Guest Post | Restoring the Bay with REI

Eden Landing
Volunteers help restore tidal marsh at Eden Landing Ecological Reserve in Hayward.

We had another great Ring Around the Bay Day with REI on July 20. Thanks to Spindrift and Chipotle for providing the refreshments. REI’s Michael Beetham was out in the field with us and writes about the day below. Be sure to check out more photos on Facebook. 

REI, Save The Bay, and 77 volunteers partnered to help restore four sites around the San Francisco Bay shoreline last Saturday, July 20. Creekside Park in Greenbrae, MLK Shoreline in Oakland, Eden Landing Ecological Reserve in Hayward, and Palo Alto Baylands all received some much needed TLC. I had the pleasure to help plan and participate in this project from REI’s end. The following are some observations from the event, and a few thoughts about REI’s and Save The Bay’s partnership.

Progress from past work of Save The Bay staff and volunteers showed on Saturday. At MLK Shoreline, years of invasive plant removal have paid off. Impressively few invasive plants remain at the site. Saturday’s volunteers concentrated instead on other restoration tasks. They watered recently planted native vegetation and continued the never-ending task of clearing the shoreline of trash.

youth
Youth volunteer at Ring Around the Bay Day.

At Eden Landing, the stark juxtaposition of restored and unrestored habitat served as inspiration for the day’s work. One side of the service road leading through the salt ponds was replanted two years ago with native vegetation: it has blossomed into a verdant land and waterscape of Creeping Wild Rye, Pickle Plant, Marsh Gum Plant, and other native plants. The other side of the road has not been restored yet, and was filled with invasive annuals like mustard that have since died, leaving their brown and shriveled remains. As we prepared the on-site vernal pool for native planting, the vision before us of what our work would result in motivated us!

Many youth came out to volunteer: Eden Landing and MLK Shoreline were beneficiaries of some particularly enthusiastic students who were fulfilling service requirements at their local schools. One parent commented that this was her son’s favorite of many volunteer activities that he has done. She appreciated the connection between Saturday’s work and the vast task of protecting and restoring the bay. It hit home with her son.

Like Save The Bay, REI is committed to environmental stewardship; it’s part of REI’s mission! Our organizations enjoy a long standing partnership: Save The Bay has been a grant recipient from REI for several years running. This year Save The Bay received $30,000 to help increase shoreline recreation and access at the very sites where we worked on Saturday. We at REI are thrilled to help support an organization that continues to lead the region in caring for the San Francisco Bay. I hope that you will enjoy these open spaces, and come out to volunteer in the future.

— Michael Beetham, REI