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Farmland Mapping and Monitoring Program
1984 to 2008 TIME SERIES
Antioch-Brentwood, Contra Costa County

Urbanization in the Antioch-Brentwood area, 1984-2008. 

In this Image

Changes in this area include conversions from irrigated farmland (green) and pasture land (yellow) to urban (red) and low density rural development (gray). In addition, land is moving from higher-valued irrigated uses to pasture in some parts of the image. Information on these changes was gathered from air photos, local comments, and field reconnaissance.

The area shown on this graphic (about 9 miles in each direction) had a net loss of irrigated farmland of over 11,000 acres between 1984 and 2008, and a net gain of nearly 13,000 acres in Urban over the same period.

A brief history of the Antioch-Brentwood area

Contra Costa County was incorporated in 1850 as one of the original 27 counties of the State. Located on the eastern side of the county, Brentwood became the largest shipping point for wheat and barley between San Francisco and New Orleans by 1890. In 1913, a half-million dollar irrigation system was installed by Balfour Guthrie Investment Company, to support orchards of apricots, peaches, and cherries. In recent decades, population growth has accelerated--Brentwood's population grew from 4,434 in 1980 to 50,584 in 2008 (1,040%).

Antioch was founded in 1849 as 'Smith's Landing' and was renamed for the biblical Syrian city in 1851. With easy access to the Golden Gate through Suisun and San Pablo Bays, it became the home of many chemical and paper manufacturing facilities, including Dow Chemical, Dupont and Gaylord Container. It increased in population by 130% from 1980 to 2008 (from about 43,500 to 99,994) as development proceeded east along State Highway 4.

This image covers the northeastern part of Contra Costa County and the majority of its irrigated agricuture.  Agriculture still plays a major role in the county’s economy, with gross receipts of more than $71 million in 2008.  Vegetable crops and cattle are the leading commodities.  An agricultural land trust was established in the area in 2002 to support long term conservation of this agricultural heritage.