The Reemergence of a Dynamic Landscape: A New Delta Ecology

Studio: Thesis           

Advisors: D. Turnbull, H. Eber and U. Grau

 

Located in the Sacramento – San Joaquin Delta, this proposal is an effort to rethink the inhabitation of a landscape in crisis. Beginning in the 1850’s this Delta was converted from fresh water tidal marshland into a series of islands constructed with levees around the perimeter, and drained in order to “reclaim” land for agricultural production. Due to various factors, this reclaimed farmland began to compact, contributing to the current condition; with the islands contained by the levees more than 20’ lower than their natural height.

 

This project proposes a return to the dynamic condition of the original landscape by systematically reimagining agricultural production, which allows for the inundation of the islands as needed. In doing so, the risk of levee failure and resulting property damage can be mitigated. This new landscape allows for the creation of new modes of connecting the region. By concentrating the inhabitation and commerce of these islands at the proposed infrastructural elements, the region can streamline the circulation of goods while also creating valuable public space that will serve as a place of recreation. In conclusion, the problems the region faces as a result of the dereliction of its natural ecology and the inefficiencies of its built infrastructure require a bold re-visioning of the regions ecology, commerce, and modes of transit.

End of Year Exhibition
End of Year Exhibition
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Book
Book
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Book
Book
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Book
Book
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California and its Watersheds
California and its Watersheds
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Site Timeline
Site Timeline
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USGS photo of land subsidence
USGS photo of land subsidence
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Alteration of Delta Landscape
Alteration of Delta Landscape

These sections show the change from a tidal marshland, to an artificial landscape of islands protected by man made levees. These islands have been dried out and due to the nature of soil have compacted, making them seem as if they are large bathtubs for agricultural production. This has created a precarious condition on the levees and has resulted in 166 levee failures since 1900.

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Franks Tract
Franks Tract

Franks Tract was flooded in the 1930's and never again reclaimed. The USGS has recently done research that shows that the soil has begun to recover, returning back to its original state.

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Franks Tract Sections
Franks Tract Sections

These sections show the growth of soil at the site of Franks Tract. The red indicates the new soil growth.

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Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta Region
Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta Region

This map shows the shipping routes that travel through the delta, the yellow, and the seasonal fluctuation of salt water intrusion.

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Two Solutions
Two Solutions

This drawing shows the two islands that were chosen to investigate this thesis project.

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