Yosemite Slough Wetland Restoration

Note: much of this information is from a talk I attended 2 weeks ago about the Yosemite Slough restoration project.

Yosemite slough was recently "restored" by WRA Environmental Consultants. The project is part of the larger Candlestick Point State Recreation Area, which is in the planning and design stages. The site is also adjacent to the large development proposed at Bayview-Hunter's Point. (See photo). The project was surrounded by industrial sites and vacant lots. The vacant lots were purchased, and the land was bought for restoration purposes.

The project was funded primarily through mitigation from BART, SFO, and other sources, who needed to recreate tidal marsh habitat that they had previously destroyed. The rest of the funding came from the proposed adjacent development. Thus, the criteria for success was simply the creation of enough tidal marsh habitat to offset what was destroyed.

Sea-level-rise was taken into consideration for the project, in that the site was graded to allow tidal marsh habitat to gradually move uphill in response to sea level changes. Under current regulations, mitigation projects are considered successful if they create sufficient habitat within 5 years. However, after 5 years, all bets are off. The huge irony inherent in this project is that millions of dollars were spent to recreate tidal marsh habitat that will be completely underwater by 2080!! The question then becomes, how can restoration in the name of mitigation be justified when the temporal scale of regulations is only 5 years, particularly when sea level rise is taken into consideration?

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