Bay Spotlight https://www.southbayrestoration.org/ en Our Friend, The Dirt Broker https://www.southbayrestoration.org/blog/our-friend-dirt-broker <span class="field field--name-title field--type-string field--label-hidden">Our Friend, The Dirt Broker</span> <span class="field field--name-uid field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden"><span lang="" about="/user/113" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">ariela</span></span> <span class="field field--name-created field--type-created field--label-hidden">Wed, 10/26/2022 - 18:13</span> <div class="clearfix text-formatted field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field__item"><p>In the late 1980’s, I spent some time working at a Lehman Brothers office on Montgomery Street. So, until recently, when I heard the word “broker,” I thought of suspenders, slicked-back hair, and dress shirts with white collars even when the shirts themselves are blue or pink.</p> <p>What I certainly did not think of were work boots, hard hats, and enormous piles of dirt.</p> <p>And yet, among all of the important roles in the South Bay Salt Pond Restoration Project, one of the most important is that of “the dirt broker.” Yep – it’s a thing.</p> <p>In our Project, we move a lot of earth: we raise and improve parts of old salt pond berms, we build islands, and we construct habitat transition zones to connect pond bottoms to levees or uplands across gently sloped areas instead of steep levee side slopes. All of that takes a lot of dirt (also known as “fill material” or just “material”), usually on the order of a few hundred thousand cubic yards at each project location. To help thanksyards.</p> <p>So…that’s a lot of material. And we usually get it for free. Here’s how that works:</p> <p>Anytime there is a construction project that will involve excavation, there is some dirt produced. If it’s a swimming pool in someone’s backyard, it’s just a little bit, but if it’s an underground parking garage or a foundation for a multi-story office building, it’s a lot. And in the absence of another alternative, most of that dirt gets hauled to a landfill to be disposed. The developer or owner of the source project must pay a trucking company to haul it away and a landfill to accept it. Those are two high costs.</p> <p>But in recent years, a new alternative has been identified. Across our economy and society, there is now interest in turning all sorts of “waste products” into input goods for another process. In our case, someone else’s waste dirt becomes our habitat island or improved levee. And it’s a dirt broker – or, more generally, a fill material provider*, who makes that happen.</p> <p>In either of these cases, the dirt broker or material provider tests the dirt against cleanliness standards established by the San Francisco Bay Regional Water Quality Control Board. If the material is clean enough to be used in a restoration project, then instead of paying a landfill to take the material, they bring it to us, where we accept it for free!</p> <p>It’s a win-win: We get free dirt to advance our restoration and flood management work, and the owners of the construction projects get their excess dirt safely and legally hauled off at a reduced cost to them.</p> <p>This system works well, given enough time. The problem is that much of the Bay Area’s soil is contaminated from past activities: agricultural chemicals, hydrocarbons, industrial waste products. Even naturally occurring metals that are fine in an underground upland setting are not suitable for use under water or in a wetland. So a lot of that dirt still ends up in landfills, and it often takes more time to get all the dirt we need than we’d like.</p> <p>You wouldn’t think it, but clean dirt is hard to find.</p> <p>Still though: It’s kind of brilliant, ecologically efficient, produces wins for everyone involved, and is critical in making restoration projects like ours affordable.</p> <p>So, let’s tip our caps to an unsung hero of the San Francisco Bay restoration community: the dirt broker.</p> <blockquote> <p>*A material provider is usually a company that does construction or trucking on different projects around the Bay Area. A dirt broker is a company that might do construction and/or trucking on its own projects but that ALSO has a separate line of business in managing excavated dirt from construction projects even if it’s not directly involved in those efforts.</p> </blockquote> <p> </p> </div> <div class="field--name-field-image"> <div class="field__item"> <figure role="group" class="caption caption-img"> <a href="https://www.southbayrestoration.org/sites/default/files/default_images/Dave%20Halsing%202%201-9-21%20cropped.jpg" title="Dave Halsing" data-colorbox-gallery="gallery-blog-2326-tamkOnB7pTQ" class="colorbox" data-cbox-img-attrs="{&quot;title&quot;:&quot;Dave Halsing&quot;,&quot;alt&quot;:&quot;Dave Halsing&quot;}"><img src="/sites/default/files/default_images/Dave%20Halsing%202%201-9-21%20cropped.jpg" width="2517" height="2029" alt="Dave Halsing" title="Dave Halsing" typeof="foaf:Image" /> </a> <figcaption>Dave Halsing</figcaption> </figure> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-thumbnail field--type-image field--label-above"> <div class="field__label">Thumbnail</div> <div class="field__item"> <img src="/sites/default/files/2022-10/vlcsnap-2022-10-26-17h39m53s849.jpg" width="3840" height="2160" alt="Trucks bearing dirt to our Mountain View ponds" typeof="foaf:Image" /> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-blog-category field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field__items"> <div class="field__item"><a href="/blog-categories/term-5" hreflang="en">Bay Spotlight</a></div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-blog-display field--type-list-string field--label-above"> <div class="field__label">Blog Display</div> <div class="field__item">Thumbnail</div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-author field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field__items"> <div class="field__item"><a href="/authors/dave-halsing" hreflang="en">Dave Halsing</a></div> </div> Thu, 27 Oct 2022 01:13:29 +0000 ariela 2326 at https://www.southbayrestoration.org https://www.southbayrestoration.org/blog/our-friend-dirt-broker#comments Let’s Celebrate a Milestone Birthday for the Refuge! https://www.southbayrestoration.org/blog/lets-celebrate-milestone-birthday-refuge <span class="field field--name-title field--type-string field--label-hidden">Let’s Celebrate a Milestone Birthday for the Refuge!</span> <span class="field field--name-uid field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden"><span lang="" about="/user/113" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">ariela</span></span> <span class="field field--name-created field--type-created field--label-hidden">Fri, 09/30/2022 - 14:17</span> <div class="clearfix text-formatted field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field__item"><p>Birthdays are funny things, aren’t they?</p> <p>When you are a kid, pretty much all you think about for two or three months in advance of it is what your presents will be. When you get a little older, some birthdays matter a little less (though the presents and parties are still fun), but others matter more. Those milestone birthdays come pretty frequently for a while there, when you get to start driving, vote, buy beer, or rent a car.*  </p> <p>Then the important ones start spacing out until they are pretty much the ones that end in a “0”. One of the biggest of those is the Big 5-0, an event that can be traumatic for some and a delightful moment for others.</p> <p>For the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, it’s definitely the latter. This year marks the 50th anniversary of Public Law 92-330, which provided for the establishment of the San Francisco Bay National Wildlife Refuge for “the preservation and enhancement of highly significant wildlife habitat,” the “protection of migratory waterfowl and other wildlife, including species known to be threatened with extinction,” and “to provide an opportunity for wildlife-oriented recreation and nature study within the open space so preserved.”</p> <p>Much of the impetus for the Refuge’s establishment came from the efforts of a group of deeply committed and active individuals who were then known as the South San Francisco Baylands Planning, Conservation, and National Wildlife Refuge Committee. That group of people and their history and influence are important enough to warrant a separate blog post in the near future. I don’t want to give them short shrift and so will cover them separately (and in more detail) soon, but I didn’t want to not mention them at all. Their efforts were critical!</p> <p>Anyway, that 1972 establishment was the huge first step in a long line of land acquisitions and expansions that would eventually become the Don Edwards San Francisco Bay National Wildlife Refuge. The first of these acquisitions was an area of less than 40 acres from Bayshore Freight Lines railway in 1974. That was the first part of what was then named simply the San Francisco Bay National Wildlife Refuge. In 1995, the Refuge was renamed to honor Congressman Don Edwards, who represented South Bay residents for over 30 years, along the way receiving the Congressional Distinguished Service Award and chairing the House Subcommittee on Civil Liberties and Civil Rights for many years.