Raising the vulnerable levees protecting California’s Central Valley from Sacramento River floods is an expensive project; a small group of growers and conservation groups (including CalTrout and Trout Unlimited) are looking for a different way — to connect the Sacramento River to its ancient floodplains (from the SFGate site):
Five acres of mud and rice stubble doesn’t look much like fish habitat, but the rectangular patch of summertime cropland is in the process of being converted to a teeming marsh filled with young salmon.
The conversion to wetland of the rice paddy at Knaggs Ranch, north of Woodland next to the Yolo Bypass, is an experiment that conservationists hope will eventually lead to the restoration of ancient floodplains all along the Sacramento and San Joaquin River corridors.
The small piece of soon-to-be-flooded cropland is an attempt to combine agriculture with habitat restoration, flood prevention with the creation of more floodplain.
Projects like this promise better flood control, richer agricultural land, and healthier salmon runs, making them well worth studying.