Delta Sac - SJV Rice Evaluation I

Reducing Non-point DOC and Nitrogen Exports from Rice Fields in the Sacramento San Joaquin Delta, 2004 - 2006

Collaborating Organizations

Contra Costa Water District, Bachand & Associates, USGS, Hydrofocus Inc., UC Davis Department of Land Air Water Resources, Ducks Unlimited and San Joaquin County Cooperative Extension.

Funding Organization

Department of Water Resources and CALFED, Proposition 13

Project Summary

The Sacramento San Joaquin Delta is an important conduit with approximately 22 million Californians depending upon this water. The peat soils through much of the Delta have oxidized during nearly 100 years of farming resulting in great subsidence, sometimes nearly 30 feet below sea level. Thus, the subsidence resulted in large levees lining the Delta waterways to channel the water and prevent flooding to the islands. This configuration poses great risks to the supply and quality of drinking water for many Californians. Additionally, the Delta accommodates approximately 20% of the continental waterfowl population and as much as 60% of the Pacific Flyway population in the winter. Oxidized peat soils put their health at risk.

In 2004, Bachand & Associates teamed with several organizations in the first assessment of the feasibility of growing rice in the Delta. This project focused on better understanding the water quality impacts of rice as opposed to other farmed crops and recommending management practices to minimize the peat oxidation effects. Additionally, this project assessed the economics and ecological impacts of rice.

This project was managed by Contra Costa Water District. Bachand & Associates was the technical lead and led surface hydrologic studies. We recommended management practices to more effectively and efficiently manage surface water to rice fields. Finally, we collaborated closely with Ducks Unlimited and San Joaquin County Cooperative Extension in outreach efforts. Bachand & Associates was the lead author on the final report, which included specific recommendations on better management practices.

Publications and Final Reports

  1. Bachand & Associates, Hydrofocus, Inc., University of California, Davis, U.S. Geological Survey, Ducks Unlimited, & Contra Costa Water District. SWRCB Agreement No 03-165-555-0. 2006. Reducing Non-point DOC and Nitrogen Exports from Rice Fields: A Pilot Study and Quantitative Survey to Determine the Effects of Different Hydrologic Management Practices. Available on Aquatic Commons, Published: 2006.
  2. J. Gallucci, D. Mourad, P.A.M. Bachand, S.J. Deverel, J. Fleck, and W. Horwath. 2005. Reducing Non-Point Doc and N Exports with Rice in the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta. The ASA-CSSA-SSSA International Annual Meetings (November 6-10, 2005).