Delta and Dawn, also known as the Delta whales, are two humpback whales, a mother and her calf, who entered San Francisco Bay in early May 2007. They swam up the Sacramento River approximately 90 nautical miles (170 km) upstream from the Golden Gate, about 20 miles (32 km) further inland than Humphrey the Whale had gone two decades earlier. Under the Endangered Species Act, California state officials were required to rescue the animals. Their journey was thought to be the longest freshwater incursion by humpback whales.
Staff from the Marine Mammal Center, researchers, Coast Guard personnel, and volunteers tried several methods to coax Delta and Dawn back downriver.The Marine Mammal Center was appointed by the California Office of Emergency Services as the lead rescue agency. Officials played recordings of the sounds of other humpback whales feeding and socializing to lure them, and banged on submerged metal pipes and sprayed high-powered blasts of water to repel them, but it is not clear whether any of these were particularly effective. There was heightened concern for the whales' well-being this time, because both of them had sizable gash wounds, most likely made from boat keel or propeller strikes. Veterinarians from the Marine Mammal Center and WHOI administered antibiotics to the whales to help heal these deep open wounds, and they took samples of skin lesions incurred during the whales' extended time away from seawater to analyze them for possible freshwater bacterial infection. This was the first time antibiotics had been administered to free swimming whales in the wild.
On May 20, after languishing for six days in the Sacramento Deep Water Ship Channel, the whales finally started moving. They were spotted the next day about 20 miles (32 km) downstream, just upriver from Rio Vista, where they lingered for several days, seemingly hesitant to pass under the Rio Vista Bridge. On May 27 they were on the move again and were spotted the next day another 20 miles (32 km) downstream in the saltier waters of Suisun Bay, just 45 miles (72 km) or so from the ocean, but again their circling movements seemed to indicate a reluctance to pass beneath a bridge, actually a trio of bridges this time at Benicia. On May 29, however, they again moved quickly, passing under the Benicia Bridge in the morning and swimming through the Carquinez Strait and past yet another pair of bridges. By late afternoon they had continued through San Pablo Bay and were circling just beyond the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge near Tiburon. They were last spotted at sunset that night, within 10 miles (16 km) of the Golden Gate Bridge and the open ocean beyond.
A small controversy arose over what to call the whales as soon as they were spotted far enough upriver to warrant significant attention. Besides being called "the Wayward Whales," they were also dubbed "Momma" and "Baby", "Rio" and "Vista", and "Delta" and "Dawn" (for the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta and the 1970s song "Delta Dawn"). California's Lieutenant Governor, John Garamendi, was the one to bestow the last pair of names upon the whales.Their names were inspired by local media contests throughout the region.
The story of the wayward whales inspired Stefanie Cruz, a news anchor for Sacramento-based television station KOVR, to write a children's book based on the tale, 'Delta & Dawn: Mother and Baby Whales' Journey', which was released November 2007. The whales were also parodied by a cartoon.
Cetaceans are aquatic mammals constituting the infraorder Cetacea. Key characteristics are their fully aquatic lifestyle, streamlined body shape, often large size and exclusively carnivorous diet. They propel themselves through the water with powerful up-and-down movement of their tail which ends in a paddle-like fluke, using their flipper-shaped forelimbs to maneuver.
The Sacramento River is the principal river of Northern California in the United States and is the largest river in California. Rising in the Klamath Mountains, the river flows south for 400 miles (640 km) before reaching the Sacramento–San Joaquin River Delta and San Francisco Bay. The river drains about 26,500 square miles (69,000 km2) in 19 California counties, mostly within the fertile agricultural region bounded by the Coast Ranges and Sierra Nevada known as the Sacramento Valley, but also extending as far as the volcanic plateaus of Northeastern California. Historically, its watershed has reached as far north as south-central Oregon where the now, primarily, endorheic (closed) Goose Lake rarely experiences southerly outflow into the Pit River, the most northerly tributary of the Sacramento.
Solano County is a county located in the U.S. state of California. As of the 2010 census, the population was 413,344. The county seat is Fairfield.
Rio Vista is a city located in the eastern end of Solano County, California, in the Sacramento River Delta region of Northern California. The population was 7,360 at the 2010 census.
The humpback whale is a species of baleen whale. It is one of the larger rorqual species, with adults ranging in length from 12–16 m (39–52 ft) and weighing around 25–30 t. The humpback has a distinctive body shape, with long pectoral fins and a knobbly head. It is known for breaching and other distinctive surface behaviors, making it popular with whale watchers. Males produce a complex song lasting 10 to 20 minutes, which they repeat for hours at a time. All the males in a group will produce the same song, which is different each season. Its purpose is not clear, though it may help induce estrus in females.
Whale watching is the practice of observing whales and dolphins (cetaceans) in their natural habitat. Whale watching is mostly a recreational activity, but it can also serve scientific and/or educational purposes. A study prepared for International Fund for Animal Welfare in 2009 estimated that 13 million people went whale watching globally in 2008. Whale watching generates $2.1 billion per annum in tourism revenue worldwide, employing around 13,000 workers. The size and rapid growth of the industry has led to complex and continuing debates with the whaling industry about the best use of whales as a natural resource.
The Carquinez Strait is a narrow tidal strait in Northern California. It is part of the tidal estuary of the Sacramento and the San Joaquin rivers as they drain into the San Francisco Bay. The strait is eight miles (13 km) long and connects Suisun Bay, which receives the waters of the combined rivers, with San Pablo Bay, a northern extension of the San Francisco Bay.
