 will fund the flood protection objectives for multi-benefit and systemwide flood improvements.