Keep the Delta Clean

Keep the Delta Clean. You play in it; you drink it, too!The Sacramento and San Joaquin Delta (Delta) system is the largest estuary on the United States Pacific Coast. The Delta is the physical hub of California’s two largest water distribution systems that supplying drinking water to two thirds of the State’s population, irrigation water for over 7 million acres of farmland and support many recreational activities. The most popular recreational activities in the Delta are boating, fishing, leisure cruising, skiing, swimming and bird watching.

Egret in the San Francisco Bay-San Joaquin Delta
Great Egret by Allan Warner

The Delta is home to a variety of wildlife including approximately 22 species of fish, 164 species of birds and 53 other wildlife species. The Pacific Flyaway also passes directly over the Delta providing critical habitat for migratory birds and other wildlife.

The population of the six counties adjoining the Delta (Alameda, Contra Costa, Sacramento, San Joaquin, Solano and Yolo) is expected to dramatically increase over the next few years. The Delta counties currently have approximately 170,400 registered boats. The number of boats recreating in the Delta is expected to increase with the expanding population.

To protect the Delta’s precious resources and accommodate its growing urban population, the Contra Costa County Public Works Department is partnering with the California Coastal Commission and the Division of Boating and Waterways to implement a Proposition 13 (State Water Resources Control Board) funded program. The program uses education and pollution prevention to preserve and protect drinking water quality, recreational activities and environmental health in the Delta.

The following is a brief outline of the main components of the program: 

Establish Pollution Prevention Infrastructure

Marine in the San Francisco Bay-San Joaquin Delta
Discovery Bay Yacht Harbor
 by Jennie Walcek and Dan Jordan

The Contra Costa County Watershed Program (CWP) is currently working with five pilot marinas (Sugar Barge, Discovery Bay Yacht Harbor, Lauritzen Yacht Harbor, Bethel Harbor and Lazy M) to establish pollution prevention policies and infrastructure such as sewage pump-outs, hazardous waste drop-off collection centers, pet-waste collection points, and refuse/recycling containers. The drop-off centers will accept used motor oil and filters, oil/fuel absorbent bilge pillows and pads, marine batteries, and empty oil bottles from boaters and the general public. 

Water Quality Monitoring

The CWP is conducting water quality monitoring to gather baseline data about water quality conditions related to hydrocarbons and pathogens.  The sampling is performed prior to, during, and then following major boating holidays.   

Recreational Boating and Environmental Services Map

The Delta Program staff conducted a Marina Operator Survey of 77 Delta marinas to gather information on marina operation, general characteristics, and publicly accessible environmental services.  The survey data was used to make a comprehensive Delta Recreational Boating and Environmental Services Map.  Click here to view the NEW Sacramento – San Joaquin Delta Boating Recreational Map [10.2 MB PDF]

See the Marinas and Environmental Services Chart from the Sacramento - San Joaquin Delta map. [Choose the version sorted by marina name or by location (city name).]

Public Outreach

Delta Program staff will work with volunteer Dockwalkers to distribute 10,000 free boater kits at various marinas, recreational club meetings and special events throughout the Delta during the 2005-06 boating seasons.  Boater kit recipients will be asked to fill out a Recreational Boater Survey to obtain information on boaters' knowledge of existing environmental services and how they currently dispose of trash and hazardous materials while boating and maintaining their boats.  The survey information will help to identify gaps in pollution prevention infrastructure and target priority educational messages to boaters. 

You Can Help Keep the Delta Clean

Become a volunteer Delta Dockwalker  to conduct boater-to-boater education and distribute boater kits. Contact the California Coastal Commission: (415) 904-6905 or, to register for a FREE training class in the Delta. Age range is 15 years an up. We document community service hours.

Participate in the California Clean Boating Network’s Delta Chapter. Contact Vivian Matuk: (415) 904-6905 or to learn more and to participate in future meetings.

Print out the program description
with more information about
the Keep the Delta Clean!
You play in it. You drink it too! Program,

please call (925) 313-2313
or email us at or


"Funding for this program is provided by a grant from the State Water Resources Control Board and the California Bay-Delta Authority"

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