Authority Awards $4.2 Million in Grants for Bay Restoration

Aerial photograph taken during March 2019, when levees broke at Camp 4 Ranch and throughout the Sonoma Creek Baylands, causing widespread flooding. Levee breaks and flooding are typical under storm conditions in this region.

Today, the Governing Board of the Restoration Authority authorized funding for two projects that will improve the health of the Bay shoreline and monitoring of wetlands restoration progress

12/10/2021 - Today, the Governing Board of the Restoration Authority authorized funding for two projects that will improve the health of the Bay shoreline and monitoring of wetlands restoration progress. 

  •  $1,317,000 to Sonoma Land Trust (SLT) to acquire and initially steward Camp 4 Ranch, a 1,149-acre privately-owned hay farm in Sonoma County for habitat restoration and protection and preservation of open space, with the potential for limited public access and recreation, as part of Phase 2 of the San Pablo Baylands Collaborative Protection and Restoration (CPR) Project. For Phase 1 of the San Pablo Baylands CPR Project, the Authority authorized a grant of up to $2.950,000 in May 2020 to Ducks Unlimited to restore and enhance important wetland habitats on the San Pablo Bay National Wildlife Refuge, including Cullinan Ranch and Haire Ranch. The Phase 1 project was selected because it will build on over 30,000 acres of protected land along San Pablo Bay and add a critical component to the vision of an unbroken band of restored marshes from Novato to Vallejo, as articulated in the Baylands Ecosystem Habitat Goals (1999) and the Baylands Ecosystem Habitat Goals Science Update (2015). Ducks Unlimited has overseen the first year of weed control at the Refuge, which is now complete, and has solicited bids for the levee repair component at Haire Ranch, which will enable enhancement of approximately 740 acres of seasonal wetlands. In addition, the Cullinan Ranch site received over 200,000 cubic yards of dredged sediment this year, which will accelerate restoration and improve resilience to sea level rise. Authority funds will support the eventual breaching of levees at Cullinan Ranch to enable tidal restoration at the site.

    Phase 2 of the San Pablo Baylands CPR project, the subject of today's authorization, focuses on the property adjacent to Haire Ranch (to the northeast). Preservation of Camp 4 Ranch as open space is vital to implementation of the Sonoma Creek Baylands Strategy, a high-level vision for protecting and restoring over 10,000 acres of tidal marsh and other wetland habitat in the Sonoma Creek Baylands that was funded by Measure AA and completed in May 2020. The diked agricultural baylands of Sonoma County, including Camp 4 Ranch, represent one of the most significant remaining opportunities for tidal wetland restoration in San Francisco Bay.

  • $2,915,000 to Aquatic Science Center (ASC) to implement two elements of the Wetlands Regional Monitoring Program (WRMP) for the San Francisco Bay—implementing the monitoring site network and aligning Authority performance measures with WRMP indicators— over approximately three years and including support of the WRMP Lead Scientist for these two elements. The overall purpose of the WRMP is to improve the protection and restoration of tidal marsh ecosystems in the Bay by collecting monitoring data at a regional scale and translating it into the information needed by tidal marsh restoration planners, designers, funders, and regulators. This includes addressing priority management questions through WRMP data and providing clear guidance for permit-driven monitoring in order to answer those questions. ​​The San Francisco Bay needs regional monitoring to support adaptive management of tidal wetlands restoration projects. Data collected under the WRMP will furnish the restoration community with a regional view of the status and trends of the baylands ecosystem in the shortand long-term. Authority funding will
    • establish the WRMP monitoring site network in support of Authority restoration and management goals; and 
    • develop performance metrics for habitat restoration to add to the Authority’s existing set of performance metrics.