Just over five years ago an old parking lot was turned into a seasonal wetland. And now, that seasonal wetland restoration project was turned over from the Port of Oakland to East Bay Regional Park District. At Martin Luther King Jr. Shoreline in Oakland, across the Bay Trail pathway along Damon Slough, over 8 acres of seasonal wetland habitat and 500 feet of Bay Trail were added to the park districts jurisdiction.
On July 23rd, the Port of Oakland hosted a ceremony to acknowledge all those involved in working on the project, including East Bay Regional Parks District staff members, Golden Gate Audubon Society, Bay Conservation and Development Commission, US Army Corps of Engineers, URS Corporation, City of Oakland, Regional Water Quality Control Board, Federal Aviation Administration and Save The Bay.
This newly restored wetland is a wonderful fresh water storage pond during the winter, bringing in many types of ducks foraging and resting on their migration. It is a unique attraction to have a freshwater “pond” adjacent to a brackish water slough backed up next to the Bay. The soils are saline because it was bay dredge that filled the site year ago, but the intentional design of the restoration allows for fresh water to pond in the area and dilutes the salts in the soils. As the ponded area dries out in the spring the vegetation species change, as do the wildlife species using this wetland. In winter we see American Wigeons, Northern Shovelers, Northern pintails, Mallards, Ruddy Ducks and Scaup wading in the deeper waters. As the water level drops we see more Avocets, Dowitchers, Godwits, and Black Neck Stilts.
– Laura Wainer, Senior Scientist