**</p> <p>From that humble, 40-acre beginning, many more acquisitions came in the form of purchases or accepted donations of former salt-production ponds. Congress repeatedly authorized increases in the Refuge’s expansion boundary to allow it to purchase, accept, or otherwise assume operational responsibility for certain parcels or tracts of land as they became available. In Palo Alto, an agreement was made for some marshes to remain owned by the City of Palo Alto but to fall under the management of the Fish and Wildlife Service as part of the Refuge.</p> <p>In this way, the Refuge gradually increased in size, complexity, and ecological connectivity. A huge chunk of that area was the 2003 acquisition from Cargill, Inc. of over 15,000 acres of former salt ponds that became…wait for it…the South Bay Salt Pond Restoration Project! About one-third of that area became part of the State of California’s Eden Landing Ecological Reserve, and the other two-thirds became part of the Refuge, bringing the Refuge’s total size up to its current 30,000-plus acres.</p> <p>Today, the Refuge not only provides large areas of wildlife habitat in marshes, ponds, sloughs, and adjacent uplands, but it also offers an opportunity for residents and visitors to the Bay Area to enjoy natural open space and a wide range of public access opportunities - - one of the best amenities of living in this part of the world.</p> <p>In honor of the Refuge’s 50th anniversary – its 50th birthday, so to speak – the Fish and Wildlife Service is planning a celebration on October 8 at the Refuge headquarters in Fremont. The party is from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. and it’s free to all. There will be guided nature tours, ranger talks, crafts, activities for the kids, and refreshments. You can find more detail <a href="https://www.facebook.com/events/663878314670598/">here</a> .***</p> <p>This country’s National Wildlife Refuge System is an amazing gift to us all. It’s right up there with national parks, national forests, marine reserves, national seashores, and so many other types of federal lands**** that bring us all shared benefits and a more complex and complete environment and society.</p> <blockquote> <p>*And what a weird order of major life events that is, right?<br /> **Congressman Edwards was no stranger to birthdays ending in zeroes either: He lived to be 100 years old before passing in 2015.<br /> ***Salty Dave and friends will be there too, so please stop by and say hello!<br /> ****Not to mention their analogues at the state, county, and city levels.</p> </blockquote> <p> </p> </div> <div class="field--name-field-image"> <div class="field__item"> <figure role="group" class="caption caption-img"> <a href="https://www.southbayrestoration.org/sites/default/files/default_images/Dave%20Halsing%202%201-9-21%20cropped.jpg" title="Dave Halsing" data-colorbox-gallery="gallery-blog-2321-tamkOnB7pTQ" class="colorbox" data-cbox-img-attrs="{&quot;title&quot;:&quot;Dave Halsing&quot;,&quot;alt&quot;:&quot;Dave Halsing&quot;}"><img src="/sites/default/files/default_images/Dave%20Halsing%202%201-9-21%20cropped.jpg" width="2517" height="2029" alt="Dave Halsing" title="Dave Halsing" typeof="foaf:Image" /> </a> <figcaption>Dave Halsing</figcaption> </figure> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-thumbnail field--type-image field--label-above"> <div class="field__label">Thumbnail</div> <div class="field__item"> <img src="/sites/default/files/2022-09/305648767_465436898961268_2425244959774518147_n.jpg" width="1650" height="825" alt="Refuge Biologist Rachel Tertes, here looking out at wetlands, will lead a bird walk on Saturday." typeof="foaf:Image" /> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-blog-category field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field__items"> <div class="field__item"><a href="/blog-categories/term-5" hreflang="en">Bay Spotlight</a></div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-blog-display field--type-list-string field--label-above"> <div class="field__label">Blog Display</div> <div class="field__item">Thumbnail</div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-author field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field__items"> <div class="field__item"><a href="/authors/dave-halsing" hreflang="en">Dave Halsing</a></div> </div> Fri, 30 Sep 2022 21:17:39 +0000 ariela 2321 at https://www.southbayrestoration.org https://www.southbayrestoration.org/blog/lets-celebrate-milestone-birthday-refuge#comments 50 Steps to Count Your Plover https://www.southbayrestoration.org/blog/50-steps-count-your-plover <span class="field field--name-title field--type-string field--label-hidden">50 Steps to Count Your Plover</span> <span class="field field--name-uid field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden"><span lang="" about="/user/113" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">ariela</span></span> <span class="field field--name-created field--type-created field--label-hidden">Fri, 09/16/2022 - 09:26</span> <div class="clearfix text-formatted field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field__item"><p>Well, hi, and welcome back!</p> <p>In my previous post (available <a href="https://www.southbayrestoration.org/blog/i-need-plover">here</a>), I described the difficult balancing act we face in trying to restore as much tidal marsh as possible, while protecting and enhancing enough nesting habitat for breeding western snowy plover that their local populations would be maintained or grow.</p> <p>I also made an ill-advised joke about a song parody of Paul Simon’s #1 hit from 1975, “50 Ways to Leave Your Lover”.*</p> <p>I got a request – maybe better framed as a dare – from a friend about that. And today is <a href="https://www.birdlife.org.au/projects/beach-nesting-birds/plover-appreciation-day">Plover Appreciation Day</a>! So here it is.**</p> <h4>50 Steps to Count Your Plover</h4> <p>The problem is flat, gray habitat, he said to me<br /> The sighting’s not easy, so please take it carefully<br /> I'd like to help you find those birds you want to see<br /> There must be fifty steps to count your plover<br />  <br /> He said, it's really hard to spot them from so far<br /> Furthermore, we have to find them from our seats within the car<br /> But I'll repeat myself as I head down to the bar<br /> There must be fifty steps to count your plover<br /> Fifty steps to count your plover<br />  <br /> You scout out the nests, Bess<br /> You look through the lens, Jen<br /> You scour the flat, Matt<br /> Put your eyes to the test<br />  <br /> You drive real slow, Joe<br /> Check out the map, Cap<br /> You look for the pair, Clare<br /> And hope for the best<br />  <br /> He said it pains me so to see these predators<br /> I wish there was something I could do to haze or else deter<br /> I said I agree with that, and would you please explain<br /> About the fifty steps?<br />  <br /> He said, why don't you stop restoring tidal flows<br /> And I believe the plover numbers would certainly explode<br /> And then I winced and told him we still need the marsh to grow<br /> We need those…fifty steps to count the plover<br /> Fifty steps to count the plover<br />  <br /> Check the G.P.S., Tess<br /> You run on the panne, Jan<br /> Don't step in the crack, Jack<br /> And watch the swear words<br />  <br /> Snap on the band, Dan<br /> You measure the egg, Greg<br /> Try to have fun, Son<br /> And just count all the birds</p> <blockquote> <p>* If you haven’t heard the original song in a while, it’s worth a fresh listen. Paul Simon did fabulous things with percussion and word choice in the lyrics. How many #1 hits have had the word “misconstrued” in them?<br /> ** If you hate it, blame Rich.