The images and information in "The California Delta" offer a close-up snapshot of Delta life, beginning with the paddle-wheelers of the l800s all the way up to the present day.
Jensen's collection of photographs and literary perspective comes largely from the archives of the late Hal "Mr. Delta" Schell, who was originally commissioned by Arcadia Publishing to pen the book, but passed away before its completion.
In taking over the project, Jensen worked to bring to life both Schell's voice and passion for the Delta region, where he lived for over 40 years.
"This is essentially Hal's book, and it was my job to put together, edit and present it in the style that was so uniquely Hal Schell," said Jensen, who had never met Schell, but gained access to his writings and photos through his family. "It was a matter of getting into his head and understanding his creative process. Once I did that, it became a lot easier."
Taking the reader on a pictorial ride through the Delta's storied history, "The California Delta" is filled with original photographs and vintage imagery of the area's recreational, agricultural and industrial past.
Following the paddle-wheelers, the next big modernization in the Delta was the arrival of the railroads. With its development, those living in remote areas of the Delta could now travel, and crops could be shipped by rail. The explosion of the railroads also helped create the towns known as Brentwood, Byron and Tracy. Drawbridges and ferries also played a large role in the continued expansion and growth of the area.
On a lighter note, the Delta also became home to countless recreational fishermen and other water enthusiasts who today still seek out the area's waterways for skiing, wakeboarding, jet skiing and boating.
While nostalgic and entertaining, "The California Delta" also serves as a cautionary tale for the millions of Californians who rely on its watershed for drinking water, agriculture and industry.
"I think this is a particularly timely book, especially in light of the Mississippi Delta and the devastation that followed Hurricane Katrina," said Jensen, referring to the New Orleans region's failed levee systems. "Sustaining California and its Delta is imperative for the whole state in order to maintain what we call 'the California Lifestyle.' "
"The California Delta" is on sale now at area bookstores, independent retailers, online bookstores and through Arcadia Publishing. It can also be purchased at the following locations: Delta Marina; Rio Vista Lira's Supermarket; Rio Vista Escape to the Point Restaurant; Rio Vista-Delta Pharmacy; Rio Vista Riverboat Marine Center, Isleton; Bethel Market and Bethel Island Marine Emporium; A Fine Time for Tea, Brentwood; Country Tyme Gifts, Brentwood; Walgreens, Brentwood; Bird & Beckett Books, San Francisco; Antioch Ace Hardware; Holy Angels Books, Antioch; Berkshire Books, Concord; and Clayton Books. For more information, visit the Arcadia Web site, www.arcadiapublishing.com.