At 9am Tuesday morning, Save The Bay’s staff gathered at the entrance of the Oro Loma Sanitary District, ready to get to work outside. It was a day past Fellows and I have anticipated as a fun disruption of our usual indoor routines, and anyone would agree that if Bay Savers aren’t channeling their focus, good humor and determination into computers at the office, they’re going to channel those qualities onto the field, especially with trowels.
Before diving in, the Habitat Restoration team guided us through the Oro Loma Horizontal Levee Project and its context of sea level rise and restoration efforts in San Francisco Bay. After our nursery manager Jessie’s brief tour of the nursery beds where she’s growing the 70,000 seedlings to be planted on the site, Habitat Restoration Director Donna provided a brief overview of the experimental levee and its innovative approach to sustainable bayshore infrastructure and improving water quality. In collaboration with UC Berkeley (include list of other partners here), Oro Loma Sanitary District will provide research that would demonstrate how this ecotone project would effectively interact with treated wastewater and continue re-establishing the Bay’s habitat in the future.
With that in mind, our planting crew joined the rest of the Habitat Restoration team, put on our gloves, and patted in at least seven different species on deck (while their names escape me now, they were gratefully color-coded in white, red, pink, light blue, dark blue, purple, light green, and dark green). Between digging, I couldn’t help but take in the unique space–a wastewater management facility and active construction site around us–and was amazed at what an unconventional venue like this this would provide for a manmade basin. How will this site look in a few years once the levee is completely planted and thriving? I’m usually a very patient person, but I am pretty excited to see Oro Loma’s transformative results.
After four hours out in the field, the Save The Bay staff put in 2,260 plants–a full cell of the levee! How did a few of us cool off afterward? By going over to Alameda Memorial State Beach and taking a celebratory dip the Bay!
Are you interested in contributing to a unique restoration project along the Bay shoreline? Save The Bay will be hosting one more volunteer planting workday at Oro Loma, on December 12. Volunteer with us!