A long-awaited project to restore over 400 acres of tidal wetlands and enhance about 200 acres of subtidal habitat in the Grizzly Bay area of the Suisun Marsh kicked off last Monday with a groundbreaking event celebrating the first of the projects designed to restore 9,000 acres of tidal wetlands under the California EcoRestore program.
The property was previously privately owned and managed as the Tule Red Duck Club and was diked off 100 years ago to create freshwater habitat favored by game ducks.
The Santa Clara Valley Water District contributed a little over $400,000 of the $1.23 million purchase price to help acquire the property, and additional funds through its membership fees to the State and Federal Contractors Water Agency, for the planning, design, environmental documentation, permitting and construction of the project. The State and Federal Contractors Water Agency is a joint powers authority of various water agencies that receive water transported across the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta by the State Water Project and federal Central Valley Project. The organization supports robust science and habitat restoration projects to improve the Bay-Delta ecosystem and, by doing so helps its member agencies in assuring a sufficient and reliable high-quality water supply from the State Water Project and Central Valley Project.
Restoring tidal wetlands improves habitat for threatened and endangered native fish species, such as Delta smelt and salmon. But why would a water district in Santa Clara County contribute to a project 50 miles away? It’s because this project helps water agencies meet the permit requirements imposed by state and federal fish and wildlife agencies for operation of the State Water Project and federal Central Valley Project that provide water to agencies such as the Santa Clara Valley Water District. Over 95 percent of the Delta’s wetlands have been lost since the 1880s. The Tule Red Tidal Restoration project will help to restore some of those important habitats. It is scheduled to be completed in fall of 2018.