Posted on Tue, Nov. 25, 2003

Marsh advisory group named

Group to Give Input on Pond Restoration

By Paul Rogers Mercury News

The effort to restore thousands of acres of former Cargill industrial salt evaporation ponds ringing southern San Francisco Bay back to tidal marshes for wildlife took a step forward Monday.

The three government agencies that are overseeing the project's planning announced an advisory group of 28 people representing environmental organizations, business, government agencies and other interested parties.

``We are honored to have such a diverse and talented group of individuals providing input into development of this historic restoration plan,'' said Nadine Hitchcock, San Francisco Bay program manager for the State Coastal Conservancy, one of the three agencies managing the project.

The ``stakeholder forum'' will recommend how the ponds should be converted to marshlands, which ponds should be converted, what kind of public access to allow, and other key questions over the next five years while environmental impact studies are drawn up. Total restoration of the 16,500 acres is expected to take decades.

The group's first meeting is scheduled from 1 to 5 p.m. Dec. 4 at the Palo Alto Community Center, 1313 Newell Road. Stakeholder Forum meetings will be open to the public, and agenda and meeting notes will be posted on the project Web site at

In March, the state and federal governments closed a $100 million deal to purchase 16,500 acres of salt ponds from Cargill Salt, based in Newark. The project will be the largest restoration of wetlands in the United States, outside the Florida Everglades.

Contact Paul Rogers at [email protected] or (408) 920-5045.

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