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California's Natural Abundance

     The American West is a land of great diversity in people and natural resources.  A diverse collection of people settled in the West in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.  As they moved into cities, deserts, plains, rainforests, mountains, and valleys, they were part of a larger process in which people transformed the environment to meet their needs.  Some groups of people cut down trees in densely forested lands, some tried to make plants grow in areas that were extremely dry and arid, and others wanted to capture the fruit of the sea along the Pacific coastline.    

     California has such a diverse landscape with many natural resources.   Water, mountains, and valleys define the landscape of Northern California.  The mountain ranges in California provide good soil and mountain water to the Central Valley.  The snow from the Sierra Mountains collects into several rivers as it melts each spring finally converging into one channel leading to the Pacific through San Francisco Bay.  This vast water collection area is the Sacramento Delta.  Flowing along with rain and melting snow in mountain water is precious topsoil collected in little rivulets and streams from over 14,000 feet, pulled for miles down mountainsides into rivers, and eventually deposited within the delta during seasonal floods providing rich soil and replenishing the region.