Notes from the Field: Damon Slough Wetlands Transfer Ceremony

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

Breaking News: Cargill Bay Fill Development Defeated!

We have reached a huge milestone today in our campaign to stop Cargill’s development in Redwood City. Cargill/DMB’s enormously controversial and misguided plan to build thousands of houses in San Francisco Bay is dead!

Yesterday afternoon, it was announced that the Redwood City City Council will consider a recommendation to terminate Cargill/DMB’s massive bay fill development, which has been languishing for over a year. Rather than wait until Monday night for the Council to officially deny their proposal, Cargill/DMB said they will withdraw it.

This victory is a tribute to relentless campaign efforts by Save The Bay, our 40,000 members and supporters in Redwood City and throughout the region, and our many allies who have stood with us for the past several years as we have fought to stop the filling of San Francisco Bay. Thank you!!

However this fight is still far from over.

Unfortunately, DMB stated they still plan to submit a revised version of this inappropriate and unprecedented bay fill project. As Save The Bay’s Executive Director David Lewis told the San Mateo Daily Journal yesterday, Cargill and DMB still “just don’t get it.”

Rather than continue spending tens of millions of dollars attempting to fill in our Bay, we encourage Cargill to seize this opportunity to instead donate or sell these ponds to the public for full restoration, and not to submit any further proposals to develop this key piece of San Francisco Bay.

Redwood City’s restorable salt ponds are a critically important piece of the Bay. Restoring the site would help us meet the scientifically established goal of 100,000 acres of healthy wetlands around San Francisco Bay – benefiting both people and wildlife.

While the fight is far from over, this is a victory that must be celebrated!

Please share this good news with your network and ask them to join you in signing the petition telling Cargill: Don’t Pave My Bay! We have momentum and we are winning the battle, but we still need all of your support to make sure that this key piece of the Bay is saved for good!

Save The Bay + GGAS = Birds and Plants

Birding with Golden Gate Audubon
Birding with Golden Gate Audubon

Save The Bay hosted a planting training day for the Golden Gate Audubon (GGAS) in exchange for a birding expedition at the Emeryville cresent.

As a trade off, GGAS led a birding trip for Save The Bay.  We saw White and Brown Pelicans, Coots, Grebes (Eared and Western), Canvasback, Surf Scooter, Ruddy Ducks, Egrets, Herons, Plovers, Shovelers, Cormorants, Avocets, Stilts, Willets, Dunlin, Sandpipers, Terns, Gulls and an amazing White tailed Kite.

Save The Bay demonstrated strategic techniques for the GGAS staff in teaching volunteers to plant natives. We also role played scenarios that are helpful in guiding volunteers.

This year, GGAS will be planting 750 native wetland plants along the Martin Luther King Jr. regional shoreline, all of which were grown at Save The Bay’s native plant nursery on site.

Save The Bay and Golden Gate Audubon are working together to enhance vital bird habitat at MLK Shoreline in Oakland. Both groups are working with other partners at other sites all over the Bay.

If you interested in getting  involved in birding trips or helping with Audubon’s Annual World Wide Christmas Bird Count, visit:

San Francisco: Ban the Bag, once and for all!

Tomorrow, all eleven San Francisco supervisors will vote on whether to approve amendments to the city’s single-use bag ordinance, proposed by Supervisor Ross Mirkarimi and co-sponsored by Supervisor David Campos.  The main changes will:

  • Expand the ban to apply to all retail establishments and restaurants
  • Establish a minimum ten cent charge for paper, compostable plastic, and reusable bags to encourage the public to bring their own bags — by bringing your own, you avoid the charge!

If these changes are adopted, the improved ordinance will keep thousands more plastic bags out of our waterways and the Bay.

Now, more than ever, Mayor Lee and the Board of Supervisors need to hear your support for these amendments.

Our creeks and the Bay do not distinguish between plastic bags from large retailers versus those coming from smaller businesses and restaurants – as long as plastic bags are being distributed in San Francisco, Bay wildlife and habitats will still be threatened by bag litter.

Tell Mayor Lee and the supervisors — get rid of plastic bags once and for all!

Our First Year at Faber

Lyngso bringing in the goods at Faber

Cubic yards of compost donated from Zanker: 220

Number of deliveries HRT staff made with dump truck donation from Lyngso (Redwood City to East Palo Alto): 55

Acreage covered: 1.5

Pounds of native seed spread: 40

Number of species in native seed mix: 27

Bails of straw used to cover seeds: 22

Number of volunteer programs to spread compost, seed and straw: 6

Seedlings to be installed: 2800

Number of times staff got trucks stuck on the levee and had to be pulled out: 3

Partners on project:  USFWS

People we could not have done this without- City of Palo Alto Rangers, Zanker, Lyngso

Want to come check it out for yourself? Volunteer today!