Topics » Environment   July 12, 2013

A Look Into a River's Past

Turning Marsh into Farmland

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On the BanksEarly MapsA Flourishing EcosystemTurning Marsh into FarmlandRow of RowboatsTurn of the Century AbodeA Lake DisappearsFamily with BasketsMan with a Tule HouseYokut Portrait, 1910Preparing AcornsSanta Rosa Rancheria Family

Turning Marsh into Farmland

Following the Gold Rush, the fertile Delta marshland was turned into farmland to feed a growing population. Rivers were leveed, wetlands drained, tidal sloughs dammed, riparian forests cut and flows altered, forever changing the landscape and ecosystem.

This photograph, taken between 1904 and 1907, shows workers from Middle River Navigation and Canal Co. standing on a dredge scoop in used to convert Delta marshland into agricultural land.

For more on this story, read Restoring the San Joaquin River and Recalling Its History.