The East Bay Regional Park District and officials from federal, state and local government celebrated the upcoming restoration of Breuner Marsh, part of the Point Pinole Regional Shoreline, with a groundbreaking ceremony Tuesday, April 22, at 11 a.m. at the northernmost end of Goodrick Avenue in Richmond, California.
• U.S. Representative George Miller (CA-11)
• Jared Blumenfeld, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Regional Administrator
• Damian Higgins, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Regional Administrator for Environmental Quality Programs
• Whitney Dotson, Board Member of the East Bay Regional Park District (EBRPD)
• Sam Schuchat, Executive Officer of the California Coastal Conservancy
• Amy Worth, Mayor of Orinda and chair of Metropolitan Transportation Commission
“The [upcoming] restoration of Breuner Marsh is the culmination of a long-time community effort to protect the marsh from development, including an airport, three housing projects and a business park,” said Park District Board Member Whitney Dotson. “It’s one of the largest Park District restoration projects with diverse funding.”
The Breuner Marsh Restoration and Public Access Project will restore wetlands and coastline prairie, protect the endangered California clapper rail (which has recently been seen nesting) and saltmarsh harvest mouse, as well as provide public access to the San Francisco Bay shoreline. The project will restore approximately 60 acres of wetlands in the 150-acre area, creating a self-sustaining wetland complex that will filter polluted run-off, support native plant and animal species, and is one of the Park District’s first opportunities to construct a project to withstand the effects of rising sea levels through the end of the century.
“I would like to acknowledge the assistance of Congressman George Miller in helping us with the EPA to make this marsh restoration and shoreline access project a priority. We are nearing the culmination of a 20-year effort to acquire and restore this marsh. Close to $20 million dollars was leveraged from more than 10 grant agencies for this important project,” said Robert E. Doyle, General Manager.
The project also includes adding a 1.5-mile extension of the San Francisco Bay Trail along the Richmond shoreline. Three hundred thirty-five miles are completed, with 32 miles in Richmond – the most in any city.
The public will finally have access to this beautiful shoreline, and the nearby communities will gain the most benefit, with new recreational opportunities such as walking, picnicking, and bike riding. An additional benefit is the protection of the scenic open space, with magnificent views of the San Francisco Bay and headlands.
“As a kid from nearby Parchester Village, I could see the marsh was a valuable resource. As I grew older, I learned what a truly important asset this shoreline was, and decided I would do whatever I could to ensure it was protected for the community. We are very fortunate to have representatives like Congressman George Miller who recognize the importance of protecting our natural resources for future generations. Thanks to our diverse funders, this beautiful marsh is protected for the entire Bay Area,” said Dotson.
Funders for this project include:
• East Bay Regional Park District
• U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
• California Coastal Conservancy
• California Wildlife Conservation Board
• Plan Bay Area Priority Conservation Areas
• Castro Cove Trustees
• U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
• Bay Area Integrated Regional Water Management Plan
• California State Parks
• Bay Area Conservation and Development Commission
• San Francisco Bay Trail Program
The Park District acquired the property for $6,800,000 in 2011 through a three-year eminent domain process that included appeals all the way to the State Supreme Court.
As part of the event, students who are learning about environmental studies from Vista High and Manzanita middle schools in Richmond attended the Breuner Marsh groundbreaking.
The East Bay Regional Park District is a system of beautiful public parks and trails in Alameda and Contra Costa counties east of San Francisco Bay, established in 1934. The system comprises 114,000+ acres in 65 parks including over 1,200 miles of trails for hiking, biking, horseback riding and nature learning. Find out more at www.ebparks.org.
In the News
Richmond: Major restoration of Breuner Marsh wetlands begins, Contra Costa Times/Bay Area News Group, April 22, 2014 Accompanying video clip by Contra Costa Times photographer Kristopher Skinner.
North Richmond shoreline transformed into open space, San Francisco Chronicle, April 23, 2014
Groundbreaking takes place on new wetland restoration project, KGO Radio Online, April 22, 2014. Story also covered on ABC local news.
Breuner Marsh Groundbreaking, New Tang Dynasty Chinese language TV
Grants Available for San Francisco Bay Watershed Restoration (USA), Dredging Today
Beginning with fourth from left: EBRPD Board Member John Sutter; Richmond Councilman Nathaniel Bates; California Department of Parks and Recreation Deputy Director, External Affairs, Sedrick Mitchell; Sam Schuchat; Damien Higgins; Robert E. Doyle; Richmond Councilman Corky Boozé; Rep. George Miller; Jared Blumenfeld; Whitney Dotson; Dr. Henry Clark (North Richmond Municipal Advisory Council); Amy Worth; EBRPD Environmental Program Manager Brad Olson; flanked at left and right by students from Vista High School, Richmond.
Above: EBRPD Board Member Whitney Dotson addresses the gathered audience at Breuner Marsh, Point Pinole Regional Shoreline, on April 22, 2014.
Above: Rep. George Miller is joined on stage by middle and high school students at the groundbreaking ceremony for the Breuner Marsh Restoration Project, Point Pinole Regional Shoreline, April 22, 2014.
Photographs: Lincoln Chu for EBRPD