Sonoma Land Trust's Sear's Point Restoration Plan
The Sears Point Wetlands and Watershed Restoration Project Final Preliminary Plan from 2007 seems to be a relatively good example of how ecological concepts and social and economic considerations are incorporated into a Restoration plan. I am unable to comment on their criteria for success at this point because a monitoring plan is forthcoming.
Stakeholders were involved throughout the process, including adjacent landowners, scientists.
Relationship to landscape scale, regional setting and other restoration projects were considered in the project scoping and the existing conditions description. The use of “landscape planning units” as a main planning principle brings elements of landscape ecology and community assembly in to play.
Opportunities and Constraints analysis took into consideration ecological resources, topography and hydrology, flood protection, infrastructure, invasive species, and public access. Additional considerations included cultural resources, sea level rise, hunting activities, contaminated soil, mercury, mosquito production, agriculture conversion, and existing land use. I was disappointed that climate change and sea level rise were only considered as an “additional consideration” and not a major driver in the decision of whether or not to restore the wetland.
The plan includes one specific restoration project (Diked Baylands Restoration and Enhancement), and a section devoted to watershed (upland areas) management and enhancement. I will focus on the former. The restoration plan built upon the existing conditions and opportunities and constraints chapters. The Plan started with design goals, moved into an alternatives analysis, included supporting design elements (engineering models, trails, utility relocation), site management (storm water, vegetation management, mosquito control, adaptive management), operations and maintenance, a cost estimate, and an alternatives comparison. It is not clear in the document which alternative was chosen as the preferred alternative to be implemented, or when implementation will begin. The “economic consideration” was simply the inclusion and consideration of implementation costs. It is also not clear whether this will weigh heavily in the Sonoma land Trust’s decision of which alternative to implement.
Overall, I think the plan is well organized and well grounded in ecological theory. It would have been a stronger plan if future conditions were considered a bit more strongly throughout the plan.