Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta

Investing in Our Future
Promoting a Sustainable Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta 

The Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta is unlike any other place in California. Along with being the heart of the state’s water delivery system, the estuary is home to more than 35 endangered native plants and animals, dozens of historical communities and hundreds of thousands of acres of farmland. The fertile peat soil of its islands produces an estimated $965 million in agricultural crops annually and its ecosystem supports the commercial salmon industry on the West Coast. The Delta is simultaneously a crucial link in statewide water infrastructure, a vital yet fragile ecosystem, an engine of our economy and home to 500,000 people. It’s also a region that has witnessed major land-use and landscape changes over the past centuries.

The Delta was once a vast marshland covered with tules and teaming with wildlife. In the mid-1800s, settlers built levees to drain and reclaim the land and today about 95% of the original wetlands and floodplains are gone. In this highly altered environment, non-native species have thrived, over-running native species. Striped bass, Asian clams and many other invaders, large and small, are either eating the native populations or the foods on which they rely.

Recognizing the importance of stabilizing the Delta and securing our water future, Metropolitan purchased a number of Delta islands in 2016. To make our commitment to state and regional water resources more transparent, Metropolitan’s board officially adopted an updated Bay-Delta Policy Framework in October 2022. As a responsible landowner and conscientious neighbor invested in environmental stewardship, we have committed to science-based watershed management, multi-benefit environmental initiatives and community-based partnerships with local stakeholders on these islands and throughout the region.

Multi-Benefit Landscape Restoration and Farming on Webb Tract

A public meeting on July 10 introduced local interests and other stakeholders to two multi-benefit projects to improve Webb Tract, one of four islands in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta owned by Metropolitan Water District.

As part of a partnership with the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta Conservancy, the hybrid meeting at Big Break Community Center in Oakley focused on the Rice Conversion and Wetland Restoration projects planned for Webb Tract. The projects are funded by the Nature-based Solutions Grant Program administered by the Delta Conservancy. 


Metropolitan recently released a Request for Proposals to identify a farming partner to convert up to 1,500 acres of existing agricultural lands to rice and is in the design phase of a habitat restoration project that will restore up to 3,500 acres to wetland. More information about the two grant-funded projects can be found here.

For more information about the project or to sign up for future updates regarding the project, please contact Malinda Stalvey at [email protected].


Metropolitan's Bay-Delta Policies & Objectives

A pictorial representation of Metropolitan's Bay-Delta Policies & Objectives, including Climate Resilience,  Water Supply Reliability,  Science-based Watershed Management, Regional Cooperation & Partnerships, and Cost-effective Investments.

Delta Islands

A Laboratory for Adaptation & Sustainability

The Delta faces many challenges, and Metropolitan is committed to finding workable, cooperative solutions. Metropolitan-owned lands in the Delta – Webb Tract, Bacon Island, Bouldin Island and Holland Tract – enable us to explore cooperative approaches to improve the declining ecosystem and promote water reliability. Consistent with our board-adopted Bay-Delta policy framework, we contribute to research and science-based watershed management that improves water quality and reliability, restores native habitat in support of protected and endangered species and promotes sustainable agricultural practices. We’re also studying climate change risks, managing peat soils to reduce carbon emissions and strengthening levees.

We are partnering with state and federal agencies, technical experts, academia and environmental organizations to develop and participate in the studies and projects highlighted below.

Delta Islands

Additional Bay-Delta Resources