Wetlands Regional Monitoring Program
San Francisco Bay Area
Wetlands Regional Monitoring Program

Program Projects

Shore and Birds







Big Lagoon Creek and Wetland Restoration

The Design Review Group featured a presentation by Jennifer Vick, on behalf of the National Park Service (NPS), at its Monday, January 12,2004 meeting. NPS is the project proponent for the Big Lagoon Creek and Wetlands Restoration project, located along the downstream portion of RedwoodCreek in Muir Beach, located in coastal Marin County. This project has an extensive planning history of over ten years; further information regarding the project, including project documents, can be found here

The proposed project would convert the 40-acre site to a mix of open water lagoon and wetlands habitats. The site presently supports a variety of habitats and species, including limited rearing habitat for juvenile Coho and steelhead, rearing habitat for red-legged frog, western toad, Pacific treefrog, California newt, the rough-skinned newt, threespine stickleback, Sacramento blackfish and foraging for wintering waterfowl and shorebirds. Over the past decade, sediment deposition rates have increased in the area, creating favorable growing conditions for dense riparian vegetation at the site (primarily willows and alders). These factors have led to a closing off of the creek channel mouth where it meets the beach, which in turn has contributed to rising groundwater levels. Heavy storm events now lead to flooding over local roadways and temporarily restrict access to local homes. The proposed project seeks to relocate the current parking lot out of the floodplain, while creating a mix of habitats and lessening flooding impacts.

The Design Review Group completed the Big Lagoon Creek and Wetland Restoration Letter of Review on February 11, 2004.

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Napa Plant Site Restoration

The Design Review Group featured a presentation by Carl Wilcox, on behalf of the California Department of Fish and Game, at its Monday, September 15, 2003 meeting. The California Department of Fish and Game acquired approximately 1,400 acres at the former Cargill Napa Plant Site, located on the east side of the Napa River in Napa County. The project site was acquired as part of the larger South Bay Salt Ponds purchase from Cargill and most of the site has been used as cyrstallizer and concentrator ponds used for making salt.

The proposed project is very early on in its conceptual planning, which allows the Design Review Team to provide a wide range of feedback on the potential design. This project offers several unique opportunities as it is surrounded by thousands of acres of past and current tidal marsh restoration (the Napa-Sonoma marshes are just west, across the Napa River). Given the adjacent location of this project to several other projects, the potential for creation of endangered species habitat - for species such as the clapper rail and salt marsh harvest mouse - is significant. The project will most likely incorporate a broad, upland transition zone and may make use of the expansive, compacted former salt ponds for use as seasonal wetlands habitat.

The Design Review Group completed the Napa Plant Site Restoration Letter of Review on November 6, 2003.

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Bahia Tidal Wetlands Restoration Project

The Design Review Group featured a presentation by Michelle Orr (Philip Williams and Associates) and Barbara Salzman (Marin Audubon Society) on Monday, July 14, 2003. The Marin Audubon Society recently acquired 645 acres of primarily diked farmland, located west of the Petaluma River and north of the Bahia neighborhood in eastern Novato. Marin Audubon Society will retain some of the land for management and the California Department of Fish and Game and the Marin County Open Space District will manage the remaining parcels.

The proposed project would breach or lower levees with connections to the Petaluma River and reintroduce tidal action onto the 300+ acre West and Central Bahia parcels. This project presents excellent opportunities for incorporation of buffers and upland transition zones into the design, as it presents a unique example of an interface of blue oak woodlands and tidal marsh. The project will be able to utilize the placement of on-site fill and it also provides potential for ample creation of endangered species habitat (clapper rail and salt marsh harvest mouse).

The Design Review Group completed the Bahia Tidal Marsh Restoration Project Letter of Review on August 14, 2003.

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Bahia Lagoon Dredging/State Lands and Twin House Ranch Project

The Design Review Group featured a presentation by John Zentner for this project on March 17, 2003. The Bahia Homeowners' Association would like to dredge the lagoon at Bahia, located along the west side of the Petaluma River in eastern Novato, and build a lock between the lagoon and the river. In anticipation of the mitigation for the dredging project, the project proponent presented the creation and restoration of tidal wetlands on the State Lands and Twin House ranch parcels immediately east of Bahia on the opposite bank of the river.

