SACRAMENTO, Calif. – July 18, 2014 – Ducks Unlimited (DU) was recently awarded a $1.5 million grant from The Joseph and Vera Long Foundation for planning and restoration of 5,400 acres of habitat within the San Pablo Bay National Wildlife Refuge (NWR), specifically on Skaggs Island and Sears Point.
The grant will be spread over three years and will help fund nearly 1,000 acres of lasting habitat restoration at Sears Point and provide funding to jumpstart planning for another 4,400 acres at Skaggs Island. It will also include at least $500,000 of habitat restoration, all while improving public access at both sites. These landmark projects are two of the larger restoration initiatives in the San Francisco Bay Area and the latest in a suite of efforts to restore the San Pablo Baylands to wetlands.
“Ducks Unlimited has the great pleasure of partnering with the Refuge in developing restoration plans for the island,” said DU Biologist Renee Spenst. “We are thrilled that The Joseph and Vera Long Foundation will be providing a substantial amount of funding to prepare preliminary plans and designs for Skaggs Island, which was named for Vera Long’s father, M.B. Skaggs. Sears Point, where construction is already underway, provides a perfect complement, in that The Joseph & Vera Long Foundation funds will enable us to complete construction there.”
The Joseph & Vera Long Foundation seeks to conserve the natural environment of Northern California and Hawaii by supporting efforts in the areas of habitat preservation, access to public lands, environmental education and scientific research. The Foundation supports projects that have realistic goals and benefits and are responsive to the needs of the local economy and community.
“We’re proud and honored to partner with DU and all the other stakeholders who are making such important contributions to these projects,” said Nick Piediscalzi, president of The Joseph and Vera Long Foundation. “We look forward to seeing tangible, lasting restoration that will benefit the public and numerous aquatic and terrestrial species alike.”
California contains some of the most critical and threatened wetland habitat in North America. This includes the San Francisco Estuary, the largest estuary system on the Pacific Coast. The baylands are important to a large number of waterfowl, shorebirds, waterbirds and other wetland-dependent wildlife for breeding, migrating and wintering. The baylands also provide wintering habitat for more than half of the diving duck population in the Pacific Flyway.
Sears Point was acquired by Sonoma Land Trust with the help of numerous federal, state and private partners. Sixteen partners are collaborating to complete the complex $15.3 million Sears Point Restoration Project, which recently broke ground. Skaggs Island is in the early planning stage and will almost certainly require a similarly broad coalition of partners to complete.
Ducks Unlimited Inc. is the world’s largest non-profit organization dedicated to conserving North America's continually disappearing waterfowl habitats. Established in 1937, Ducks Unlimited has conserved nearly 15 million acres thanks to contributions from more than a million supporters across the continent. Guided by science and dedicated to program efficiency, DU works toward the vision of wetlands sufficient to fill the skies with waterfowl today, tomorrow and forever. For more information on our work, visit www.ducks.org. Connect with us on our Facebook page at facebook.com/DucksUnlimited, follow our tweets at twitter.com/DucksUnlimited and watch DU videos at youtube.com/DucksUnlimitedInc.