Notes from the Field | Jumpstarting Restoration at Eden Landing Ecological Reserve

We recently hydroseeded 4.25 acres along this levee at Eden Landing Ecological Reserve. Click the image to see aerial photos of the process captured by Cris Benton (pictured above).

The Habitat Restoration Team has been talking a lot lately about hydroseeding, thanks to our latest project at Eden Landing Ecological Reserve. Hydroseeding is a technique where plant seeds are mixed with a slurry of water, tackifier (treatment to make it stick to the ground), some fertilizer and fine mulch, and then all of the slurry is shot out of a truck using a fire hose. In the restoration world, hydroseeding is commonly used to help jumpstart the establishment of native plants, particularly native grasses.

We were very lucky to have Cris Benton come out and take pictures of the work. He gave us a bird’s eye view of hydroseeding – literally. You can see his images here. 

As you can see from the photos, Save The Bay is hydroseeding our new 4.25-acre project site at the Eden Landing Ecological Reserve. We are partnering with the South Bay Salt Pond Restoration Project and the California Department of Fish and Wildlife on their project at Eden Landing to create transition zone habitat at the edge of a former salt pond – which has been recently restored to tidal marsh. Last week we installed hydroseed to 4.25 acres along the levee between Ponds E9 and E14 at the Eden Landing Ecological Reserve. We used a combination of native grasses and plants that are typically found near the bay and that are tolerant to saline conditions.

This winter Save The Bay staff and volunteers will plant over 10,000 seedlings on 2.5 acres of this site to augment the hydroseeding. We hope to finish planting the rest of the site next winter. Creating transition zone habitat next to a developing marsh will help provide cover for animals finding their way to the developing marsh, such as the salt marsh harvest mouse and the California clapper rail and other small mammals and birds.

We are excited to add this new, large project to our list of habitat restoration sites around the Bay. Altogether, we will be installing over 45,000 plants at all of our sites this winter. Planting season is upon us – and we will need your help. Come out on one of our winter planting programs and help us restore important habitat at the edge of San Francisco Bay!


Notes from the Field | Ramping Up Restoration

Eden Landing
Save The Bay staff scoping new Eden E9/E14 restoration site.

I’m of the opinion that ambitious goals are a good thing, especially when they come with a realistic, coordinated plan for attainment. Save The Bay has come a long way since its start 52 years ago, yet we still maintain many of our grassroots values and principles.  In addition to continuing to advocate against reckless shoreline development and Bay fill, we’re dedicating significant effort to restoring wetlands.  This year we’ve set our most ambitious native species planting goal ever: 40,000 plants.

In more than one Notes From The Field blog post I’ve talked about how volunteers from the community can make a difference through Save The Bay’s Community-based Restoration program.  The Bay Area has seen decades of wetland loss due to urban development, agriculture, and industrial salt production, but in recent years we’ve actually regained wetlands around the Bay.  This reversal is certainly due in part to the policy and restoration work of Save The Bay and our thousands of dedicated volunteers. We and our many partners are working to restore 100,000 acres of wetlands around the Bay to keep it healthy for future generations of people and wildlife. To date, there are roughly 45,000 acres of restored and historic wetlands in the Bay Area, so we’re nearly halfway there.

Restoring 55,000 acres of wetlands will be no easy feat. It will require lots of time, energy, money, and cooperation among state and federal agencies, various NGOS, and the public. We’re excited about a new restoration project that could serve as a scalable model for future large projects to help our region reach the 100,000 acre goal. The project is in a remote area of Eden Landing Ecological Reserve in historic salt ponds E9/E14. Working in partnership with the California  Department of Fish and Wildlife and the South Bay Salt Pond Restoration Project, we’ll be restoring our largest area of transition zone (the area of the marsh between water and land that provides wildlife habitat during high tides) ever. To accomplish this goal we’ll be using our tried and true manual planting method in addition to hydroseeding the entire transition zone, a process that involves spraying a liquid seed mix on the ground (essentially applying a layer of organic papier-mâché).   We’ll carefully document our activities and protocols used so that other organizations and agencies can replicate this process.

The future of Bay restoration is looking bright, but like most impactful projects, success is contingent upon the availability of funding. Of the 55,000 acres of wetlands that still need to be restored, 31,000 acres are already publically owned, and await funding. The remaining 24,000 still need to be acquired Save The Bay is working with a broad coalition of local organizations and agencies to support the San Francisco Bay Restoration Authority. This is the first regional entity of its kind to focus exclusively on raising and allocating new funds for Bay restoration, public access, and flood control.  Stay tuned…