</p> </blockquote> </div> <div class="field--name-field-image"> <div class="field__item"> <figure role="group" class="caption caption-img"> <a href="https://www.southbayrestoration.org/sites/default/files/default_images/Dave%20Halsing%202%201-9-21%20cropped.jpg" title="Dave Halsing" data-colorbox-gallery="gallery-blog-2318-tamkOnB7pTQ" class="colorbox" data-cbox-img-attrs="{&quot;title&quot;:&quot;Dave Halsing&quot;,&quot;alt&quot;:&quot;Dave Halsing&quot;}"><img src="/sites/default/files/default_images/Dave%20Halsing%202%201-9-21%20cropped.jpg" width="2517" height="2029" alt="Dave Halsing" title="Dave Halsing" typeof="foaf:Image" /> </a> <figcaption>Dave Halsing</figcaption> </figure> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-thumbnail field--type-image field--label-above"> <div class="field__label">Thumbnail</div> <div class="field__item"> <img src="/sites/default/files/2022-09/sfbbo_plover.9-2-15.creditvivekkhanzode.jpg" width="700" height="467" alt="Successfully banded snowy plover. Credit: Vivek Khanzode" typeof="foaf:Image" /> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-blog-category field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field__items"> <div class="field__item"><a href="/blog-categories/term-5" hreflang="en">Bay Spotlight</a></div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-blog-display field--type-list-string field--label-above"> <div class="field__label">Blog Display</div> <div class="field__item">Thumbnail</div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-author field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field__items"> <div class="field__item"><a href="/authors/dave-halsing" hreflang="en">Dave Halsing</a></div> </div> Fri, 16 Sep 2022 16:26:56 +0000 ariela 2318 at https://www.southbayrestoration.org https://www.southbayrestoration.org/blog/50-steps-count-your-plover#comments I Need a Plover* https://www.southbayrestoration.org/blog/i-need-plover <span class="field field--name-title field--type-string field--label-hidden">I Need a Plover*</span> <span class="field field--name-uid field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden"><span lang="" about="/user/113" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">ariela</span></span> <span class="field field--name-created field--type-created field--label-hidden">Fri, 08/19/2022 - 16:04</span> <div class="clearfix text-formatted field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field__item"><p>It’s a little before 7 a.m. on a clear and brisk morning in July. The sun is just peeking up over the hills of the East Bay, and I’m running across the uneven salt-and-gypsum crust of a dry former salt-production pond, jumping across slough traces and trying not to step on the mounds of dense vegetation that pose serious ankle-roll potential. I’m wearing knee-high mud boots and a backpack** and carrying some snares and a mallet.</p> <p>I’m trying to keep up with Ben Pearl of the San Francisco Bay Bird Observatory (SFBBO), who is not only much younger than me but who does this kind of field work all day every day for about half of the year, while I mostly type and talk on Zoom calls. Ben is SFBBO’s science director for western snowy plover, a ground-nesting species whose Pacific Coast population is listed as <strong><em>Threatened</em></strong> by both the federal and state Endangered Species Acts. Ben and his SFBBO colleagues spend incredibly long days each year from March through September surveying suitable plover habitats, watching plovers establish nests, and tracking their success or (sadly – too often, mostly due to predation) failure to hatch and then fledge the chicks to make their own way out in the world.</p> <p>Ben’s plan was to put two color bands on each leg of the newly hatched plover chicks and – if possible – an adult as well. We’re running because the chicks are precocial: able to run quickly shortly after hatching. The parents brooding the eggs will scatter at the first sign of bipedal hominids (i.e., people), and the chicks won’t be far behind them. If we take too long to get from the truck to the nest site, the chicks could well have scattered off in multiple directions by the time we get there. Since they are so well camouflaged, if they get more than about 6 or 8 feet from the nest before we catch them, there is a good chance we won’t find them. And that would be bad: we’d have scared them from their nests, scattered their parents, and left them highly vulnerable to predators on land and from the sky.</p> <p>It's important to band these plover chicks (and ideally, also the adults) because it’s the only method we have to track the reproductive success and survival of western snowy plovers that use the dry salt panne habitats that are left in a few places around the Restoration Project’s South Bay locations. If you’ve been tracking our Project for a while, you probably know how challenging and vital it is to achieve a complicated balance between restoring as much tidal marsh habitat as we can while also helping other species that have grown accustomed to (and often dependent on) one or more of the different types of former salt-production pond habitats that still remain. One of those species is the western snowy plover.</p> <p>Normally, most of the Pacific Coast population of western snowy plovers would have nested on coastal sandy beaches, as they are perfectly camouflaged to blend in there. But the amount and quality of that habitat has also diminished in the last century. This absolutely adorable and delicate and charming bird*** has been resourceful enough to make nests where the sun shines on shiny white-gray salt pannes in the South Bay. Those salt pannes provide a very similar habitat to that used by the interior population of western snowy plovers in places like the Great Salt Lake, and now support over 10% of the entire Pacific Coast population! As more and more places in our project area and beyond are restored to tidal marshes, those salt pannes are being taken away. It’s critical that we successfully meet the needs of this species while doing as much marsh restoration as we can. It's challenging because this is a habitat type that is directly inconsistent with the more common goal of tidal marsh restoration, yet plovers are also a special-status species with a particularly narrow and somewhat idiosyncratic**** habitat need.</p> <p>In our Phase 2 project at the Ravenswood Ponds, next to the City of Menlo Park, we are working to strike this difficult balance by raising an existing berm between two large ponds – R4 and R3 – to better separate them from each other. Pond R4 will be breached late in 2022 (if all goes according to plan) to restore it to about 295 acres of tidal marsh. Pond R3 (at 270 acres, just to the south) is being retained and enhanced for plover nesting habitat. We’ve put in water control structures to help lower the water levels inside of R3 to make it dry and ready for plover nests each spring, and we’re raising up some of the berms around it so that it stays dry for them too. We’re also doing a study to better understand how we can effectively control predators so more plover eggs hatch and fledge instead of becoming food.</p> <p>If we can do all of that, we will have a better chance of striking this complicated balance between plover and tidal marsh species. But we couldn’t do any of this without the dedicated and talented people at SFBBO, who work amazingly hard and long hours to survey and track plovers not only on our project areas but all around the edges of San Francisco Bay. <strong>Huge</strong> thanks to Ben and the whole team there.</p> <blockquote> <p>* This title chosen with great appreciation to John (Cougar) Mellencamp and his 1979 classic, “I Need a Lover,” which includes the lyrics, “that won’t drive me crazy, someone who will thrill me and then go away…”. We really do need plover, and we want them to nest, lay eggs, hatch, and fledge, which really would be thrilling. And then we need them to get out of the way so we can finish the construction I describe in the latter part of this post. It’s almost too perfect. And it beat out a modification of Paul Simon’s “50 Ways to Count Your Plover.”<br /> ** This is probably obvious, but just to be clear: this is not all I am wearing. I am also in pants, a shirt, a hat, etc. This blog post would paint an even more surreal and ridiculous picture if that were not the case.<br /> *** Seriously cute. See, for example, the photos <a href="https://www.andytownsf.com/andytown-blog/2021/9/13/an-interview-with-snowy-plover-biologist-jessica-gonzlez">here</a> and <a href="https://www.sfbbo.org/wingbeat-blog/plover-rescue-kicks-off-sfbbos-40th-anniversary-40-from-the-field-series">here</a>.<br /> **** It’s not completely unique, though, because endangered California least terns can and do also share these needs.<br />  </p> </blockquote> </div> <div class="field--name-field-image"> <div class="field__item"> <figure role="group" class="caption caption-img"> <a href="https://www.southbayrestoration.org/sites/default/files/default_images/Dave%20Halsing%202%201-9-21%20cropped.jpg" title="Dave Halsing" data-colorbox-gallery="gallery-blog-2314-tamkOnB7pTQ" class="colorbox" data-cbox-img-attrs="{&quot;title&quot;:&quot;Dave Halsing&quot;,&quot;alt&quot;:&quot;Dave Halsing&quot;}"><img src="/sites/default/files/default_images/Dave%20Halsing%202%201-9-21%20cropped.jpg" width="2517" height="2029" alt="Dave Halsing" title="Dave Halsing" typeof="foaf:Image" /> </a> <figcaption>Dave Halsing</figcaption> </figure> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-thumbnail field--type-image field--label-above"> <div class="field__label">Thumbnail</div> <div class="field__item"> <img src="/sites/default/files/2022-08/img_6060compress.jpg" width="1024" height="768" alt="A freshly banded plover chick" typeof="foaf:Image" /> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-blog-category field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field__items"> <div class="field__item"><a href="/blog-categories/term-5" hreflang="en">Bay Spotlight</a></div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-blog-display field--type-list-string field--label-above"> <div class="field__label">Blog Display</div> <div class="field__item">Thumbnail</div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-author field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field__items"> <div class="field__item"><a href="/authors/dave-halsing" hreflang="en">Dave Halsing</a></div> </div> Fri, 19 Aug 2022 23:04:26 +0000 ariela 2314 at https://www.southbayrestoration.org https://www.southbayrestoration.org/blog/i-need-plover#comments Musings on Watersheds https://www.southbayrestoration.org/blog/musings-watersheds <span class="field field--name-title field--type-string field--label-hidden">Musings on Watersheds</span> <span class="field field--name-uid field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden"><span lang="" about="/user/113" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">ariela</span></span> <span class="field field--name-created field--type-created field--label-hidden">Fri, 07/29/2022 - 10:51</span> <div class="clearfix text-formatted field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field__item"><p>One of my goals in 2022 (only partially satisfied) has been to remember to notice and appreciate the things that are mundane and common but that are impressive, important, beautiful, or just cool to think about.