Delta is National Heritage Area

This is wonderful news from 7 x 7 , but the American River Watershed, which birthed the California Gold Rush, is a much more valuable historic area, also deserves this designation as we proposed in our 2007 Report online at (pp. 30-35)

An excerpt from 7 x 7:

The federal government has officially designated its first National Heritage Area in California, and it’s one of the most under-appreciated but important natural regions in the state: the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta.

The Central Valley region used to be a vast wetland. It’s been partly drained for agriculture, and now the wider region grows most of the United States’ fruits, nuts, and vegetables. Thousands of miles of waterways criss-cross the delta’s many islands and marshes.

The new national designation is meant to support culturally important “lived-in landscapes” with community-based heritage conservation and economic development. It means the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta will receive $10 million in federal grant funding for historical, cultural, and natural preservation. That bolsters a campaign by local businesses and governments to promote tourism in the region. The designation from the National Park Service encourages people from the nearby urban centers of the Bay Area and Sacramento to enjoy the region’s cultural and agricultural heritage and its many waterways and islands.

First, the news. This spring, President Donald Trump signed a large public lands and conservation bill that included the new designations for the Delta and several other areas across the country.

What is a National Heritage Area?

The National Park Service provides an advisory role to National Heritage Areas, but NHAs are not protected or managed by the federal government. That means this designation does not affect property rights, water rights, or hunting and fishing rights. Rather, it opens the region to public-private partnerships, which will support community organizations and local and state governments seeking to preserve and empower a regional identity, culture, and economy.

The program began in 1984 under President Ronald Reagan and has grown to include at least 49 National Heritage Areas. Some of those are the Baltimore National Heritage Area in Maryland, the Mississippi Gulf Coast National Heritage Area, and the National Coal Heritage Area in West Virginia.

How did the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta become a National Heritage Area?

Congressman John Garamendi (D-Davis, Fairfield, Yuba City), former deputy Secretary for the Interior under President Bill Clinton, had reintroduced the legislation to make the Delta a National Heritage Area with Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) in January. It was the ninth time they had tried to pass the bill.

Businesses and governments in the area have been working to build awareness of the region for tourism in a more concerted way for at least a decade.

“The National Heritage Area designation will provide crucial support for the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, which I have called home for over 40 years,” said Garamendi in a statement. “We must safeguard this iconic working landscape and the most productive watershed in the western United States, and I am pleased that my legislation has been signed into law to make that possible.”

The boundaries of the new National Heritage Area in California extend from Sacramento to Stockton to Vallejo.

Retrieved June 14, 2019 from https://www.7×

About David H Lukenbill

I am a native of Sacramento, as are my wife and daughter. I am a consultant to nonprofit organizations, and have a Bachelor of Science degree in Organizational Behavior and a Master of Public Administration degree, both from the University of San Francisco. We live along the American River with two cats and all the wild critters we can feed. I am the founding president of the American River Parkway Preservation Society and currently serve as the CFO and Senior Policy Director. I also volunteer as the President of The Lampstand Foundation, a nonprofit organization I founded in 2003.
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