The proponent, in the wetlands creation at the State Lands and Twin House sites, proposes to use the dredged material taken from the lagoon to raise the elevations of the tidal marsh. He sought specific input on the design of the tidal channels and the monitoring plan from the assembled Design Review Team.

The review for this project was not completed as a result of the Executive Council's decision against releasing Letters of Review for privately-sponsored mitigation projects. In the absence of a Letter of Review, interested parties may wish to see the DRG's March 17, 2003 meeting notes for project discussion.

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Coyote Hills Wetlands Enhancement and Drainage Improvement Project

The Design Review Group featured a presentation by the East Bay Regional Park District for this project on February 10, 2003. There has been a substantial increase in the availability of surface water in the Coyote Hills Regional Park in Fremont, California. The excess of freshwater on the site and its contribution to a monotypic cattail population; these factors negatively affect the necessary flood storage capacity of the site. Local development, expected in the near future, is anticipated to increase the flood capacity demand for the site.

The project proponents are developing alternatives for both long-term wetland enhancement and floodwater management to accommodate these changes in the water supply. Goals of the project are to restore the flood storage capacity, create a variety of wetland types, and reduce cattail dominance. The Design Review Group is being asked to provide feedback on the future mosaic of wetlands habitat types at the park as well as the best means of controlling the cattail population.

The Design Review Group completed the Coyote Hills Wetlands Enhancement and Drainage Improvement Letter of Review on March 31, 2003.

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Lake Merritt Marsh Restoration Site Selection Feasibility Analysis Study

The Design Review Group featured a presentation by the City of Oakland for this project on January 6, 2003. This review assessed possible options for the enhancement of wetlands habitat within Lake Merritt in downtown Oakland. The review focused on a previously completed Site Selection and Feasibility Analysis for the project and on how those assumptions and conclusions might change given improvements to the tidal regime in the lake.

Last year, the Oakland residents overwhelmingly passed Measure DD, which would remove culverts, install bridges and relocate the Alameda Flood Control District's pumping station. All of these actions would have the effect of increasing tidal influence in Lake Merritt, as well as increasing the efficiency of the pumping station. The Design Review Group was able to provide a great deal of feedback on wetlands restoration and enhancement opportunities with and without these tidal improvements.

The Design Review Group completed the Lake Merritt Marsh Restoration Project Letter of Review on March 7, 2003.

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Crissy Field Monitoring Plan and Protocols

The Design Review Group featured a presentation by the National Park Service for this project on January 6, 2003. The National Park Service has developed a Monitoring Plan and set of monitoring protocols for use at the Crissy Field tidal lagoon. The review focused on all aspects of the monitoring plan and including use of aerial photography, measuring water surface elevations, and protocols to monitor water quality, vegetation, sedimentation, benthic invertebrates, fish, soil, and channel formation.

The Design Review Group completed the Crissy Field Monitoring Plan and Protocols Letter of Review on February 10, 2003.

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Breuner Marsh Mitigation Bank

On October 28, 2002, the Wetlands Restoration Program's Design Review Group began its review of the Breuner Marsh Mitigation Bank. This review was the Design Review Group's first exercise of assisting habitat restoration project proponents in achieving more ecologically sound project designs

The Breuner Marsh Mitigation Bank site is located on San Pablo Bay, just south of the Point Pinole Regional Shoreline in Richmond. This unique project stands to be the first such mitigation bank along the shores of San Francisco Bay and offers opportunities for tidal salt marsh and seasonal wetland creation, enhancement and preservation. Mitigation opportunities associated with the Breuner property would allow both seasonal and tidal salt marsh creation, enhancement and preservation. Additional opportunities allow for the restoration of a riparian corridor along Rheem Creek which forms the southern boundary of the site.

The Design Review Group completed the Breuner Marsh Mitigation Bank Letter of Review on January 28, 2003.

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