Written by Robin Meadows, produced by Estuary News

Aerial view of Bacon Island in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta – USGS/Wikimedia Commons. Like other islands in the central Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, Bacon Island has subsided below sea level and is encircled by a levee to keep the water out. “All it takes is one bad spot in a levee to flood an island,” explains UCLA engineer Scott Brandenberg, lead on an ongoing study assessing risk in Delta levees. “This is a really hard problem to solve for sudden shocks like floods and earthquakes.” The Bay Area has seven significant faults, and an earthquake could potentially flood a number of islands at the same time. This would draw salty water into the Delta from the San Francisco Bay, contaminating the fresh water supply for two-thirds of Californians as well as millions of acres of farmland. (more)