Matt Weiser | McClatchy Newspapers
last updated: May 01, 2012 02:08:55 PM
SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- ]
Chipps Island is packed with stories. The 1,000-acre tract in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta has been the stage for a variety of human scheming and struggling.
Legend has it the island once was owned by the Italian mafia, where a spat between mobsters resulted in one being run over by a bulldozer.
The island was also, until 1956, the terminus of a railroad that carried produce and people from Sacramento. A ferry then floated whole train cars across the Sacramento River to Pittsburg in an era before big bridges.
If John Sweeney has his way, the next story will look more like the first one, when Chipps was among hundreds of natural islands in the Delta and a vital nursery for fish.
Sweeney, managing partner of a duck-hunting club that owns most of the island, hopes to sell it in what may be the Delta's biggest modern land rush: a stampede to buy land for fish habitat.
State and federal water agencies face a number of hard deadlines over the next seven years to restore at least 16,000 acres of fish habitat.
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