The April 20-22, 2017 Annual Meeting and Field Tour was based out of Lodi, California, and focused on a wide variety of Sacramento Delta topics including unique soils, water, and habitat management.
We started the meeting off Friday morning with a series of talks providing a geographical orientation and historical and background information on the challenges of the Sacramento Delta Region.
Friday afternoon we visited the USDA NRCS Plant Materials Center (PMC), located on the Mokelumne River learning about PMC operations and cover crops with a focus on the NRCS Soil Health Initiative, and field soil health assessment factors. Comparisons were observed between conventional tillage practices and no-till (conservation) tillage and cover crop rotations. The Columbia (Fluvent) soil series was viewed.
On Earth Day, April 22nd, we visited Staten Island in the Delta, and talked with The Nature Conservancy managers, Dawit Zeleke and Morgan Johnson, who discussed the challenges of managing for wildlife habitat in relation to supporting that operation with agriculture, by legal mandate. This entails Sand Hill Crane habitat requirements, crop rotations, managing mineral and organic soils, sub-irrigation methodology, fertility management, herbicide management, levee maintenance and the regulatory balancing act. Truly fascinating. Oh, and then there are the Delta issues! It was a rare opportunity to view the ‘peat dirt’ and the ‘yellow dirt’ (as they call it) side-by-side. We toured the island and looked at the Rindge (Histosol) and Valdez (Fluvent) series.
Friday’s presentations included:
Steve Deverel, Ph.D., P.G., (HydroFocus, Inc.) “Overview of Processes Affecting Agricultural Sustainability on Subsided Delta Islands and Potential Solutions”
Roy J. Shlemon, Ph.D. (Roy J. Shlemon & Associates) “Pleistocene Channels in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta”
Kerry Arroues (NRCS, retired) and Phil Smith (NRCS MLRA Soil Survey Leader) “Soil Characterization in the Delta”
Dana Munn (General Manager at Shafter-Wasco Irrigation District) “Water Policies/Issues of California”
Yumiko Henneberry, Ph.D. (Senior Environmental Scientist at Delta Stewardship Council) “Mercury Research in the Delta”
A Guide Book was included in the registration fee.
We were able to provide four scholarships to university students to attend the meeting; they contributed greatly to many of the conversations!