Posted on Tue, Mar 09, 2004

Project manager, engineers picked for salt pond project

Government efforts to restore thousands of acres of industrial salt ponds ringing the South Bay shoreline back to wetlands for fish and wildlife have taken a new step forward, with the announcement of a project manager and engineering team.

The California Coastal Conservancy, the state agency overseeing restoration of 15,100 acres of South Bay ponds that the state and federal government purchased last year from Cargill Salt, has selected Steve Ritchie as executive project manager.

Ritchie, who has a master's degree in civil engineering from Stanford University, is former executive officer of the San Francisco Bay Regional Water Quality Control Board.

The conservancy also selected an engineering team of: the San Francisco environmental hydrology firm of Philip Williams and Associates; San Francisco land planning and design firm, EDAW; biological consulting firm, H.T. Harvey and Associates of San Jose; and Brown & Caldwell, civil engineers headquartered in Walnut Creek.

State and federal officials have begun holding public meetings and conducting studies as part of a five-year plan to turn the salt ponds into a mix of wildlife habitats by diluting salt water and removing some levees, while protecting neighboring areas against flood risk.

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-- Paul Rogers

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