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State Sen. Bill Dodd, D-Napa, has declared the last week of September as Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta Week in recognition of the rivers playing a critical role in the state’s economy and environment.

The proclaimed week will kick off Sunday and was established from Senate Concurrent Resolution 119.

Dodd said the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta Conservancy and Delta Protection Commission have both been vital in protecting the expanse formed by the Sacramento and San Joaquin rivers.

“The Delta is a cherished watershed and the very lifeblood of California’s water system,” Dodd said. “It is vital to our state as both a natural resource teeming with abundant wildlife and fish and a vital economic driver for tourism, recreation and Delta farmers. We must continue to protect it for future generations by preventing pollution and further marshland degradation and promoting its environmental health.”

The Delta is the hub of the state’s water supply system and supplies water to over 25 million people, according to Campbell Ingram, executive officer of the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta Conservancy.

A boat sits near a dock on a foggy morning in the Sacramento River on March 4, 2006. (Photo by Sharon Mollerus/Flickr)

“Those who have experienced the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta know what a special place it is and the large impact it has on the daily lives of all Californians,” Ingram said. “Delta Week showcases the Delta’s important role as the heart of California’s water system, the home to about 500,000 acres of productive agricultural land, and a world-class recreation and tourism destination.”

The rivers also support more than 750 species of plants and wildlife as well as over 55 species of fish, and host more than 12 million visitors a year.

“Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta Week will be an opportunity to highlight the Delta’s importance to all Californians,” said Bruce Blodgett, executive director of the Delta Protection Commission. “Valuing the needs of the Delta is fundamental to protecting California’s economy and environment. The commission looks forward to continuing to work with federal, state, and local agencies to protect, maintain, enhance, and enrich the overall quality of the Delta environment and economy.”

Victoria Franco is a reporter based in Stockton covering San Joaquin County for Bay City News Foundation and its nonprofit news site Local News Matters. She is a Report for America corps member.