Friday, March 28, 2014

Sutter Slough

Yesterday a small group of paddlers including myself set off to explore Sutter slough. Sutter slough lies in the heart of the Delta just west of Walnut Grove. The Department of Water Resources currently has plans to dam this slough, Steamboat slough and False River supposedly to keep out saltwater intrusion. The rock dams are supposed to be temporary but I fear they won't have money to remove them once installed. Installing these dams will have major impacts on local farms, local marinas, recreational boaters and possibly migrating fish. For more information about the dams and the proposed tunnels visit Restore the Delta or Save the California Delta Alliance.

I wanted to explore the waters surrounding Sutter Island and document what the area is like before the dams are installed. We launched just before noon under grey skies from a levee road on Sutter Island. High tide was predicted around 3:00 for Snug Harbor/Steamboat slough and the incoming tide produced a pretty swift current which helped us on our way north.

The water clarity in both Steamboat and Sutter slough is incredibly clear even after recent storms. This part of the Delta is one of my favorite locations not only because of the water clarity but because of the natural beauty surrounding the sloughs.  Various types of oak trees and eucalyptus line the shores of the levees. Many types of waterfowl and birds of prey inhabit this area. We spotted several hawks, an owl and many blue heron while on our journey.

After 15 miles of paddling around Sutter Island we explored part of Steamboat, Sutter, Miner and Elk sloughs with a couple miles on the Sacramento river. These waters are extraordinary and hopefully will not be destroyed when the dams are put in place.

Paintersville Bridge

Fabulous spot for lunch

Sutter Island orchard

If you would like to paddle this area you can book a custom tour with Delta Kayak Adventures.

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