The Science of Sustainability

California's Deadlocked Delta

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The Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta provides water for two-thirds of California’s residents, millions of acres of farmland and cities that power the state’s economy. It has also been ground zero for the state’s most contentious water battles for more than half a century. Now, as the state takes on an ambitious multi-billion dollar planning process to fix the Delta, KQED looks at the obstacles ahead and the innovative ideas that could break the water deadlock.

Controversial California Water Plan Takes Shape

Controversial California Water Plan Takes Shape

The latest draft fails to mollify opponents to a $23 billion-dollar plan for California’s trickiest water problem: the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta.

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California's Deadlocked Delta: Is Carbon Farming the Future?

California's Deadlocked Delta: Is Carbon Farming the Future?

California’s Delta has a rich agricultural legacy, but farming there can be a risky business. Dozens of farms have been flooded over the past half century as aging levees have collapsed. Now, scientists are encouraging farmers to switch to a new crop. Instead of growing vegetables, they’d grow something that has all but disappeared in the Delta: wetlands.

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California's Deadlocked Delta: Interactive Map

California's Deadlocked Delta: Interactive Map

What did the Delta look like 200 years ago? See an interactive map of the historical habitat and present day landscape, as well as the old photos, maps and journals used by historical ecologists to answer that question.

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California's Deadlocked Delta: Can We Bring Back What We've Lost?

California's Deadlocked Delta: Can We Bring Back What We've Lost?

California's Delta is a far cry from what it once was. About 97% of its historic marshes have been lost and scientists aren’t quite sure what the Delta once looked like. Now, a Bay Area group is working to reconstruct it through ecological detective work.

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The Good and Not-So-Good News About California Salmon

The Good and Not-So-Good News About California Salmon

Given half a chance, salmon can not only survive, but thrive. Fortunately or unfortunately for them, they now depend on us for that chance.

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California's Deadlocked Delta: Can it Be Fixed?

California's Deadlocked Delta: Can it Be Fixed?

The Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta has been the subject of a decades-long water war, but most Californians have never heard of it. Why is it so important? And can the state ever break the water deadlock?

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Different Deltas: Q&A with Jason Peltier of Westlands Water District

Different Deltas: Q&A with Jason Peltier of Westlands Water District

QUEST Radio Reporter Lauren Sommer interviews Jason Peltier, Deputy General Manager of Westlands Water District, a 600,000 acre agricultural district on the west side of the San Joaquin valley.

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"Whiskey’s for Drinking, Water’s for Fighting About"

"Whiskey’s for Drinking, Water’s for Fighting About"

A stark symbol of our quest to bend nature to our will, the Delta remains the epicenter of an epic drama of seemingly insurmountable political battles and power struggles, pitting north against south; farmer against environmentalist.

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Different Deltas: Q&A with Barry Nelson of the Natural Resources Defense Council

Different Deltas: Q&A with Barry Nelson of the Natural Resources Defense Council

QUEST Radio Reporter Lauren Sommer interviews Barry Nelson, Senior Policy Analyst with the Natural Resources Defense Council about the pressures on the Delta ecosystem and the competing plans to manage them.

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What is California’s Delta?

What is California’s Delta?

If you’re like most Californians, you’ve probably never heard of the Delta or why it’s important to the state’s economy and wildlife. In three minutes, we’ll explain how the Delta is a key part of California’s water supply and why it’s been the focus of a decades-long water battle.

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