</p> <p>In that latter category is the concept of a watershed.</p> <p>Every time I go to the Sierra Nevada, I notice the grand divides between watersheds. It’s hard not to notice when you’ve driven over Donner Pass or Echo Summit, for example. And when I’m hiking in Yosemite, I can’t avoid feeling every step up and over Donahue Pass and out of the Tuolumne River drainage. It is neat-beyond-neat to be way up in the mountains and reflect on the different paths that waters take on one side of a ridge or the other – what the fate of a drop of water might be, what kinds of plants will take it up, what kinds of rocks it will erode, and what body of water – if any! – it will eventually flow into.</p> <p>Here in the Bay Area, of course, it’s a little less obvious when you are leaving one watershed and entering another. Our local mountains are not as tall, and many ridgelines are less well defined. The waterways themselves are highly modified, and the streams are often underground or in channels, so we don’t always notice it or think much about it. Certainly, on the west side of the Bay – on the Peninsula, for example – it’s fairly obvious when you cross Skyline Boulevard and note that there are huge redwood trees on one side of the road and oak-chaparral woodlands on the other.</p> <p>But the shifts between, say, the Moraga Creek and Las Trampas Creek drainages are less clear.</p> <p><a href="http://explore.museumca.org/creeks/AA-OBSanLeandro.html">Moraga Creek</a>’s headwaters begin east of the Berkeley Hills in Orinda. The creek flows largely west-southwest and goes into and through reservoirs that are part of the East Bay Municipal Utility District’s local water supply. It meanders through parts of the East Bay Regional Park District’s portfolio of recreational assets before continuing west through San Leandro and Oakland and meeting San Leandro Bay near Oakland Airport. It’s fairly straightforward. But <a href="http://explore.museumca.org/creeks/AA-OBEastCoCo.html">Las Trampas Creek</a> – just a few hundred yards away and over the hilltop home of the Geissberger Observatory at St. Mary’s College in Moraga – flows east-northeast and meanders all over the eastern side of the hills before going underground below downtown Walnut Creek and eventually meeting the eponymous creek itself, as it flows straight north into Suisun Bay.</p> <p>I know this sounds kind of like a late-night college dorm room conversation, man*, but I still like it. I think it’s important to remain conscious of the underlying natural terrain that we occupy, and I want to pause now and then to reflect on where waters flow and what grows where and why.</p> <blockquote> <p>*This is the closest I’m coming to a joke in this one.</p> </blockquote> </div> <div class="field--name-field-image"> <div class="field__item"> <figure role="group" class="caption caption-img"> <a href="https://www.southbayrestoration.org/sites/default/files/default_images/Dave%20Halsing%202%201-9-21%20cropped.jpg" title="Dave Halsing" data-colorbox-gallery="gallery-blog-2310-tamkOnB7pTQ" class="colorbox" data-cbox-img-attrs="{&quot;title&quot;:&quot;Dave Halsing&quot;,&quot;alt&quot;:&quot;Dave Halsing&quot;}"><img src="/sites/default/files/default_images/Dave%20Halsing%202%201-9-21%20cropped.jpg" width="2517" height="2029" alt="Dave Halsing" title="Dave Halsing" typeof="foaf:Image" /> </a> <figcaption>Dave Halsing</figcaption> </figure> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-thumbnail field--type-image field--label-above"> <div class="field__label">Thumbnail</div> <div class="field__item"> <img src="/sites/default/files/2022-07/san_leandro_reservoir_pacificcoasttrails.jpg" width="2048" height="1536" alt="San Leandro Reservoir absorbs Moraga Creek. Credit: Steven at Komoot.com" typeof="foaf:Image" /> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-blog-category field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field__items"> <div class="field__item"><a href="/blog-categories/term-5" hreflang="en">Bay Spotlight</a></div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-blog-display field--type-list-string field--label-above"> <div class="field__label">Blog Display</div> <div class="field__item">Thumbnail</div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-author field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field__items"> <div class="field__item"><a href="/authors/dave-halsing" hreflang="en">Dave Halsing</a></div> </div> Fri, 29 Jul 2022 17:51:11 +0000 ariela 2310 at https://www.southbayrestoration.org https://www.southbayrestoration.org/blog/musings-watersheds#comments Remaking the Connections https://www.southbayrestoration.org/blog/remaking-connections <span class="field field--name-title field--type-string field--label-hidden">Remaking the Connections</span> <span class="field field--name-uid field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden"><span lang="" about="/user/113" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">ariela</span></span> <span class="field field--name-created field--type-created field--label-hidden">Thu, 07/07/2022 - 12:11</span> <div class="clearfix text-formatted field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field__item"><p>Remember craigslist?</p> <p>Seems like a million years ago, and it was definitely pre-social media, but craigslist was a virtually free online, geographically oriented marketplace for housing, vehicles, furniture, recreation equipment, dates, and whatever else. Back in the day, I found one apartment, multiple housemates, and a bicycle using craigslist, and it didn’t cost me a thing.</p> <p>Not sure exactly why that business model didn’t continue to dominate…but “CL” still exists! One of the oddest and most entertaining parts of the site is the <em>Missed Connections</em> section. In it, people would post notes to people they’d seen out in the world and thought looked interesting. They’d include location details and clothes or appearance to help the reader know who they meant. Here’s one from today:</p> <p>“We just passed each other at the market on Taraval Street. That was just a good friend I was with. If you see this, drop a line.”</p> <p>It’s hard to believe that big of a long shot has <strong>ever</strong> worked in the history of humanity…but I digress.</p> <p>What I wanted to get to was all of the “missed connections” between the creeks that drain our local watersheds and the tidal marshes and mud flats of San Francisco Bay.</p> <p>Sediment supply is a big deal <a href="https://www.southbayrestoration.org/blog/slick-strategy-spiking-sediment-supply">in the Bay Area</a>. In the pre-development times, sediments carried by these streams were deposited onto the mudflats or in the marshes, providing an ongoing natural supply that helped the marshes adapt to changes in tidal elevations over time. But almost all of these creeks have been dammed, channelized, leveed, or otherwise modified for flood management, water supply, or development reasons, and so the sediment gets trapped behind dams, deposits in creeks, or shoots speedily all the way out into the deeper waters of the Bay. It either never reaches the areas where it is most needed, or it bypasses them.</p> <p>Because of expected sea level rise and reduced sediment supplies from the Sierra Nevada, we need more sediment than ever, and are definitely missing those connections now. Makes me want to write a CL ad.*</p> <p>Anyway, one of the best tools we have to address the sediment supply issue is to reconnect these creeks to our marsh restoration areas. This would not only help our restoration efforts succeed, but if properly done, it could also reduce creek maintenance costs and associated upstream flood risk. Our Project has completed a few of these reconnections with creeks and watersheds in the South Bay, including Guadalupe River and Coyote Creek near and around San Jose. We’re also working toward others, including Stevens Creek, as part of our Phase 2 work at the Mountain View Ponds; at Calabazas and San Tomas Aquino Creeks on the northern end of San Jose, in a joint project we are advancing with Valley Water; and at Alameda Creek near Union City at our Eden Landing Ponds.