The Eel was once one of the largest salmon-producing rivers in the state, and much of the delta’s river system was deep enough to host hundred-ton shipping vessels carrying goods from San Francisco and beyond. A hundred and fifty years ago, the delta’s river system would drain naturally with the rains and tides. But in seeking to manipulate the land to improve agriculture, people altered the estuary, diking off natural tributaries and digging channels to direct drainage. Over the subsequent years, these altered channels began to fill with the steady flow of sediment washing off the highly erosive Wildcat Hills, impacting the tidal prism and, ironically, leading to frequent flooding of the region’s agricultural land.
Article by: Ryan Burns
Published by: Lost Coast Outpost
Published: September 19, 2014