One of Sutter's main points was to show how, like most highly-engineered rivers, it doesn't connect directly to the ocean anymore and dries up (photo below). The drought that we're in has made this much worse, and the ground has subsided almost an inch in the last two months in some places as a result of water being pumped out. As enjoyable as his trip was to read about, he really only lightly touched on the fisherman&conservationists vs farmers controversy, or whether it actually is a conflict.
Top: looking back at the San Joaquin river at one of the places where it just peters out. Bottom: the riverbed where it's just plain gone. Both from JD Sutter.
Other interesting observations: Sutter mentions that when he finally arrived at he Delta, he felt like he'd been teleported to North Florida. Good description. If you live in SF, take a drive out there some summer weekend. The demographics change to white and some Latino only (i.e., NOT San Francisco) and recreation consists of fishing, waterskiing, and relaxing in marina bars, with warm breezes that make you actually want to go swimming. Sutter also landed on Red Rock just south of the Richmond Bridge, which I've always wanted to do.