</p> <p>We’re hoping that we can keep fixing these missed connections.</p> <blockquote> <p>*You: A seasonally spiky creek that flows past me every day. I catch your eye on occasion, but we never quite get over the wall between us. Me: An earnest, 120-acre former salt-production pond looking for a lifestyle change. In search of dirt and connections to a stream and full tidal exchange. Coffee?</p> </blockquote> <p> </p> </div> <div class="field--name-field-image"> <div class="field__item"> <figure role="group" class="caption caption-img"> <a href="https://www.southbayrestoration.org/sites/default/files/2022-07/2946080-r01-005trimmedcompresscreditmarkbittner_0.jpg" title="Island Ponds are breached to Coyote Creek. Credit: Mark Bittner" data-colorbox-gallery="gallery-blog-2305-tamkOnB7pTQ" class="colorbox" data-cbox-img-attrs="{&quot;alt&quot;:&quot;Island Ponds are breached to Coyote Creek. Credit: Mark Bittner&quot;}"><img src="/sites/default/files/2022-07/2946080-r01-005trimmedcompresscreditmarkbittner_0.jpg" width="1024" height="664" alt="Island Ponds are breached to Coyote Creek. Credit: Mark Bittner" typeof="foaf:Image" /> </a> <figcaption>Island Ponds are breached to Coyote Creek. Credit: Mark Bittner</figcaption> </figure> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-thumbnail field--type-image field--label-above"> <div class="field__label">Thumbnail</div> <div class="field__item"> <img src="/sites/default/files/2022-07/2946080-r01-005trimmedcompresscreditmarkbittner.jpg" width="1024" height="664" alt="Island Ponds are breached to Coyote Creek, 2006. Credit: Mark Bittner" typeof="foaf:Image" /> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-blog-category field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field__items"> <div class="field__item"><a href="/blog-categories/term-5" hreflang="en">Bay Spotlight</a></div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-blog-display field--type-list-string field--label-above"> <div class="field__label">Blog Display</div> <div class="field__item">Thumbnail</div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-author field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field__items"> <div class="field__item"><a href="/authors/dave-halsing" hreflang="en">Dave Halsing</a></div> </div> Thu, 07 Jul 2022 19:11:29 +0000 ariela 2305 at https://www.southbayrestoration.org https://www.southbayrestoration.org/blog/remaking-connections#comments Another Partnership: Save The Bay https://www.southbayrestoration.org/blog/another-partnership-save-bay <span class="field field--name-title field--type-string field--label-hidden">Another Partnership: Save The Bay</span> <span class="field field--name-uid field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden"><span lang="" about="/user/113" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">ariela</span></span> <span class="field field--name-created field--type-created field--label-hidden">Fri, 06/03/2022 - 09:27</span> <div class="clearfix text-formatted field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field__item"><p>If you’ve been reading this blog at all – and I know that you have Mom, so don’t try to deny it – you know that we feel strongly about the importance of <strong>partnerships</strong> to the success of our Project.</p> <p>This blog has already featured a couple: I wrote about the Ravenswood-area stormwater management effort called the <a href="https://www.southbayrestoration.org/blog/collaboration-key">Bayfront Canal and Atherton Channel Project</a>, and Julie Beagle and I wrote about how we and the Army Corps of Engineers are planning for a pilot project to test the <a href="https://www.southbayrestoration.org/blog/slick-strategy-spiking-sediment-supply">strategic placement of dredged sediment</a>. Those are fun reads if you haven’t already seen them.</p> <p>Clearly, the importance of partnership is a topic that bears some repeating. And that’s what this post is about, too.</p> <p>I’ve written before about ecotone slopes, which are also called habitat transition zones, upland transition zones, or even horizontal levees. Those terms are a little jargony, which my editor always scolds me for, so let me first explain that. These important landforms are essentially gently sloped piles of dirt that connect the bottoms of former salt ponds to the uplands or levees behind them. In the salt-making days, the ponds themselves tended to be like big bathtubs, with steep sides leading down to a flat bottom. That means they only have very small amounts of habitat at each elevation. In a natural system, there are broader slopes extending down from the uplands, through the various marsh elevations, and into the tidal mudflats. This gives animals more space to hang out as the tides rise and fall and makes it easier for them to make it to higher ground during storms and as sea levels rise.</p> <p>We are trying to recreate something like these natural slopes by bringing in dirt and placing it in the ponds to build these habitat transition zones. We are doing that now at the Mountain View Ponds, the Ravenswood Ponds, and in the far South Bay near Alviso at the A8 Ponds. We’ve got more habitat slopes planned for Eden Landing in the coming years.</p> <p>But what happens once the dirt is in place?</p> <p>In the lower portions of these habitat slopes, the tides will bring in propagules of pickleweed and other plants, and they settle out on the sediment and start growing. So that part is easy.</p> <p>But in the middle and upper portions of these features, we need to get some native plants in there so that the whole thing doesn’t just become a weed farm.* </p> <p>Weeds around the edges of tidal marshes tend to be invasive species that are good at growing in disturbed areas with nutrient-poor soils and low water conditions. These tend to be things like black mustard, fennel, Russian thistle, slenderleaf ice plant, and common mallow. These plants just move right in and can easily crowd out the native plants that we (and the marsh wildlife!) want to be there.</p> <p>Where do our native plants come from? Well, we are extremely lucky to have a partnership with Save The Bay, which not only has some nursery space of its own but has also procured additional nursery space to grow those plants and develop seed collections for planting our habitat transition zones.</p> <p>They don’t stop there, though! They also organize volunteer events wherein enthusiastic helpers (yes, you can join in!) plant the mature plants and spread the saved seeds in place.</p> <p>It’s truly a heroic effort, with years of planning and investments of time and money and expertise to grow the plants in advance of us actually being ready to receive them.</p> <p>Save The Bay recently completed planting on one of the two habitat slopes we have built at Ravenswood, and they are currently growing plants for the second one. They expect to complete planting late this fall.</p> <p>In the next week or so, Jessie Olson of Save The Bay will contribute a guest post with more details on their fine work at Ravenswood and elsewhere.** I am eagerly looking forward to it!</p> <blockquote> <p>*No…not <strong><em>that</em></strong> kind of weed farm. I mean, a dense thicket of weedy plants. Go back to the main text…you’ll see what I mean.<br /> **Jessie also presented on this topic at our recent Science Symposium and did a terrific job. Check out the recording here if you didn’t see it live.</p> </blockquote> </div> <div class="field--name-field-image"> <div class="field__item"> <figure role="group" class="caption caption-img"> <a href="https://www.southbayrestoration.org/sites/default/files/2022-06/dsc_8716_copy_compressed_0.jpg" title="Save The Bay hard at work in Ravenswood. Credit: Ivan Parr" data-colorbox-gallery="gallery-blog-2270-tamkOnB7pTQ" class="colorbox" data-cbox-img-attrs="{&quot;alt&quot;:&quot;Save The Bay hard at work in Ravenswood. Credit: Ivan Parr&quot;}"><img src="/sites/default/files/2022-06/dsc_8716_copy_compressed_0.jpg" width="1024" height="683" alt="Save The Bay hard at work in Ravenswood. Credit: Ivan Parr" typeof="foaf:Image" /> </a> <figcaption>Save The Bay hard at work in Ravenswood. Credit: Ivan Parr</figcaption> </figure> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-thumbnail field--type-image field--label-above"> <div class="field__label">Thumbnail</div> <div class="field__item"> <img src="/sites/default/files/2022-06/dsc_8716_copy_compressed.jpg" width="1024" height="683" alt="Save The Bay hard at work in Ravenswood. Credit: Ivan Parr" typeof="foaf:Image" /> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-blog-category field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field__items"> <div class="field__item"><a href="/blog-categories/term-5" hreflang="en">Bay Spotlight</a></div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-blog-display field--type-list-string field--label-above"> <div class="field__label">Blog