For more than two decades, environmental groups and numerous agencies have worked to restore the wetlands at the former Hamilton Army Airfield. On Friday, the project achieved a significant milestone. Officials removed the old salt levee in San Pablo Bay and allowed the tidal waters to flow into the newly restored salt marshes of Novato.
Check out the video, supplied by the California State Coastal Conservancy.
“It’s been a big project, lots of construction, lots of work. So we’re celebrating that,” said Tom Gandesbery the project manager with the Coastal Conservancy.
He said he’s looking forward to the return of several species that were close to the brink of extinction, and to new access to the area. The public will be able to enjoy the open space on the new 2.6 mile Bay Trail now that the wetlands are officially open.
“I feel great about getting this part done and especially about having the trail open so the public can come and see it,” said Gandesbery.
The Marin Independent Journal describes what was once lost and what visitors will soon be able to see:
The habitat for legions of fish, the California clapper rail, the salt marsh harvest mouse, chinook salmon, snowy egrets and great blue herons were lost when this and other North Bay wetlands were diked and dried more than a century ago. The restoration project will give them a chance to flourish here again.
Check out the full article for more on the history of the area and the struggle to get it restored.
Currently, efforts are underway to restore more than 26,000 of wetlands in the Bay Area.