San Pablo Baylands Collaborative Protection and Restoration Project (CPR)

Ducks Unlimited, Inc.
Phase 1
San Pablo Baylands, photo: Stephen Joseph
Location:

San Pablo Bay National Wildlife Refuge, Solano, Napa and Sonoma Counties; Measure AA Region: North Bay

Project Phases Funded by this Grant:

Phase 1, in Solano, Napa and Sonoma Counties, consisting of restoration of tidal marsh with beneficial reuse of dredged material at Cullinan Ranch; enhancement of seasonal wetland habitat through levee repair at Haire Ranch; and control of weeds and conservation education within the San Pablo Bay National Wildlife Refuge; and adoption of findings under the California Environmental Quality Act.

Measure AA Program Category:

Safe, Clean Water and Pollution Prevention Program; Vital Fish, Bird and Wildlife Habitat Program.

Partners:

San Pablo Bay National Wildlife Refuge, Sonoma Land Trust, and Friends of San Pablo Bay National Wildlife Refuge

Summary:

The San Pablo Baylands Collaborative Protection and Restoration (CPR) Project, Phase 1, will restore and enhance important wetland habitats on the San Pablo Bay National Wildlife Refuge (Refuge).

The Refuge is owned and managed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS). The project has long been a top priority of many local and regional habitat restoration plans. The Refuge is within the larger landscape known as the San Pablo Baylands, which includes more than 40,000 acres of current and historic tidal wetlands, non-tidal perennial and seasonal wetlands, riparian corridors, and uplands. The project advances the landscape-scale restoration vision of the Baylands Ecosystem Habitat Goals Science Update 2015 (2015 Science Update) – to create an unbroken band of restored marshes from the Petaluma River to Vallejo.

Reclamation and conversion have led to the loss of approximately 82% of historic wetlands in the San Pablo Baylands, which despite this loss remain among the most important waterfowl and shorebird staging and wintering habitat complexes in the Pacific Flyway. The area supports over 30 species of waterfowl, and approximately 50% of the Pacific Flyway diving duck population; peak waterfowl populations approach 280,000 ducks. The area also supports nearly 600,000 shorebirds during peak migration periods. Reclaimed lands have subsided three to seven feet relative to marsh elevation depending on land use history. Nevertheless, forthcoming studies indicate that the project is in a prime location for restoration, based on the area’s high resilience to sea level rise due to its high sediment supply, both now and into the future (Healthy Watersheds, Resilient Baylands Report, San Francisco Estuary Institute, in preparation).

Major restoration along the Napa River corridor began with the restoration of over 8,700 acres of former salt production ponds and the salt production facility known as the Napa Plant Site, in what is now the Napa-Sonoma Marshes State Wildlife Area, owned and managed by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife. This was followed by the restoration of 1,249 acres at the western portion of Cullinan Ranch (Cullinan West) on the Refuge. The project will expand this effort by restoring 290 acres of wetlands near the lower Napa River at the eastern portion of Cullinan Ranch (Cullinan East) through placement of dredged sediment to accelerate restoration and improve resilience for sea level rise. It will also include work in the Sonoma Creek Baylands, where it will repair a levee, enabling enhancement of approximately 740 acres of seasonal wetland at Haire Ranch, the northeastern portion of Skaggs Island, another Refuge property. Finally, it will remove invasive plant species throughout the Refuge and provide conservation education

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