SUISUN MARSH — A 500-acre section of the Grizzly Island Wildlife Area must make do with poor-quality water for wetlands that are home to waterfowl and other creatures.
The state Wildlife Conservation Board could help solve the water problem. During its Thursday meeting, it will consider spending $350,000 to improve the water delivery infrastructure for the Grizzly Island Crescent Unit.
Suisun Marsh is about 84,000 acres of tule-covered wetlands, winding slough and grassy hills protected by the state. Much of the marsh is owned by duck clubs, some of which date back to the late 1800s. The state Department of Fish and Game runs the Grizzly Island Wildlife Area about 10 miles south of Suisun City.
The marsh contains both tidal wetlands and managed wetlands. Managed wetlands are behind levees, with humans flooding and draining the land at certain times to grow vegetation.
Water used at the Crescent Unit comes from shallow Grizzly Bay. It is often much saltier and more turbid than water found in the rest of the marsh, a Wildlife Conservation Board report said. That water flows to the Crescent Unit through ditches that are also used by private landowners for both water and drainage. Sometimes, the ditch system must be drained for maintenance and repair.
“The net result of the situation is that DFG does not always have access to water and when it does the water is often of poor quality,” the report said.
New water control structures would allow higher-quality Tree Slough water to be brought to the Crescent Unit and beyond to private landowners. That would help the state create high-quality wildlife habitat, the report said.
The Wildlife Conservation Board has a long history of helping Suisun Marsh, the report said. It helped with the acquisition of 8,600 acres in 1949 to establish the Grizzly Island preserve.
Reach Barry Eberling at 427-6929 or [email protected] Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/beberlingdr.