Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Open Space Jewel Returns to Bayview-Hunters Point

“With the first tide coming into the recently restored 
marsh area, I felt the change that will improve life in 
the surrounding community.”
Axel Rieke, Northgate Environmental Engineer on the
Yosemite Slough Wetlands Restoration Project
Candlestick Point wetland reclaimed as key habitat
Peter Fimrite, SF Chronicle, November 23, 2011

Elizabeth Goldstein, the executive director of the California State Parks Foundation, stood in the mud at Yosemite Slough on Tuesday and welcomed the reclamation of the 7-acre site as a wetland.

After years of planning and months of cleanup and construction, two new tidal bays and a sandy shell-covered island designed exclusively for birds are the featured attractions in this $9 million phase of restoration of Yosemite Slough at Candlestick Point State Recreation Area. The 10-year-old project by the parks foundation and California State Parks will bring bayside recreation to Bayview-Hunters Point.

The new 7-acre marsh area is part of the Yosemite Slough Restoration plan, which will return 34 acres of shoreline to its natural state, creating the largest contiguous wetland area in San Francisco.  Native grasses will also be planted to stabilize the muddy shoreline, and 40,000 shrubs and plants will be added for erosion control. As many as 40 children involved in the local Literacy for Environmental Justice program are raising the shrubbery and are expected to help with the planting.

An additional $10 million will be spent restoring 13 more acres, including 5 acres of wetland on the opposite side of Yosemite Slough, and up to $4 million more will be spent adding an interpretive center, parking, a trail around the site, picnic tables, restrooms and lawns by 2015, when the project is expected to be completed. The parks foundation plans to raise money for the rest of the project given that the park system is broke and Candlestick Point is on the state's closure list.

"This was a very important project for the community - not only for the recreation but because it is an environmental justice project" that involved the removal of contaminated soil and hazardous construction debris, Goldstein said.

Read the complete story on SFGate.

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