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…

Daily Digest

Restored wetlands provide wildlife habitat and protect communities from sea level rise caused by climate change. Listen below to the personal impact of sea level rise on the South Bay community of Alviso. Healthy tidal marshes also provide habitat for sensitive species including river otters, which are now returning to Bay Area creeks. And around the Bay, restoration projects are reclaiming open spaces, from the Richmond shoreline to Candlestick Point.

Latino USA on National Public Radio 4/13/2012
Chuey Cazares has lived all of his 21 years in Alviso, California, a tiny hamlet, perched at the southern tip of the San Francisco Bay. His close, extended Latino family has lived in this town for generations. Now sea level rise and storm surges brought on by climate change, threaten to inundate Alviso. Plans to save the town from flooding are underway, but the solution may be bitter sweet for Chuey and his family.
Listen here >>

San Francisco Chronicle 4/15/2012
River otters rebounding with hospitable habitat
It’s wild times in the watershed. The most happy-go-lucky denizen of Bay Area creeks is back, after a hiatus of at least three decades: the river otter.

Bay Nature 4/5/2012
Reclaiming the Richmond Shoreline
Travel along Richmond Parkway and you’ll witness a parade of progress and decay, nature and commerce. Evidence of industry past and present shares fence lines with blighted lots, tract housing, new developments–and plenty of open space. To the west are marshland, shoreline, and San Francisco Bay. To the east is urban North Richmond. Here in the space in between, residents of a working-class subdivision called Parchester Village fought for decades to keep a neighboring marsh undeveloped.

San Francisco Chronicle 4/15/2012
Fixing up Candlestick Point Recreation Area
Growing up, Reneka Jones capped off 49ers games with family barbecues in Candlestick Point State Recreation Area. She celebrated birthdays there, too, and fished and skipped stones across the waves.

Daily Digest

Sen. Feinstein joined with business owners and environmental leaders to urge investment in wetland restoration funding. David Lewis is quoted in the San Jose Mercury News. Plus, Cooley Landing secures funding to complete park project. In Mountain View, plastic bags and take-out containers are getting the boot. And KPFA features restoration of the South Bay Salt Ponds and an interview Save The Bay’s Josh Sonnenfeld on why Cargill’s bay fill plan must be defeated.

San Jose Mercury News 4/12/2012
$ 1 billion needed for South Bay flood protection and marsh restoration
A new coalition of business leaders, environmentalists and others will try to raise $1 billion over the coming decade to protect corporate campuses, houses and schools from what one supporter called an “inevitable Katrina” in the South Bay, U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein will announce Thursday in San Jose.

Palo Alto Daily News 4/10/2012
State grants $5 million to complete Cooley Landing park project in East Palo Alto
A $5 million state grant will enable East Palo Alto to cover the last phases of Cooley Landing’s transformation into a park.

Palo Alto Daily News 4/12/2012
Mountain View pushes forward with plans to ban plastic bags, takeout containers
Like so much refuse, plastic bags and takeout containers could be tossed from the city of Mountain View within the next two years.In a 5-1 vote Tuesday night, the city council approved a plan to produce ordinances outlawing single-use carryout bags and polystyrene takeout food containers. Vice Mayor John Inks cast the dissenting vote and Council Member Tom Means was absent.

KPFA 4/6/2012
Terra Verde – South Bay Salt Ponds
A live public affairs program focusing on investigating and analyzing environmental issues from a global perspective.
Listen here >>