The California Department of Water Resources (“DWR”) and Ecosystem Investment Partners (“EIP”), a Mitchell Chadwick LLP client, have entered into an innovative public-private partnership to launch the largest habitat restoration project in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta (the “Delta”). EIP, a private company investing in large-scale ecological restoration projects nationwide, will restore 3,400 acres of tidal wetland in Solano County to mitigate the impacts of the State Water Project (“SWP”) on endangered species such as the Delta smelt while also providing flood protection for the region.  DWR Project Website HERE.

As part of the Lookout Slough Tidal Habitat Restoration Project, EIP is building over 3 miles of new protective levees to allow for breaching of the existing degraded levee along the Yolo Bypass. Breaching of the levee will restore historical tidal influence to the site which is vital to sustaining and restoring populations of the Delta smelt. The project will also enhance the food web, spawning, and rearing habitat for other endangered native fish populations.

By integrating both habitat restoration and flood protection needs into a single large-scale project, the Lookout Slough Tidal Habitat Restoration Project provides a cost-effective solution for counterbalancing the environmental impacts of the SWP. DWR Director Karla Nemeth has hailed the Lookout Slough project as “a model for future multi-benefit projects delivered by a strong public-private partnership.”