Steamships continued to be the fastest and easiest form of travel between Sacramento and San Francisco by water. But the rail roads were also doing a great job of transporting people between the population hubs in the state. One of the problems for navigation is that the seasonal runoff from gold mining operations in the Sierras started to fill in the beds of the rivers. That meant there was no room for the seasonal rains to flow, so there were more floods of the islands in the Delta. State and federal authorities put a stop to ecologically damaging hydraulic mining for gold. And then the state came up with a major study and proposal for flood control and water conveyance. This was the Hall plan of 1886. It is very worthwhile to really study these maps.

To see pdfs of the maps below that you can enlarge, go here

By the 1880’s the names of the Islands in the North Delta were set, but lands in the Central Delta had not yet been reclaimed. Those lands off the San Joaquin River were made of tules with occasional willows or shrubs.