On Friday, September 18, six outstanding projects around the San Francisco Bay and Delta received recognition for their achievements at the 12th Biennial State of the San Francisco Estuary Conference. These projects showcase the value of partnership in making remarkable contributions to the health and resilience of the San Francisco Bay-Delta Estuary.
"The projects represented here today demonstrate the incredible achievements possible when dedicated individuals and organizations partner with the common goal of improving the health of the Bay-Delta Estuary,” said Mike Monroe, Board member of Friends of the San Francisco Estuary, who presented the awards.
The project is designed to test locations and techniques for native oyster and eelgrass restoration, to gather information about fish, invertebrate, and bird use of the reefs, and to assess whether the reefs can provide physical benefits such as reducing wave action and protecting adjacent shorelines. ESA provided expertise related to physical benefits.
The preliminary project results are already providing critical information about the potential benefits of using natural reefs along the shoreline to protect habitat in the face of sea level rise and climate change. The project has become a model for similar efforts now underway in San Francisco Bay, San Diego Bay, and Humboldt Bay. More than two million native oysters have settled at the San Rafael site, along with juvenile Dungeness crabs, bay shrimp, white sturgeon, American black oystercatchers, and a wide diversity of other fish, birds, and wildlife that are using the reefs for habitat structure and food resources. Initial data shows that there has been an increase of more than 10 taxa at the site, the reefs are accreting sediment, and they reduce wave energy by 30% at certain water levels. Annual monitoring reports and more information about the project and all of our partners is available at www.sfbaylivingshorelines.org
The 2015 Outstanding Environmental Projects are:
- Antioch Dunes Restoration Project restored a sensitive dune ecosystem, home to the last remaining populations of three endangered species: Antioch dunes evening primrose, Contra Costa wallflower, and Lange’s metalmark butterfly.
- Breuner Marsh Restoration and Public Access Project, the result of decades of community-led activism to restore historic 40 acres of tidal and seasonal wetlands.
- Cullinan Ranch Restoration Project, restoring 1,500 acres of historic tidal marsh habitat in San Pablo Bay National Wildlife Refuge.
- Invasive Spartina Treatment and Revegetation Project has eradicated more 96% of invasive Spartina from more than 25,000 acres of infested tidal marsh and 25,000 acres of mudflats bay-wide in order to protect and restore endangered Ridgway’s Rail habitat.
- San Francisco Bay Living Shorelines Project constructed native oyster and eelgrass beds in two locations in San Francisco Bay as part of an innovative habitat restoration and climate change adaptation project.
- South Bay Creeks Collaborative has resulted in the involvement of thousands of volunteers from neighborhoods, corporations, community groups, and schools to clean up South Bay creeks. Over 1,500 tons of trash have been removed from South Bay creeks in fiscal year 2015.