Posted on Categories Land Use, Transportation, Water, WildlifeTags , , , , Leave a comment on SMART to restore wetlands, habitat

SMART to restore wetlands, habitat

Matt Brown, THE PRESS DEMOCRAT
The agency tasked with building the North Bay’s commuter rail line is about to embark on a $1.9 million environmental restoration project that will create new wetlands, protect valuable habitat for endangered species and help the Sonoma-Marin Area Rail Transit authority meet the conditions of its construction permits.
Without discussion, the SMART board Wednesday approved a deal with contractor Stacy and Witbeck/Herzog to restore the former Mira Monte marina site — 56 acres of marshland straddling the Sonoma-Marin county line at the spot where San Antonio Creek joins the Petaluma River.
The agency last year spent $2.5 million on the land that is a key piece of the Petaluma Marsh ecosystem, supporting an array of bird, plant and animal species including the endangered salt marsh harvest mouse and California clapper rail. The habitat work is required by a slew of state and federal agencies that issued environmental permits to SMART as it builds the 43-mile commuter rail line from Santa Rosa to San Rafael. Service is expected to begin in late 2016.
Read more via SMART gives go-ahead to large wetland restoration | The Press Democrat.

Posted on Categories Land Use, WildlifeTags , , Leave a comment on U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service announces $1.24 billion plan for Bay Area wetlands

U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service announces $1.24 billion plan for Bay Area wetlands

Associated Press, THE SAN FRANCISCO EXAMINER

A 50-year plan for the restoration of San Francisco Bay and other coastal wetlands was released Thursday by federal wildlife officials who call it the biggest effort to save tidal marshes outside the Florida Everglades.

The $1.24 billion plan for the Bay and a patchwork of tidal marshes in Northern and Central California calls for projects along 500 miles of the state’s 1,100-mile coastline, the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service said.

The plan is the result of 15 years of research and provides recommendations meant to save 17 struggling species of plants and animals, including the endangered California clapper rail, a bird. The plan was previously approved by the service, which has spent years reviewing and getting public comment. Funding will come from a mix of federal state and private sources.

Since the Gold Rush era, 90 percent of tidal marshes in the San Francisco Bay have been lost to development and contamination.

via Fish & Wildlife Service announces $1.24 billion plan for Bay Area wetlands | Other News | San Francisco | San Francisco Examiner.

Download the plan and USFWS press release here:
http://www.fws.gov/sacramento/outreach/2013/11-14/outreach_newsroom_2013-11-14.htm

Posted on Categories Land Use, WaterTags , Leave a comment on Water agency nears completion of Napa-Sonoma salt marsh pipeline

Water agency nears completion of Napa-Sonoma salt marsh pipeline

Pond 7 of the old Cargill Salt Co. plant between Napa and Sonoma is an improbable sight: a lifeless salt flat spreading across more than 300 acres along the edge of the San Pablo Bay.

The surface is a twisted mass of filthy salt crystals, devoid of plants and avoided by the migratory birds that inhabit nearby marshes.

As long as the pond remains in this state, officials say, it poses a threat to the ecologically sensitive bay: should a rain storm flood the pond and breach the dirt banks, it could wash salt into the open water in concentrations high enough to kill fish and other wildlife.

via Water agency nears completion of Napa-Sonoma salt marsh pipeline | The Press Democrat.