Discover the Delta Foundation reaches next goal
In what could be considered the biggest thing to happen in the Delta since the construction of the Rio Vista Bridge, the Dutra Water Tower was raised once again to signify the heart of the Delta and the bright future the region embodies in an uncertain time.
Shortly before 4 p.m. Friday, the second part of the 132-foot tower was raised and welded into position by McPherson Crane and Rigging, thus creating a new landmark for all traveling through the Delta region by air, land or water.
After a six year vision, Ken Scheidegger’s dream came alive – with a single swoop, the tower has become the true beacon of the Delta; a symbol that kids and seniors alike will remember and notice for a lifetime. To see the tower from Rio Vista on the hill is quite a site.
“This is the most symbolic thing we could ever do for the Delta,” said Discover the Delta President and Founder Ken Scheidegger. “It’s going to be here for future generations to come.”
With the tumultuous political structure that is constantly in resident’s faces about the future of this region, Friday marked a milestone in the progress, history and survival of the largest estuary in the western Pacific hemisphere.
While the Delta’s story first began millions of years ago, its modern history has been a tumultuous one. Struggle, strife and sacrifice represent what this region is all about. The raising of the tower was awe inspiring, a symbolic metaphor of the current trend of life to move forward and merge the past with the present to create a new history.
“It’s been a long road to get here,” said Discover the Delta Executive Director Laura Lea-Gregory. “A lot of people have given this project a tremendous amount of support to make it possible. It’s wonderful to see this project coming to fruition.”
With over 300 in attendance, the Delta Farmer’s Market was packed with local dignitaries, business owners and Delta proponents to create an atmosphere that explains why the Delta is not dead and the new story has only just begun.
“I look forward to the opening of the Discover the Delta Foundation’s doors in 2013,” said Lea-Gregory.
The historic feat was accomplished by raising the two 55,000 gallon tanks after moving them from the top of the levee last November and being moved across the Sacramento River in November of 2010. This marks the end of a long journey, after the tower was taken down in 2009 and completely refurbished. Now, it will be used to store water to irrigate the orchards and agriculture taking place at the Discover the Delta Education Center.
“Being born and raised in Rio Vista, to be part of this historical event is special,” said Louie Lira, who donated countless hours of time to the project. “When the education center site is erected, it’s going to be great for the kids.”
The center is tentatively scheduled to be completed by June 1 of next year, and would provide the public with an educational history of the Delta that does not yet exist. While each individual town has its own history, it has never been lumped together in one main attraction that could really tell the true history of how the Delta’s 1,000 miles of waterways came to be in existence as we know it today.
“For the last 65 years I have traveled the fabulous Delta waterways,” said Discover the Delta Foundation Board Member and founder of the California Striped Bass Association, Jay Sorensen. “I can’t fully describe the love I have for this place.”
Sorensen was a major contributor to getting 32 state-of-the-art LED lights installed on the tower to light it up at night. The lights will stay on from dark until around 2 a.m. each night, and will barely burn any energy in the process. Sorensen is also a major contributor to getting the Aquarium of the Bay to donate tanks to the center in the future, and by creating a pond that will be in back of the newly erected tower to teach kids how to fish and about what local fish thrive in the Delta.
“This is a momentous occasion,” said Sacramento County Supervisor Don Nottoli. “I want to send a big thank you to all that are here today. Continue to stay informed and stay engaged for the Delta and what it means to all of us.”
The six year journey to make this a reality was not an easy one. Countless efforts by many through donations, support, word of mouth, volunteer work and an optimistic goal to see this special place achieve has made the current state of the foundation nearing its final goal of creating the education center.
“We’re excited about this new/old landmark, gracing the banks of the Sacramento River once again,” said Delta Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Bill Wells. “This is the beginning of great things yet to come.”
The wineries at the event were extensive, and included Heringer Estates, Bogle Vineyards, Six Hands Winery, Scotto Family Wines, Weibel Family Vineyards, Watts Winery and Dancing Coyote. For $15, patrons received a commemorative glass of the tower being raised and free tastings from each winery.
Scotto Family Wines, Lodi’s newest winery released its coffee/wine blend which was a resounding hit with tasters. Weibel Family Vineyards produces a sparkling peach wine that literally tastes and smells like peach.
Watts Winery’s Chardonnay was delicious, and Six Hands featured their new release of the 2011 Ranch Rose’, a dry wine produced from their Estate Syrah vineyard with full fruit flavors of strawberry and pomegranate.
“Being new to the Delta, the raising of the tower is an immense stepping stone to Rio Vista,” said Alondra Arellano of the Law Offices of Michael V. Nudelman at Tower Park. “I feel privileged to have been able to experience this with Deltans.”
J.B. Morais of Delta Islands Organic was present, and outlined the new tour map of the Sacramento River Delta Farm Trail. Currently, the trail includes 16 different farms, made up of vineyards, organic farms and everything else in-between.
Look for more information on the Delta Farm Trail in upcoming editions. Overall, it was a great event and it has paved the way for a new Delta to emerge while celebrating the history that has made it what it is today.
“This was established to learn what’s going on in the Delta,” said Discover the Delta volunteer and member John Udovich. “We have more volunteers now and it’s growing all the time. It’s being a part of the foundation.”
To learn more about the foundation, visit www.discoverthedelta.org or visit the Delta Farmer’s Market. There is a new winery featured every two weeks at the tasting room, featuring numerous Delta and Lodi Wine.