hopes to utilize in the 2012-13 school year for Delta Shoreline Tours for elementary schools. This park will have the added
benefit of having a science lab in the new Big Break Visitor Center on the Delta building.
Big Break Visitor Center on the Delta grand opening celebration Saturday, Oct. 13, 2012
The East Bay Regional Park District has announced that they will host a grand opening of the Big Break Visitor Center on the Delta on Saturday,
Oct. 13. The event will take place from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. In the meantime the new facility is open Saturdays and Sundays 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. until the new year. Stop by and see the park and the new building.
When the Delta Science Center committee first started planning in 1995 the idea was wrapped around finding a location along the shoreline where visitors can experience the ecology of the Delta first-hand. Over the years many locations and partnerships were discussed. By the early 2000s the East Bay Regional Park District began working on a site that would allow the Delta Science Center committee a place to offer science related programs.
EB Parks added the Delta Science Center to a bond they were bringing to the voters. This was great news to the committee as their plans would have a home in Oakley (located in East Contra Costa County) right on the shoreline of Big Break. The bond measure passed and plans for building commenced. The location is now called Big Break Regional Shoreline Park.
The most important feature of the park is that it is located right on the water's edge. There are few places in Contra Costa County where people have the chance to explore the shorelines of the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta without a boat or access to one of the many islands.
The first project to be completed on the Big Break Regional Shoreline was a pier where people can walk out over the water, enjoy the view and even do a little fishing.
The next step took several years to complete but soon the Delta Discovery Area was built.
The Delta Discovery Area
The prime location for a lecture area features a podium that has room for an overhead display. There are also lights available so that evening events can take place at the site.
Another nice feature is a fire pit set up that can be used during the cool evenings on the Delta.
The area is covered to keep students cool and shielded from the hot sun.
During the summer it isn't uncommon to see a family enjoying the benches with a picnic lunch.
Other features include a shaded sitting area, restrooms and a kayak launch site.
Delta Regional Map
Perhaps the most exciting feature in the Delta Discovery Area is the map that has been embedded in the walkway.
Designed and built by Scientific Art Studio out of Richmond, California, the map features a 3-D Mount Diablo and all the waterways that run down the mountain through the flowing rivers of the Delta.
The map features locations of the local rivers that make up the Delta region as well as many of the islands within the area.
The map also features tiles with satellite pictures of the larger surrounding cities of the Delta region.
This is a big help when describing the features of the Delta to students who come to visit the park.
Big Break Visitor Center on the Delta
When the visitor center building is complete it will be 5,000 square feet where EB Parks will display Delta related information and house an area where students can conduct science activities, a meeting room and more. The hope is that the project will be completed in mid-to-late 2012.
Natural Environment at Big Break Regional Shoreline
From the EB Parks website:"Big Break is home to 70 species of birds and several species of mammals. Twenty-seven special-status wildlife species have the potential to occur within the parkland; six special-status wildlife species are known to occur. Nesting is confirmed or suspected for black rails, northern harriers, white-tailed kites, and yellow-breasted chats. Many wading birds, including great blue herons, great egrets, snowy egrets, green herons and white-faced ibis, forage in the tidal sloughs and freshwater marshes. These areas also provide habitat for Western pond turtles, a California Species of Special Concern. Big Break is suitable breeding habitat for turtles, and females can lay their eggs in the sandy banks and well-drained upland soils. The tidal sloughs, freshwater marsh, and riparian areas also provide valuable habitat for beavers, muskrats, and river otters, which forage and potentially den at Big Break."