|Wildlife board OKs
funds to help buy bay wetlands
Chronicle Staff Report
Wednesday, February 12, 2003
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A state wildlife board approved $74 million from bond funds to buy 16, 500 acres from Cargill Inc. as part of the largest wetlands restoration effort along the San Francisco Bay.
The Wildlife Conservation Board, meeting in Sacramento, voted 3-0 to approve the transfer of the money from Proposition 50, a $3.4 billion water- quality bond passed last November.
Environmental representatives from Save the Bay and the Bay Institute praised the project. Sen Byron Sher, D-Palo Alto, also spoke in favor of it, but recommended that in future transactions, the state share information on appraisals and other reviews earlier in the negotiations.
If the state Department of General Services approves the real estate package, the deal is expected to close by March 6, according to Al Wright, executive director of the board. The board administers capital outlays to enhance wildlife and habitat.
Contributing to the $100 million purchase price are $72 million from the state, $8 million from the federal government and $20 million from the Hewlett,
Moore and Packard foundations and the Goldman and Resources legacy funds. The state also is paying $2 million for property surveys and other real estate costs.
The properties consist of about 1,400 acres on the Napa River, and about 15, 100 acres of salt ponds, tidal marshes and mudflats on the bay south of Highway 92 between Interstate 880 and U.S. 101.
The state will take title to the Napa acreage and about 5,500 acres of the salt pond property and salt-making rights in Alameda County. The U.S. government will acquire about 9,600 acres of land and rights in Alameda, San Mateo and Santa Clara counties.