South Bay Salt Pond Restoration
When state and federal agencies acquired 15,100 acres of former salt ponds in South San Francisco Bay, they embarked on the largest tidal wetland restoration project on the western U.S. coast.
ESA partnered with agency staff, trustee and regulatory agencies, local governments, and the public to produce a scientifically sound, widely supported restoration plan. The project was on a fast-track schedule, with the first phase of six separate restoration actions totaling 3,200 acres beginning five years after land acquisition. Our team prepared a long-term plan for habitat restoration, flood management, and public access based on extensive public input, a long-term vision, and thorough scientific review. ESA completed environmental documentation in compliance with NEPA and CEQA. We coordinated with agencies to expedite the approval of federal, state, and local permits for the long-term plan and Phase I implementation. Our engineering team completed preliminary designs for all six Phase I restoration actions and final design for actions totaling 2,400 acres. These initial projects were designed as adaptive management experiments that will be used to refine the design of future salt pond restoration phases.
ESA was integral to the planning, approval, permitting, design, and implementation of this billion-dollar, 50-year effort to restore thousands of acres of former salt ponds purchased by the government.