California is home to some of the most crucial and threatened wetland habitat in North America. In the northern portion of the state, the baylands of the San Francisco Estuary serve as breeding, migrating, and wintering areas for waterfowl and other wetland-dependent wildlife, including more than half of the diving ducks that winter in the Pacific Flyway. To protect this important landscape, Ducks Unlimited was recently awarded a $1.5 million grant from The Joseph and Vera Long Foundation for planning and restoration work on 5,400 acres of habitat within the estuary's San Pablo Bay National Wildlife Refuge (NWR).

Based in Walnut Creek, California, The Joseph and Vera Long Foundation is committed to supporting organizations involved with conservation, education, and healthcare in the communities of Northern California and Hawaii. "We're proud and honored to partner with DU and all the other stakeholders who are making such important contributions to these projects," said foundation President Nick Piediscalzi. "We look forward to seeing tangible and lasting restoration that will benefit the public and numerous aquatic and terrestrial species alike."

The grant will be spread over three years and will fund nearly 1,000 acres of habitat restoration on the Sears Point section of San Pablo Bay NWR. The funding will also jumpstart planning for another 4,400 acres of conservation efforts on Skaggs Island.

"Ducks Unlimited has the great pleasure of partnering with San Pablo Bay NWR staff to develop restoration plans for Skaggs Island," said DU Regional Biologist Renee Spenst. "We are thrilled that The Joseph and Vera Long Foundation will be providing generous funding to prepare preliminary plans and designs for the island, which was named for Vera Long's father, M.B. Skaggs."

A minimum of $500,000 in grant funds will be dedicated to habitat restoration on Sears Point and Skaggs Island, which will also improve public access to both sites. These landmark habitat restoration projects are two of the largest in the San Francisco Bay area and the latest in a series of efforts to restore wetlands on San Pablo Bay.