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February 02, 2010

NOAA celebrates wetlands restoration in San Francisco Bay

The restoration project will increase habitat for threatened and endangered species such as steelhead trout, migratory birds and marine mammals...
By Noaa

NOAA joined federal, state, and local groups on Wednesday in Alviso, Calif., on the shores of San Francisco Bay to view the breaching of an earthen levee at a South Bay salt pond, an important step in the $7.6 million Recovery Act project to restore 2,000 acres of wetlands.

The restoration project will increase habitat for threatened and endangered species such as steelhead trout, migratory birds and marine mammals and improve the overall productivity of the bay's ecosystem.

The project is one of nine in California selected by NOAA for American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funding to restore coastal habitat. Managed by the California State Coastal Conservancy, this project is part of the largest tidal wetland restoration effort taking place on the West Coast.

"San Francisco Bay has lost an estimated 85 percent of its historic wetlands to development," said Rodney McInnis, NOAA's Fisheries Service southwest regional administrator. "This project will work to reverse that loss, while increasing habitat and improving the bay's ecosystem."

Other NOAA Recovery Act habitat restoration projects in the Bay Area include the American Canyon Salt Pond project, which received $8.5 million to restore 1,135 acres of tidal wetlands and expand the Napa-Sonoma Wildlife Area and San Pablo National Wildlife Refuge; and the Salmon Creek Restoration, which received $1.5 million to restore habitat along an important stream near Bodega Bay. There are six other NOAA Recovery Act projects being funded throughout coastal California, which will restore hundreds of acres of wetlands and open miles of river to migratory fish.

In February 2009, NOAA received $167 million from the Obama Administration's Recovery Act to restore coastal habitat and help jumpstart the nation's economy. Altogether, the agency received 814 proposals from 34 states and five territories, totaling more than $3 billion in requests. From these proposals, NOAA selected 50 high quality, high priority projects to restore U.S. coasts. These projects will create jobs and restore wetlands, salt marshes, oyster and coral reefs, as well as remove fish passage barriers on coastal rivers and streams. In addition to improving the environment, these efforts will assist recreational and commercial fishing, support more resilient coasts in the face of climate change, and create jobs - many in areas of high unemployment.

For more information on funded projects nationwide, go to the NOAA Recovery Act Web site. The public can follow the progress of each project on the Web site, which includes an interactive online map that enables the public to track where and how NOAA recovery funds are spent.

NOAA understands and predicts changes in the Earth's environment, from the depths of the ocean to the surface of the sun, and conserves and manages our coastal and marine resources.