This past week, Congressman Jerry McNerney (CA-09) and Congressman John Garamendi (CA-03), who represent large portions of the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, introduced H.R. 1738, which would establish the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta National Heritage Area. The legislation mirrors S. 731, introduced by California Senators Dianne Feinstein and Kamala Harris. S. 731 passed out of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee in March.
“The Delta is one of our nation’s greatest national resources. As the largest inland delta in the world, it provides fresh water to communities throughout California and has some of the most productive farming land in the state,” said Congressman McNerney. “It’s essential that we protect and preserve this fragile ecosystem. The Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta National Heritage Act is an important step to ensure that the Delta receives proper recognition for its lasting impact on California.”
Added Congressman Garamendi: “The Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta is the largest estuary on the West Coast of the Western hemisphere, and its culture, history and environment must be protected for future generations to enjoy. A Natural Heritage Area Designation will unlock federal dollars to protect the Delta’s sensitive ecology and cultural heritage.
A National Heritage Site designation would authorize $10 million in federal assistance over 15 years for implementing a locally developed management plan. The money would come in the form of matching grants to local governments and nonprofits for environmental, conservation, and economic development projects throughout the Delta. The establishment of a Natural Heritage Area would have no effect on water rights, property rights, or hunting and fishing rights within the designated area.