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Suisun Bay: Wikis


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San Pablo Bay with Suisun Bay at upper right

Suisun Bay (pronounced "suh-soon", /səˈsuːn/) is a shallow tidal estuary located at 38°04′N 122°04′W / 38.07°N 122.07°W / 38.07; -122.07[1] in northern California, USA. It lies at the confluence of the Sacramento and San Joaquin Rivers, thus forming the entrance to the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta, an inverted river delta. Suisun Marsh is the tidal marsh land located to the north of the bay. It is the largest marsh in California.

The bay was named in 1811, after the Suisunes, a Native American tribe of the area. The word originates with the Patwin and is the namesake of Suisun City and the Suisun Valley.

Aerial photo of the Suisun Bay. Benicia to the left, Martinez to the right, and Fairfield/Suisun City to the north

On its western end, Suisun Bay is drained by the Carquinez Strait, which connects to San Pablo Bay, a northern extension of San Francisco Bay. In addition to the major bridges at the Carquinez Strait, it is spanned in its center by the Benicia-Martinez Bridge and at its eastern end by the State Route 160 crossing (also known as the Antioch Bridge) between Antioch and Oakley. It is especially famous for hosting the anchorage of the ghost or mothball fleet, a collection of U.S. Navy and merchant reserve ships, created in the period following World War II. Many of these ships were removed for sale as scrap metal during the 1990s, but over 80 ships still remain at anchor in the bay including the WWII battleship USS Iowa (BB-61).

USS Iowa and "Ghost Fleet" in Suisun Bay
Another view of the "Ghost Fleet".

This location also held at anchor the famous Glomar Explorer after its once secret but now famous attempt to recover a lost, sunken Soviet submarine. The Glomar Explorer has now been activated for other duties fitting its original "cover", which was deep ocean seabed mineral exploration and recovery.

The Central Pacific Railroad built a train ferry that operated between Benicia and Port Costa, California from 1879 to 1930. The ferry boats Solano and Contra Costa were removed from service when the nearby Martinez railroad bridge was completed in 1930. From 1913 until 1954 the Sacramento Northern Railway, an electrified interurban line, crossed Suisun Bay with the Ramon, a distillate-powered train ferry.

On April 28, 2004, a petroleum pipeline operated by Kinder Morgan Energy Partners ruptured, spilling an estimated 1,500 barrels (264m³) of diesel fuel into the bay.


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