For the first time in more than 100 years, tidal waters returned in August to the former Napa Plant Site salt-production facility adjacent to the Napa River on the northern reaches of San Francisco Bay. Ducks Unlimited managed the restoration of 960 acres as part of the 1,400-acre Napa-Sonoma Marshes Wildlife Area Napa Plant Site Restoration Project.
Historical tidal marsh channels were reestablished, internal earthworks were removed, a salinity reduction breach was created, and two additional breaches were opened to restore full tidal hydrology to the site. This restored tidal system will consist of a variety of coastal habitats including salt marsh, intertidal mudflats, and channel habitat in the floodplain of the Napa River. Congressman Mike Thompson gave the keynote address at a celebration marking this momentous occasion.
Ducks Unlimited was awarded over $8.4 million from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration American Recovery and Reinvestment Act for this project, which was combined with funding from the Wildlife Conservation Board; the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation; the Gordon E. and Betty I. Moore Foundation; the David and Lucille Packard Foundation; and Cargill.
The North Bay is one of the most important wintering areas for canvasbacks and scaup in the Pacific Flyway. Restoration of coastal habitats in this area is among DU's highest priorities in California, the Pacific Flyway, and the continent.