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 

5 Ways to Enjoy the Bay

 

Sailing on SF Bay
Photo by Rick Lewis.

Save The Bay’s restoration team and dedicated volunteers have been hard at work this summer making sure those pesky invasive plants are removed while watering the thousands of native plants that were installed during last winter. This Saturday July 20th, Save The Bay and REI are partnering for the 2nd annual Ring Around the Bay Day. Get outside with us and help restore the Bay. Sign up today!

We love working on the Bay, but we also love to play. I asked my Restoration Team what they have been up to this summer. Here are 5 fun ways to appreciate San Francisco Bay:

1. Boating. If you have been lucky enough come out to one of our Saturday public restoration events you have probably met Jon, known around the office as our “Inspector of Ingenious Innovation”. Jon works as the Restoration Project Specialist, but in between tending to his enormous garden or practicing his banjo he is learning to sail. He is well on his way to receiving his Junior Skipper certificate after long hours learning all the ins and outs of sailing on the Bay. “I grew up here and went to school at UC Berkeley, but I had never really experienced the Bay. Now I get to go out on the water and enjoy the bay up close and personal!” If you want to learn how to sail check out Cal Sailing Club.

Many of my co-workers that they have begun using the ferry more (especially during the BART strike) and they are even planning a trip to Angel Island. Many of the marshes that surround the Bay have canoe and kayak launches that can give you a unique opportunity to bird watch and explore the nooks and crannies of the salt marsh.

2. Mountain Biking. Seth is Save The Bay’s Restoration Program Manager and an avid outdoor enthusiast. When he is not running rivers as a guide in the Sierra foothills (which he explained was a part of the SF Bay’s watershed) he loves mountain biking around China Camp State Park. This park is a beautiful example of relict salt and brackish marsh with untouched upland transitional habitat.

3. Hiking. Check out the Bay Trail. It was not too long ago that the San Francisco Bay was in dire need of help. By the late 1950’s there were only about 4 miles of publicly accessible shoreline and unregulated pollution flowed freely into our water. With the help of people all across the Bay Area we have made the bay not just a body of water to drive over, but a place for every person to enjoy.

4. Rock climbing. When I asked Doug, our Nursery Manager and jack of almost all trades (he has yet to learn the rules to Jai Alai), how he has been enjoying his summer he told me about his urban rock climbing adventures. One of the best places to rock climb which puts the bay front and center is Indian Rock in Berkeley.

5. Kite flying. I was recently working at one of our many restoration sites and as the fog burned off I began to feel the summer heat. Invasive fennel is no joke! As I pick axed my way through another massive fennel plant I was beginning to feel the initial eagerness to take on such a formidable foe waning with every bead of sweat dripping off my head. But then, the cool bay breeze began to blow giving me a respite from the midday sun. I use that wonderful bay wind to my advantage when my friends and I go to Cesar Chavez Park in Berkeley to fly kites. I never realized how much fun it could be to be tugged around by the wind! There are many parks right on the bay that provide a perfect opportunity to fly a kite.

I hope you enjoy the Bay this summer. Come join us for a restoration event near you. What are your favorite ways to enjoy the Bay? Tell us in the comments below.