Environmental agencies on the local, state and federal levels are commending the efforts of two tidal habitat restoration projects in Solano County.

The California Department of Water Resources is aiming to preserve smelt and other fish populations in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta by improving food sources and habitat conditions in the Suisun Marsh, specifically by restoring Bradmoor Island and Arnold Slough.

The 161-acre restoration project in Arnold Slough, located in eastern Suisun Marsh, was recently completed in the fall of 2021. Construction workers demolished structures on the property, built three levee breaches, filled ditches and graded down segments of levee to allow overtopping at high tides. The project was designed to adapt to rising water levels in the future due to climate change, according to state water officials.

Attendees walk next to the restored Arnold Slough on July 14, 2022, during the Department of Water Resources’ celebration marking completion of the project. (Photo by Kelly M. Grow/California Department of Water Resources via Bay City News)

And for Bradmoor Island, the 490-acre project has just begun. With construction set to begin this month, managed wetland will be turned both into tidal marsh and offer increased public access to recreational activities like fishing, boating, hunting and kayaking.

The agency also had to clear invasive species before kicking off construction work at Bradmoor Island. The work includes demolishing buildings and excavating five levee breaches to bring tidal flow back to the area.

The projects are part of a 30-year plan to prioritize both tidal wetland restoration and managed wetland enhancements in the marsh, called the Suisun Marsh Habitat Management, Preservation and Restoration Plan.

“As drought and climate change continue to stress California’s natural systems, these projects to support native fisheries become even more vital,” said Department of Water Resources Director Karla Nemeth in a statement. “We are excited that they also add new recreational opportunities for Californians to enjoy the beauty and bounty of the California Delta.”

More information on the Bradmoor Island and Arnold Slough projects can be found online.