Abutting the Eastern border of the Benicia Business Park, the Suisun Marsh is visible to all who drive north on Highway 680. Most of us take it for granted—it’s just there. But what is the marsh, and why is it important?
Named after the Suisunes, a Native American Patwin sub-tribe, you might be surprised to learn that the Suisun Marsh is the largest contiguous brackish water marsh remaining on the west coast of North America. (For more on the Patwins, visit the Benicia Historical Museum.) Formed by the confluence of the San Joaquin and Sacramento Rivers between Fairfield and Martinez, its 116,000 acres are comprised of tidal wetlands, seasonal non-tidal wetlands, upland grasslands, bays and sloughs.
The Marsh encompasses more than ten percent of California’s remaining natural wetlands and plays a critical role in the San Francisco Bay-Delta Estuary Ecosystem. It supports 80% of the state’s commercial salmon fishery by providing important tidal rearing areas for juvenile fish.
It’s home to Elk, River Otters, thousands of migrating waterfowl and many species of fish. It’s also home to Rush Ranch, a marsh preserve within Suisun Marsh, acquired by Solano Land Trust for the purposes of wildlife habitat protection and public access. Besides bird-watching and wildlife viewing, recreational activities include boat cruises, hiking, kayaking, canoeing, duck hunting and the Suisun Wildlife Center.
For more information about the Suisun Marsh, visit www.water.ca.gov/suisun.
Facts> Suisun Marsh provides essential habitats for:
- 221 bird species
- 45 animal species
- 16 different reptilian and amphibian species
- more than 40 species of fish
- 230 miles of Marsh levees provide protection of the drinking water for 22 million people by preventing salt-water intrusion into the Delta.