Delta National Heritage Area Proposal

The 2009 Delta Reform Act charged the Commission with developing a proposal to protect, enhance, and sustain the unique cultural, historical, recreational, agricultural, and economic values of the Delta as an evolving place (Water Code section 85301). The proposal includes a plan to establish state and federal designation of the Delta as a place of special significance, which may include application for a federal designation of the Delta as a National Heritage Area (NHA). A NHA is a region designated by the United States Congress, where natural, cultural, historical, and recreational resources combine to form a cohesive, nationally-distinctive landscape arising from patterns of human activity shaped by geography.

NHAs tell nationally important stories, through both the physical features that remain and the traditions that have evolved within them. The Commission completed an NHA Feasibility Study, incorporating public involvement throughout its process via public meetings and presentations, stakeholder interviews, review memos, and study team meetings. Public involvement and partnerships are crucial to NHA planning and management; they reflect local stakeholder ownership of the NHA, as well as local capabilities to recognize, maintain, and enhance the heritage resources of the region.

Senator Dianne Feinstein and Congressman John Garamendi introduced legislation during the 111th Congress in September 2010 to designate a Delta NHA, with the Commission as the management entity. In June 2012, the National Park Service reviewed and found that the Commission’s Feasibility Study met the criteria for NHA designation, subject to Congressional approval. The legislation did not advance during the 111th (2009-2010), 112th (2011-2012), 113th (2013-2014), and 114th (2015-2016) Congress.

Heritage Area News

SENATOR FEINSTEIN AND CONGRESSMAN GARAMENDI INTRODUCE SACRAMENTO-SAN JOAQUIN DELTA NATIONAL HERITAGE AREA ESTABLISHMENT ACT IN BOTH CHAMBERS OF CONGRESS. On March 3, 2015, U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein and Congressman John Garamendi introduced identical bills in the Senate and House that would designate the Delta as California’s first National Heritage Area, to be managed by the Delta Protection Commission. The goal of the National Heritage Area is to conserve and protect the Delta’s communities, resources and history.

  • H.R. 1208 (Bill Language) (Press Release) – Introduced by Congressman John Garamendi with cosponsors Representatives Mark DeSaulnier, Doris Matsui, Jerry McNerney, and Mike Thompson.
  • S. 630 (Bill Language) (Press Release) – Introduced by Senator Dianne Feinstein with co-sponsor Senator Barbara Boxer.