Display</div> <div class="field__item">Thumbnail</div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-author field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field__items"> <div class="field__item"><a href="/authors/dave-halsing" hreflang="en">Dave Halsing</a></div> </div> Fri, 03 Jun 2022 16:27:20 +0000 ariela 2270 at https://www.southbayrestoration.org https://www.southbayrestoration.org/blog/another-partnership-save-bay#comments Memo to Self: Remember to Tell People Why Tidal Marsh Restoration Matters https://www.southbayrestoration.org/blog/memo-self-remember-tell-people-why-tidal-marsh-restoration-matters <span class="field field--name-title field--type-string field--label-hidden">Memo to Self: Remember to Tell People Why Tidal Marsh Restoration Matters</span> <span class="field field--name-uid field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden"><span lang="" about="/user/113" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">ariela</span></span> <span class="field field--name-created field--type-created field--label-hidden">Wed, 05/18/2022 - 12:46</span> <div class="clearfix text-formatted field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field__item"><p>If you work in the environmental field long enough, it becomes easy to forget that not everyone starts with the same understandings or intuitions that we do. For example, when I talk with members of the public or the media, I sometimes skip right over the “why” of what we are doing so I can get right to the “what,” the “when,” and the ”how” of it. That’s a mistake on my part, and I am trying to stop making it.</p> <p>It’s a challenge, though, because to practitioners in our field, many of our underlying motivations to restore tidal marsh (or undertake most other kinds of environmental work) are so ingrained that they are almost preconscious. The reason to restore feels so obviously self-evident that we don’t even think of it anymore (like the way drivers instinctively move their right foot over to the brake pedal when they see red brake lights flash in front of them). But for most other people, a little explanation and context for why we are doing this is critical to inspiring in them any sense of shared value or interest in it.</p> <p>If you’re on our website and reading this, there is a good chance that you aren’t wholly new to the importance, the benefits, and the motivations behind tidal habitat restoration. You already know about how tidal marshes provide habitat for several endangered or threatened species of wildlife and are home to many other species that are not so vulnerable but still depend on these areas.</p> <p>And you probably know that marshes absorb and disperse the energy of ocean and bay waves and are thus an important part of local flood risk management and long-term sea level rise adaptation. You may also know that they absorb at least as much atmospheric carbon dioxide (a greenhouse gas) per area as forests and are thus a part of addressing global climate change. You might even be a little bit of an expert and know that marshes help reduce water pollution and contribute to a cleaner San Francisco Bay for all manner of fish and wildlife.</p> <p>If you are reading this and <strong><em>don’t</em></strong> already know why tidal marshes are important, well, just read the above paragraph. Or check out this <a href="https://www.southbayrestoration.org/page/factsheets#anchor-why_do_we_need_wetlands%3F">handy graphic in our Wetlands 101 section</a>.</p> <p>The main point of this entry is not to restate why tidal marshes are important but rather to remind myself and you – the reader – not to take that understanding and intellectual starting point as a given. I want those of us who work on marsh restoration and other environmental improvement projects to remember to make those points clear when talking with our friends, family, and neighbors about the <strong><em>why</em></strong> of what we are doing.</p> <p>Let’s take every opportunity to convey the vital importance of enhancing and restoring habitats and ecosystems, not because it’s fun and challenging (though it is!), but because there are compelling reasons for doing it.</p> <p> </p> </div> <div class="field--name-field-image"> <div class="field__item"> <figure role="group" class="caption caption-img"> <a href="https://www.southbayrestoration.org/sites/default/files/2022-05/50692936808_5d90a6e3a6_o_0.jpg" title="Dumbarton Marsh, December 2020. Credit: Cris Benton" data-colorbox-gallery="gallery-blog-2269-tamkOnB7pTQ" class="colorbox" data-cbox-img-attrs="{&quot;alt&quot;:&quot;Dumbarton Marsh, December 2020. Credit: Cris Benton&quot;}"><img src="/sites/default/files/2022-05/50692936808_5d90a6e3a6_o_0.jpg" width="1200" height="800" alt="Dumbarton Marsh, December 2020. Credit: Cris Benton" typeof="foaf:Image" /> </a> <figcaption>Dumbarton Marsh, December 2020. Credit: Cris Benton</figcaption> </figure> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-thumbnail field--type-image field--label-above"> <div class="field__label">Thumbnail</div> <div class="field__item"> <img src="/sites/default/files/2022-05/50692936808_5d90a6e3a6_o.jpg" width="1200" height="800" alt="Dumbarton Marsh, December 2020. Credit: Cris Benton" typeof="foaf:Image" /> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-blog-category field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field__items"> <div class="field__item"><a href="/blog-categories/term-5" hreflang="en">Bay Spotlight</a></div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-blog-display field--type-list-string field--label-above"> <div class="field__label">Blog Display</div> <div class="field__item">Thumbnail</div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-author field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field__items"> <div class="field__item"><a href="/authors/dave-halsing" hreflang="en">Dave Halsing</a></div> </div> Wed, 18 May 2022 19:46:45 +0000 ariela 2269 at https://www.southbayrestoration.org https://www.southbayrestoration.org/blog/memo-self-remember-tell-people-why-tidal-marsh-restoration-matters#comments A Slick Strategy for Spiking Sediment Supply* https://www.southbayrestoration.org/blog/slick-strategy-spiking-sediment-supply <span class="field field--name-title field--type-string field--label-hidden">A Slick Strategy for Spiking Sediment Supply*</span> <span class="field field--name-uid field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden"><span lang="" about="/user/113" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">ariela</span></span> <span class="field field--name-created field--type-created field--label-hidden">Mon, 04/04/2022 - 15:31</span> <div class="clearfix text-formatted field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field__item"><blockquote> <p><strong><em>We’re trying something new here at Salty Dave’s Wetland Weblog: a two-author post!</em></strong></p> <p><strong><em>The topic below is so interesting that we needed two people to cover it. I’m joined by <a href="/authors/julie-beagle">Julie Beagle</a>, Environmental Planning Section Chief in the San Francisco District of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. I’ve used my usual imprecise language in the plain text below, and Julie has weighed in with corrections and clarifications to make the story more complete. Her words are in italics. I am grateful for Julie’s work with me on this.</em></strong></p> </blockquote> <hr /> <table border="0" cellpadding="10" cellspacing="5" style="width: 100%; vertical-align: top;"> <tbody> <tr> <td style="vertical-align: top; padding-right: 15px !important;"> <h3>DH</h3> </td> <td> <p>Here’s the situation: Sea levels are rising, including those in San Francisco Bay. Meanwhile, most of the natural sources of sediments in the Bay have diminished compared to historical supplies.</p> <p>What does sediment have to do with rising seas? Sediment is necessary to both sustain existing tidal marshes and to establish newly restored tidal marsh in the face of sea-level rise. There is every indication that it is critical to restore tidal marshes prior to the uptick in sea-level rise rates projected to begin around 2030. Similar research shows that even existing healthy marshes are at risk if the tides rise faster than sediment can accrete.</p> <p>Seems grim, right? Well, dealing with climate change is one of the biggest challenges of our time.</p> <p>But rather than curse the darkness, there are many people trying to light a candle.**</p> <p>Here in the Bay Area, one of these metaphorical candles is known as “strategic placement” of sediment. The idea is that boatloads of sediments are dredged from the shipping channels and ports of San Francisco Bay every year – literal boatloads…many hundreds of boatloads, on the order of 2.5 million cubic yards a year. Even more material is dredged from the Bay for occasional channel deepening or other port facility improvement projects. Some of this dredged material is reused to nature’s benefit in wetland restoration projects, but most of it ends up getting dumped at disposal sites either in the deeper waters of the Bay or deep ocean disposal sites outside the Golden Gate. The reasons for this are numerous, but the short story is that it’s expensive and logistically challenging to deliver dredge sediments into many restoration sites.