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Local Dignitaries Break Ground on Breuner Marsh Restoration Project

The project will restore 60 acres of wetlands and coastal prairie.

Map courtesy: Google Maps
Map courtesy: Google Maps
After 20 years and nearly $20 million raised, a project to restore marshland and expand public access along the Richmond shoreline is underway, East Bay Regional Park District officials announced. Federal, state and local officials were among the dozens of people gathered at Breuner Marsh this morning for a news conference and groundbreaking for the restoration project.
 
"The 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," park district Board Member Whitney Dotson said in a written statement.
 
Dotson was one of many local activists who rallied for years against proposed developments that threatened the marshland and helped raise nearly $20 million from 10 grantees to preserve the area.
 
"As a kid from nearby Parchester Village, I could see the marsh was a valuable resource," Dotson said. "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."
 
In 2011, the park district was able to acquire the marsh for about $8 million, clearing the way for a restoration project, according to district officials. The project will restore about 60 acres of wetlands and coastal prairie, protect endangered species such as the California clapper rail and create a buffer zone to protect the area against the effects of rising sea levels, district officials said.
 
The project will also enable the public to more easily access the marshland with a 1.5-mile extension of the San Francisco Bay Trail along the Richmond shore and provide more space for walking, bike riding and picnicking.
 
Tuesday's Earth Day news conference was also an opportunity for Environmental Protection Agency officials to announce $5 million in agency grants for five projects to restore water quality and wetlands throughout the Bay Area.
 
"A healthy San Francisco Bay-the largest estuary in the country-supports the livelihood of over 7 million Bay residents, sustains hundreds of native wildlife species, and aids in shielding the region from the effects of climate change," said Jared Blumenfeld, EPA's Pacific Southwest regional administrator. "Work by grant awardees and partner state agencies makes certain the Bay continues to provide for many years to come."
 
In addition to the $1.5 million awarded for the Breuner Marsh restoration, the EPA has awarded grants between $500,000 and $1.2 million for restoration projects in the Guadalupe River Watershed in Santa Clara County, in the Napa River, the South Bay Salt Ponds and a project to reduce nutrients from wastewater into the San Francisco Bay, according to agency officials.

—By Bay City News

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