For every bucolic Delta spot like The Meadows, there’s 10 times more with levees stripped bare. It’s as if the U.S,. Army Corps of Engineers can’t balance habitat concerns with flood-control policy, and as if — aesthetically speaking — all their taste is in their mouth.
Now Rep. Doris Matsui, D-Sacramento has introduced a bill to require the Corps to create regional policies to manage trees on levees. The Corps woudl no longer apply the same procrustean policy to all levees nationwide – strip ‘em bare — but find a greener way for the Delta.
This is welcome legislation. Stripping levees bare should be done only when is is proven essential to flood control. De-naturing the estuary derives from the conception of the Delta as a water switchyard and flood threat. It is that. But it is more. It is first and foremost a natural wonder and should be managed as such.