fire on the dunes at Ocean Ranch

Courtesy of California Department of Fish and Wildlife

Crews used fire to remove invasive grasses at the Ocean Ranch Restoration Project on the Eel River Wildlife Area in Humboldt County.


California officials recently awarded Ducks Unlimited more than $11 million for continuing work at two wetland projects on California’s north coast and in the San Francisco Bay. 

Recently, the California Coastal Conservancy announced Ducks Unlimited would receive up to $10.9 million for the second phase of the South Bay Salt Pond Restoration Project in Alameda and Santa Clara counties. The funds will be used for habitat work on the Congressman Pete Stark Ecological Reserve at Eden Landing (formerly known as Eden Landing Ecological Reserve) and at Don Edwards San Francisco Bay National Wildlife Refuge lands near Mountain View. 

The project is part of a decades-long, multiagency effort to restore wetlands along 15,100 acres of former industrial salt-evaporation ponds in South San Francisco Bay. The latest grant augments the more than $21 million Ducks Unlimited has already received from the Coastal Conservancy for the project, as well as local funding and multiple federal grants. 

The ongoing work benefits waterfowl and shorebirds as well as other wildlife, including the endangered salt marsh harvest mouse. Eden Landing and Don Edwards also provide local outdoor recreation, including waterfowl hunting in certain areas, in the heart of the heavily urbanized Bay Area. 

Ocean Ranch project moves forward

The Coastal Conservancy also awarded Ducks Unlimited $426,000 for the Ocean Ranch Restoration Project on the Eel River Wildlife Area in Humboldt County. The funds will be used to repair damage from the 2022/23 winter storms, increase resilience to future storms and to install public access amenities and interpretive signs. This latest round of funding augments a 2021 Coastal Conservancy grant to Ducks Unlimited of $4.5 million.

Ducks Unlimited and its state and federal partners have restored and improved 570 acres of salt marshes at Ocean Ranch. These habitats are important to resident and migratory birds and provide food sources and sanctuaries for various fish species. In addition, California Department of Fish and Wildlife began treatment of European beach grass on the dunes that will lead to restoration of native plants. Removing the invasive grass helps the dunes to naturally shift and move with the wind and tides. The local Wiyot Tribe supported the project. In January, Ocean Ranch reopened to waterfowl hunting and other public access, after two years of being closed for construction work.

“We’ve already lost far too many of California’s wetlands along our coast and estuaries over the years,” said Jeff McCreary, director of operations for Ducks Unlimited’s Western Region. “Those that are left are threatened by climate change and rising seas. The work Ducks Unlimited and our partners are doing highlights our commitment to saving and expanding these important habitats.” 

Ducks Unlimited Inc. is the world's largest nonprofit organization dedicated to conserving North America's continually disappearing wetlands. Established in 1937, Ducks Unlimited has conserved 16 million acres across the continent and more than 808,000 acres in California. 

Media Contact: 
Ryan Sabalow, Western Region - Communications Coordinator 
(916) 805-1210