2004 was the year it seems the CalFed process was taken over by persons who wanted to make sure the science was written to validate the predetermined outcome, which is more water exports to other areas of the state without the limits imposed by the damages done to the areas drained of its fresh water flow. Metropolitan Water District seems to have led the charge, based on the documents and graphics that surfaced on the internet several years later. During the 2004 year MWD and DWR did a field study to verify the results of the Breechin research (not a misspelling) via Jones Tract flood studies. The Jones Tract levee breech led to $90 million in “emergency” federal funding for repairs, and passage of the CalFed Bill to move forward CalFed ROD projects, which were divided into NDIP or SDIP conveyance projects. Media began to ignore or revise the history of the Delta. CalTrans conducted planning for 2025 or 2030, creating a habitat connectivity map to influence future roadway improvements or removals. A good resource for lots of information is at http://deltarevision.com/2004_docs.htm but this page will focus on actions that affected us here on Ryer Island and Steamboat Slough.
When the Delta Cross Channel gates were closed without notice on June 1, 2004, houseboats that were gunkholing on Steamboat Slough were stuck at their locations because they could not go through the DCC gates to get back to the Mokelumne River location of the houseboat rental companies. Instead the houseboats had to take a much longer route, down Steamboat Slough, out onto the widest area of the Sacramento River, which is difficult navigation for large houseboats on windy days. After going under the Rio Vista bridge, the houseboats head towards Three Mile Slough and from there into the San Joaquin River to get back to the Mokelumne River berths. What should have been a 4 hour trip ended up being approximately 12 hours and a lot more gas use. The engineers log said that the DCC gates were closed due to the “Jones Tract Levee failure” on June 1. But the media and DWR said the levee failed due to a beaver hole on June 3rd. The date difference has never been explained. Instead DWR modified the DCC engineers report. Both versions are still online today. For those of us who like to boat all over the Delta, it was a lesson in how important for navigation it is to have the DCC and Three Mile Slough and Georgiana Slough all accessible during the busy boating recreation months.