Local environment, economy to benefit
|This DU-restored wetland was once a salt pond located across the Napa River from the new project site.|
RANCHO CORDOVA, Calif. – June 30, 2009 – The San Francisco Bay area got a boost today with an $8.5-million grant to stimulate the economy while conserving critical wildlife habitat. The grant was awarded to Ducks Unlimited by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. Ducks Unlimited will use the money to restore approximately 1,300 acres of former salt evaporation ponds to estuarine tidal marsh. The project is located at the California Department of Fish and Game Napa-Sonoma Wildlife Area.
"This is a great day, not only for citizens of the San Francisco Bay area, who will soon see $8.5 million pumped into their local economy, but also for millions of waterfowl and other wildlife, including endangered fish and shorebirds," said Rudy Rosen, director of DU's Western Regional Office. "This is one of the largest grants Ducks Unlimited has ever received, and the implications for conservation are huge."
Ducks Unlimited plans to begin work on the project immediately. It's part of a much larger complex of restored and soon-to-be restored salt ponds in the San Pablo Bay. The former salt ponds once produced road salt through a complex process of evaporation, but the high salinity prohibited aquatic species from thriving in the water. Once restored, the marshes will provide important habitat for multiple threatened and endangered fish and wildlife species, particularly Coho salmon, steelhead, green sturgeon, Delta smelt, and least tern and snowy plover.
"This project also lies in the San Francisco Estuary, which is one of the most important staging and wintering habitats for waterfowl in western North America," said Rosen. "More than 30 species of waterfowl occur here, including fifty percent of the entire flyway's diving ducks and one of the largest concentrations of wintering canvasbacks on the continent."
Log on to www.ducks.org/bayarea for video, photos and more information.
With more than a million supporters, Ducks Unlimited is the world's largest and most effective wetland and waterfowl conservation organization with almost 12 million acres conserved. The United States alone has lost more than half of its original wetlands - nature's most productive ecosystem - and continues to lose more than 80,000 wetland acres each year.