Delta Landscapes Project

NEW! view the interactive report ebook

Photo: "View of Island Land Before Reclamation" (Yardley Collection, courtesy of The Haggin Museum)

Management Tools for Landscape-Scale Restoration of Ecological Functions

The purpose of this project is to develop a set of tools facilitating landscape-scale restoration of the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta ecosystem. The project will use the historical perspective of the Delta as a basis to identify landscape scale patterns and characteristics that provided ecological functions (based on the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta Historical Ecology Investigation). The historical perspective will be compared to the present-day Delta to identify opportunities to restore ecological functions, not by replicating the historical Delta, but by recreating viable habitat mosaics with the vision of how they connect at the landscape scale. Conceptual models will be developed to help practitioners identify these landscape level opportunities along with assisting with the development of appropriate metrics to assess individual projects.

The project has four major components:

  1. Analyzing historical and contemporary Delta landscape spatial habitat patterns
  2. Comparing past and present ecological function within the Delta
  3. Developing landscape-scale conceptual models, restoration principles, and target metrics
  4. Visualizations and public participation


Principal Investigators

Robin Grossinger
Letitia Grenier

Landscape Interpretation Team

The project draws upon a strong multidisciplinary team including:
Stephanie Carlson (UC Berkeley)
Jim Cloern (U.S. Geological Survey)
Brian Collins (University of Washington)
Chris Enright (Delta Science Program)
Joseph Fleskes (U.S. Geological Survey)
Geoffrey Geupel (PRBO Conservation Science)
Todd Keeler-Wolf (California Department of Fish and Game)
William Lidicker (UC Berkeley)
Steve Lindley (NMFS)
Jeff Mount (UC Davis)
Peter Moyle (UC Davis)
Eric Sanderson (Wildlife Conservation Society)
Anke Mueller-Solger (Bay-Delta Interagency Ecological Program and Delta Science Program)
Dave Zezulak (California Department of Fish and Game)

Project Status

This project is scheduled for completion in 2015

Final products will include an interactive website with landscape visualizations, technical memos, and peer-reviewed publication.
report ebook

Project Downloads

Report (PDF) A Delta Transformed: Ecological Functions, Spatial Metrics, and Landscape Change in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta (59 Mb)
This report is also available in interactive ebook format

Poster (PDF) 2013 for the State of the Estuary Conference
A landscape ecology analysis of San Francisco Bay-Delta marsh then (1850) and now
(20.1 Mb)

Poster (PDF) 2012 for the Bay Delta Science Conference
Developing Tools for Landscape-Scale Restoration in the Delta (4.6 Mb)

Presentation (PDF) 2012 for the Bay Delta Science Conference
Historical Ecology and Landscape-Scale Restoration. Application to the McCormack-Williamson Tract
(110 Mb)

Report (PDF) 2013 for the Nature Conservancy
Landscape Patterns and Processes of the McCormack-Williamson Tract and Surrounding Area
(21.3 Mb)


Robin Grossinger