Benicia State Recreation Area is a state park unit of California, United States, protecting tidal wetland. It is located in the Solano County city of Benicia, 2 miles (3.2 km) west of downtown Benicia and borders Vallejo's Glen Cove neighborhood. The park covers 447 acres (181 ha) of marsh, grassy hillsides and rocky beaches along the narrowest portion of the Carquinez Strait. Southampton Creek and the tidal marsh front Southampton Bay, where the combined waters of the Sacramento and San Joaquin Rivers approach San Pablo Bay, the northern portion of San Francisco Bay.
Whale sounds are used by whales for different kinds of communication. The mechanisms used to produce sound vary from one family of cetaceans to another. Marine mammals, such as whales, dolphins, and porpoises, are much more dependent on sound for communication and sensation than are land mammals, because other senses are of limited effectiveness in water. Sight is less effective for marine mammals because of the particulate way in which the ocean scatters light. Smell is also limited, as molecules diffuse more slowly in water than in air, which makes smelling less effective. However, the speed of sound is roughly four times greater in water than in the atmosphere at sea level. As sea mammals are so dependent on hearing to communicate and feed, environmentalists and cetologists are concerned that they are being harmed by the increased ambient noise in the world's oceans caused by ships, sonar and marine seismic surveys.
Cetacean surfacing behaviour or breaching is a group of behaviours demonstrated by the Cetacea infraorder when they come to the water's surface to breathe. Time intervals between surfacing can vary depending on the species, surfacing style or the purpose of the dive; some species have been known to dive for up to 85 minutes at a time when hunting, and dives in excess of three hours have been observed in Cuvier's beaked whale under extreme circumstances.
The Benicia–Martinez Bridge refers to three parallel bridges which cross the Carquinez Strait just west of Suisun Bay; the spans link Benicia, California on the north side with Martinez, California on the south.
The Antioch Bridge is an automobile, bicycle, and pedestrian bridge in the western United States. Located in northern California, it crosses the San Joaquin River-Stockton Deepwater Shipping Channel, linking Antioch in Contra Costa County with Sherman Island in southern Sacramento County, near Rio Vista.
State Route 12 is a state highway in the U.S. state of California that travels in an east–west direction from State Route 116 in Sebastopol in Sonoma County to State Route 49 just north of San Andreas in Calaveras County. The route connects the Sonoma and Napa valleys with the Sacramento–San Joaquin River Delta and the Sierra Foothills. It is constructed to freeway standards from the Fulton Road/South Wright Road stoplight in Santa Rosa, to its partial interchange with Farmers Lane.
The River Thames whale, affectionately nicknamed Willy by Londoners, was a juvenile female northern bottlenose whale which was discovered swimming in the River Thames in central London on Friday 20 January 2006. According to the BBC, she was five metres (16 ft) long and weighed about twelve tonnes (24,400 lb). The whale appeared to have been lost, as her normal habitat would have been around the coasts of the far north of Scotland and Northern Ireland, and in the seas around the Arctic Ocean. It was the first time the species had been seen in the Thames since records began in 1913. She died from convulsions as she was being rescued shortly after 19:00 GMT on 21 January 2006.
The Marine Mammal Center (TMMC) is a private, non-profit U.S. organization that was established in 1975 for the purpose of rescuing, rehabilitating and releasing marine mammals who are injured, ill or abandoned. It was founded in Sausalito, California, by Lloyd Smalley, Pat Arrigoni and Paul Maxwell. Since 1975, TMMC has rescued over 23,000 marine mammals. It also serves as a center for environmental research and education regarding marine mammals, namely cetaceans, pinnipeds, otters and sirenians. Marine mammal abandonment refers to maternal separation; pups that have been separated from their mother before weaning. At the center, they receive specialized veterinary care: they are diagnosed, treated, rehabilitated and ideally, released back into the wild. Animals in need of assistance are usually identified by a member of the public who has contacted the center. These animals represent the following major species: California sea lions, northern elephant seals, Pacific harbor seals, northern fur seals and southern sea otters. On a few occasions, TMMC has taken in Guadalupe fur seals, Steller sea lions and bottlenose/Pacific white-sided dolphins. The only non-mammals that TMMC takes in are sea turtles.
Humphrey the Whale is a humpback whale which twice deviated from his Mexico to Alaska migration by entering San Francisco Bay. This behavior is unusual for a humpback whale, and Humphrey attracted wide media attention when entering the bay in both 1985 and 1990. Both of his bay incursions resulted in rescue by the Marine Mammal Center, based in Marin County, California, assisted by the United States Coast Guard and hundreds of other volunteers.
The Depoe Bay Whale Watching Center, also known as the Depoe Bay Ocean Wayside, is an Oregon State Parks-staffed visitor center in Depoe Bay, Oregon, U.S. to help visitors observe whale migration and provide information about whales and other marine mammals, including history, economics, and their environmental and ecological influences. The wayside provides a sheltered platform from which to view the ocean. First established as a wayside parking area on the Oregon Coast Highway in 1930, the wayside building was built in 1956 as a restroom facility for the popular spot. It is located just to the north of the Depoe Bay Bridge, also on the National Register.
This article lists the railroads and a timeline of railroad history in Solano County, California.
The Rio Vista Bridge is a continuous truss span with a vertical-lift bridge in the middle which carries California State Route 12 across the Sacramento River at Rio Vista, California. The present bridge was completed in 1960 and is one of several moveable bridges spanning rivers in the Sacramento–San Joaquin River Delta. It is named after Helen Madere, who served as vice-mayor of Rio Vista. As of 2013 the bridge carries approximately 21,000 cars per day.