</p> <hr /> <p> </p> </td> </tr> <tr> <td style="vertical-align: top; padding-right: 15px !important;"> <h3>JB</h3> </td> <td> <p><em>The Bay is really shallow around most of its edges. So, finding a place where a scow and tugboat can get into shallow enough water for this to work is tricky. This is where the modeling is helping us figure out which sites may work better than others for this type of pilot project.  </em></p> <hr /> <p> </p> </td> </tr> <tr> <td style="vertical-align: top; padding-right: 15px !important;"> <h3>DH</h3> </td> <td> <p>In the strategic placement idea, that dredged sediment would instead be placed in strategically advantageous locations (thus the name) in the shallow subtidal areas of the Bay near an existing marsh or restoration project that needs the sediment. Then, tidal flows and wind waves would carry it toward the shore, onto existing marshes, or into breached former salt ponds and other restoration areas.</p> <hr /> <p> </p> </td> </tr> <tr> <td style="vertical-align: top; padding-right: 15px !important;"> <h3>JB</h3> </td> <td> <p><em>It’s a way of letting the water do the work and relying on the natural processes do the heavy lifting for us. Imagine it is as mimicking a storm event that deposits sediment into the bay, and eventually that sediment makes it way to the marshes, boosting their rates of accretion, and helping them build vertically. It could also decrease the cost and the environmental impacts of reusing sediment in marsh restoration, which would otherwise require us to build infrastructure and use energy-intensive heavy machinery. And it could reduce use of disposal sites.</em></p> <p><em>Though we call it “the Bay” it is actually a well-mixed estuary. So, while most of the sediment placed would ideally move into the targeted marsh, some might also be circulated to other parts of the Bay. Modeling and then measuring and observing in the field will help us understand these processes better. Keeping sediment in the system is one of the key goals of sediment management under this new climate change regime we are trying to work within.</em></p> <hr /> <p> </p> </td> </tr> <tr> <td style="vertical-align: top; padding-right: 15px !important;"> <h3>DH</h3> </td> <td> <p>If it works – and modeling indicates that it could – this strategic placement would “spike” the natural supply of sediment and help tip the balance of marsh restoration toward keeping up with sea-level rise. Importantly, while this could help address suspended sediment supply shortfalls and serve to stabilize the system, it can’t solve it solely or single-handedly.***</p> <hr /> <p> </p> </td> </tr> <tr> <td style="vertical-align: top; padding-right: 15px !important;"> <h3>JB</h3> </td> <td> <p><em>It could also be part of a long-term sediment strategy to help marshes and mudflats be resilient to sea level rise even for a few more decades than models are predicting. (This is Julie’s pie in the sky hope.)</em></p> <hr /> <p> </p> </td> </tr> <tr> <td style="vertical-align: top; padding-right: 15px !important;"> <h3>DH</h3> </td> <td> <p>The logical next step in exploring strategic placement would be to try it as a limited pilot experiment to see how good the models are and to evaluate if the technique results in unintended consequences or impacts. But this is an important concept to advance and assess.</p> <hr /> <p> </p> </td> </tr> <tr> <td style="vertical-align: top; padding-right: 15px !important;"> <h3>JB</h3> </td> <td> <p><em>This idea has been studied, and modeled by many in the SF Bay Area, but while it’s been tried in places like the Netherlands (they call it the Mud Motor) and in the New Jersey back bays, it has not been tried in here. There are certainly risks, logistical hurdles, cost considerations, and appropriate regulatory concerns that need to be addressed, such as impacts to benthic communities, and eelgrass for example.</em></p> <hr /> <p> </p> </td> </tr> <tr> <td style="vertical-align: top; padding-right: 15px !important;"> <h3>DH</h3> </td> <td> <p>The good news is that in a recent Congressional appropriation, the Resilient San Francisco Bay Pilot Project was slated to receive $3.6 million to develop and test that concept! That pilot project will be led by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in partnership with the State Coastal Conservancy as well as the Bay Conservation and Development Commission, the Regional Water Quality Control Board, and local communities and organizations.</p> <hr /> <p> </p> </td> </tr> <tr> <td style="vertical-align: top; padding-right: 15px !important;"> <h3>JB</h3> </td> <td> <p><em>The team is busy modeling scenarios to try to get the best sense of where this might work, and how sediment can be placed to minimize impact but maximize effectiveness. If all goes according to plan, this idea could be tested somewhere in the shallows of SF Bay as soon as Summer 2023. Monitoring the impacts, sediment transport, and benefits will take months or years but hopefully give us some understanding of if this is a tool that could be part of our collective toolbox of nature-based adaptation measures.</em></p> <p><em>We have a choice to make in this region. Sea level rise is happening whether we like it or not. We can let our marshes erode and drown - and then respond to increased flooding and storm surges using sea walls and riprap (which won’t solve our problems since water comes from the ground and the watersheds too), or we can work with the power of nature to adapt using nature-based approaches. Helping existing marshes and mudflats keep pace with sea level rise and helping newly breached restoration projects get up to tidal elevations is critical to our regional goals for adaptation. We need to figure out how to use the sediment we dredge wisely, instead of letting it go to waste. Strategic placement, direct placement onto marsh plains, upland placement are all important tools to test, refine, and continue to use, (including figuring out how to fund and permit) and quickly.</em></p> <hr /> <p> </p> </td> </tr> <tr> <td style="vertical-align: top; padding-right: 15px !important;"> <h3>DH</h3> </td> <td> <p>Whether it works or not, this is one of many metaphorical candles being lit around the Bay. Let’s keep the lights on.</p> </td> </tr> </tbody> </table> <hr /> <blockquote> <p><strong><em>* Apologies for the abstruse alliteration above. I’ll attempt to abstain as I advance this argument.<br /> ** Fun Fact: The actual saying is “It is better to light a candle than to curse the darkness”, and it’s been variously attributed to Eleanor Roosevelt, Confucius, William Watkinson, the Reverend E. Pomeroy Cutler, and others. It’s also been used or referenced in Charles Schulz’s Peanuts comic strip, President John F. Kennedy’s nomination acceptance speech, and the Grateful Dead’s song “Touch of Grey”.<br /> *** Sorry.</em></strong></p> </blockquote> </div> <div class="field--name-field-image"> <div class="field__item"> <figure role="group" class="caption caption-img"> <a href="https://www.southbayrestoration.org/sites/default/files/2022-04/credit_cc_flickr_0.png" title="Birds forage on mudflats. Credit: Flickr Creative Commons" data-colorbox-gallery="gallery-blog-2242-tamkOnB7pTQ" class="colorbox" data-cbox-img-attrs="{&quot;alt&quot;:&quot;Birds forage on mudflats. Credit: Flickr Creative Commons&quot;}"><img src="/sites/default/files/2022-04/credit_cc_flickr_0.png" width="1024" height="555" alt="Birds forage on mudflats. Credit: Flickr Creative Commons" typeof="foaf:Image" /> </a> <figcaption>Birds forage on mudflats. Credit: Flickr Creative Commons</figcaption> </figure> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-thumbnail field--type-image field--label-above"> <div class="field__label">Thumbnail</div> <div class="field__item"> <img src="/sites/default/files/2022-04/credit_cc_flickr.png" width="1024" height="555" alt="Birds forage on mudflats. Credit: Flickr Creative Commons" typeof="foaf:Image" /> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-blog-category field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field__items"> <div class="field__item"><a href="/blog-categories/term-5" hreflang="en">Bay Spotlight</a></div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-blog-display field--type-list-string field--label-above"> <div class="field__label">Blog Display</div> <div class="field__item">Thumbnail</div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-author field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field__items"> <div class="field__item"><a href="/authors/dave-halsing" hreflang="en">Dave Halsing</a></div> <div class="field__item"><a href="/authors/julie-beagle" hreflang="en">Julie Beagle</a></div> </div> Mon, 04 Apr 2022 22:31:20 +0000 ariela 2242 at https://www.southbayrestoration.org https://www.southbayrestoration.org/blog/slick-strategy-spiking-sediment-supply#comments Collaboration Is the Key https://www.southbayrestoration.org/blog/collaboration-key <span class="field field--name-title field--type-string field--label-hidden">Collaboration Is the Key </span> <span class="field field--name-uid field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden"><span lang="" about="/user/161" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Dave Halsing</span></span> <span class="field field--name-created field--type-created field--label-hidden">Wed, 01/26/2022 - 13:52</span> <div class="clearfix text-formatted field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field__item"><p>If you’ve been out to the City of Menlo Park’s <a href="https://menlopark.org/Facilities/Facility/Details/Bedwell-Bayfront-Park-6">Bedwell Bayfront Park</a> recently, you have probably noticed that there is quite a bit going on there. I wrote about some of our work at that site <a href="/blog/and-more-construction">recently</a>, and I touched on the OneShoreline* organization’s Bayfront Canal and Atherton Channel Project**, more details of which are available at this <a href="https://oneshoreline.org/projects/bayfront-atherton-flood-protection/">link</a>.