On August 18, 2015 the SF Bay NERR Coastal Training Program hosted a field workshop to Cullinan Ranch Tidal Wetland Restoration, in conjunction with Ducks Unlimited, US Fish and Wildlife, US National Wildlife Refuge and the Bay Conservation and Development Commission. The workshop was attended by a diverse group of coastal decision makers, scientists and policy makers from across the region.

A map of the Cullinan Ranch restoration project

Cullinan Ranch is situated in the Napa River delta and was once a network of deep tidal channels and vegetated marsh plain. A century of active farming has caused the land to sink as the rich organic soils of the marsh dried out, oxidized and literally blew away in the wind. Currently the site has subsided some 5 to 6 feet below mean sea level. The multi-agency restoration project is working to restore 1500 acres of tidal wetlands in the San Pablo Bay. The project scientists and engineers have completed a number of exciting milestones in the project to support habitat benefits, public access and other improvements to the site. Major project elements of the restoration include:

  • Construction of a levee to protect low lying portions of Highway 37
  • Erosion protection on the slopes of the highway embankment
  • Improvements to access the public parking lot at Pond 1 from the highway
  • Public use elements including trails, a fishing pier and a kayak launching dock
  • Breaching and lowering of perimeter levee
  • Beneficial use of dredged sediment

The workshop began with an informal morning session at the Sonoma Baylands Center. Featured speakers included:

  • Don Brubaker, US Fish and Wildlife Service
  • Brenda Goeden, San Francisco Bay Conservation and Development Commission
  • Craig Garner, Ducks Unlimited

Copies of speaker presentations can be found on the website at this link. In the afternoon, the group toured the site. See photos below.

Brenda Goeden from the Bay Conservation and Development Commission talks about public access.

Brenda Goeden from the Bay Conservation and Development Commission talks about public access.

Ducks Unlimited Engineer Steve Carroll walks us through some of the design elements of the project.

Ducks Unlimited Engineer Steve Carroll walks us through some of the design elements of the project.

Following the afternoon tour, the group ended back at the Sonoma Baylands and heard closing remarks from SF Bay NERR director, Michael Vasey.

The Coastal Training Program has hosted several field workshops in the past, including to Eden Landing, the South Bay Salt Ponds, as well as to Hamilton and the Sonoma Baylands. Stay tuned for future opportunities to learn about the exciting happenings at tidal wetland restoration sites across the San Francisco Bay!

An image of the levee breech that occurred earlier this year

An image of the levee breech that occurred earlier this year

 

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