</p> <p>I thought I’d use this blog post as a way of highlighting these two construction projects underway in that same general area to highlight how important partnerships and collaboration and flexibility are – from <strong>many</strong> parties.</p> <p>Fans of the South Bay Salt Pond Restoration Project know that one of the three main goals of our project is to maintain or improve the current levels of flood management. That is, we absolutely must not do anything to increase flood risk or severity, and wherever possible, we try to reduce flood risk. However, since neither of the two landowners (U.S. Fish &amp; Wildlife Service and California Department of Fish and Wildlife) or the main funder (the State Coastal Conservancy) are primarily flood management/protection agencies, when we do make improvements to flood risk, we almost always do so by working with a local or regional flood management or public works agency.</p> <p>The Bayfront Canal &amp; Atherton Channel Project (BCACP for short…) is a great example of that process. The simplified story goes like this: <a href="http://explore.museumca.org/creeks/1470-OMAtherton.html">Atherton Channel</a> collects runoff mainly from Atherton, sending it downhill toward the Bay; the Bayfront Canal borders the shoreline in Redwood City &amp; part of Menlo Park. They meet near the entry road into Bedwell Bayfront Park, typically directing stormwater into a small tidal channel named Flood Slough and then out into the Bay. However, when a storm is large enough and the tide is high enough, there is nowhere for those stormwater flows to go, and they can back up and flood nearby neighborhoods and businesses.</p> <p>So, some years back, the cities of Redwood City and Menlo Park, Town of Atherton, and San Mateo County (the BCACP funding partners) worked together to design and fund a project to temporarily divert some of those peak stormwater outflows into a few of the ponds at the Don Edwards San Francisco Bay National Wildlife Refuge (Ponds R5, S5, and the S5 Forebay). Once the work is complete, the ponds will hold the water until the tide goes out, after which, the ponds can drain out into Flood Slough and then return to normal operation.</p> <p>All of these waters will flow through culverts that have been placed under the entry road into Bedwell Bayfront Park. The photo above shows the large box culverts (on the left) that the BCACP installed to direct peak flows into the ponds and (on the right) the pipe culverts we installed that will empty the flows into Flood Slough.</p> <p>We expect stormwater will only flow into these ponds during large storms that happen on average once every year or two. The rest of the time, this small pond group will function as enhanced managed ponds for waterfowl and shorebirds, with our large pipe culverts circulating water in and out of the ponds. In this way, our project goal of improving flood risk conditions by working with outside agencies could be met without substantially impacting our habitat goals.</p> <p>Our project team was supportive and encouraging of this idea and worked with these agencies to advance it. In fact, originally, we’d included this use of these ponds as one of the alternatives in our Phase 2 environmental impact report.</p> <p>OneShoreline took up the mantle of leadership on that project in 2020 and saw it through to the last stages of permitting and design. Construction began in the second half of 2021. We began construction nearby right around the same time and with the same contractor. They are both wrapping up in the coming month or two. There have been some minor logistical challenges and inconvenience, but no accidents or major problems with public access, utilities, or park closures.</p> <p>We would not be accomplishing these two complicated construction projects in such a relatively smooth manner if it weren’t for the active collaboration and flexibility of many other partners:</p> <ul> <li><strong>City of Menlo Park</strong> officials granted us an easement and have benefitted us by their flexibility and assistance with one-way traffic and other disruptions at the City’s Bedwell Bayfront Park to allow the work to proceed apace.</li> <li>We also needed flexibility from the <strong>West Bay Sanitary District</strong> and <strong>Caltrans</strong> to allow us to work around their existing infrastructure.</li> <li><strong>Cargill</strong> also granted a property easement.</li> <li>Both projects’ funders and administrators – including the <strong>California Department of Water Resources</strong>, the <strong>San Francisco Estuary Partnership</strong>, and the BCACP Project funding partners – have shown exceptional understanding of the added time needed to build these projects because of COVID-19 and other constraints.</li> </ul> <p>And of course, both sets of project proponents, contractors, and consultants had to show a lot of tenacity and follow-through to make this all happen. That includes OneShoreline, Menlo Park, Redwood City, Town of Atherton, San Mateo County Public Works, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the State Coastal Conservancy, Ducks Unlimited, CPM Associates, Graniterock, AECOM, BKF Engineering, Horizon Water &amp; Environment, Sequoia, BioMaAS, and several other subcontractors.</p> <p>We’re not yet <em>completely</em> done with construction, and I don’t like counting chickens before they are hatched. But I’m okay with counting eggs.</p> <p>So, I’m just going to point out that we have a basket full of really good eggs that helps make all of this happen. Big thanks to all of you!</p> <p><strong>Footnotes:</strong></p> <blockquote> <p>* “OneShoreline” is the short name for the San Mateo County Flood and Sea Level Rise Resiliency District. Their main website is <a href="https://oneshoreline.org/">here</a>.<br /> **The full name of that project is even longer. It’s the “Bayfront Canal &amp; Atherton Channel Flood Protection and Ecosystem Restoration Project.”</p> </blockquote> <p> </p> </div> <div class="field--name-field-image"> <div class="field__item"> <figure role="group" class="caption caption-img"> <a href="https://www.southbayrestoration.org/sites/default/files/2022-01/img_5160crop_0.jpg" title="This complex of culverts at the Ravenswood Ponds will help ease flooding of nearby neighborhoods" data-colorbox-gallery="gallery-blog-2228-tamkOnB7pTQ" class="colorbox" data-cbox-img-attrs="{&quot;alt&quot;:&quot;This complex of culverts at the Ravenswood Ponds will help ease flooding of nearby neighborhoods&quot;}"><img src="/sites/default/files/2022-01/img_5160crop_0.jpg" width="3668" height="2179" alt="This complex of culverts at the Ravenswood Ponds will help ease flooding of nearby neighborhoods" typeof="foaf:Image" /> </a> <figcaption>This complex of culverts at the Ravenswood Ponds will help ease flooding of nearby neighborhoods</figcaption> </figure> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-thumbnail field--type-image field--label-above"> <div class="field__label">Thumbnail</div> <div class="field__item"> <img src="/sites/default/files/2022-01/img_5160crop.jpg" width="3668" height="2179" alt="This complex of culverts at the Ravenswood Ponds will help ease flooding of nearby neighborhoods" typeof="foaf:Image" /> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-blog-category field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field__items"> <div class="field__item"><a href="/blog-categories/term-5" hreflang="en">Bay Spotlight</a></div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-blog-display field--type-list-string field--label-above"> <div class="field__label">Blog Display</div> <div class="field__item">Thumbnail</div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-author field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field__items"> <div class="field__item"><a href="/authors/dave-halsing" hreflang="en">Dave Halsing</a></div> </div> Wed, 26 Jan 2022 21:52:59 +0000 Dave Halsing 2228 at https://www.southbayrestoration.org https://www.southbayrestoration.org/blog/collaboration-key#comments