This week, Ducks Unlimited placed 200 oyster reef elements at four-acre submerged site at the former Red Rocks Warehouse – Point San Pablo in the city of Richmond to create a unique living shoreline. DU is partnering with the State Coastal Conservancy on the San Francisco Bay Creosote Piling Removal and Pacific Herring Restoration Project, along with the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, the City of Richmond, and others.
The project will be monitored by the Coastal Conservancy to gather data on the success of native oyster establishment and future eelgrass plantings, and the spawning use by Pacific herring. Pacific herring are a linchpin species that support bird and other wildlife populations. This innovative demonstration project is testing a combined piling removal and living shorelines approach at the same site, with a goal of encouraging other cities and partners to undertake this kind of marine debris and habitat restoration project at additional sites in the bay.
In 2016, the project removed than 441 tons of debris, including 413 creosote-treated piles, and more than 35 tons of concrete and collapsed decking from the site. Derelict wharfs and creosote pilings are a major marine debris and contaminant problem that is impacting natural habitats in San Francisco Bay, and negatively impact Pacific herring and other aquatic species. Creosote-treated wood has been shown to impact the early life stages of Pacific herring, who lay their sticky eggs on vegetation and on hard surfaces including pilings. In September 2018, the Conservancy started construction on a living shoreline restoration phase that will include the placement of 200 reef structures for native oyster habitat and shoreline protection. In Spring 2019 eelgrass plantings will occur to further improve habitat for Pacific herring, salmon, fish, birds, and a variety of species in the bay.
“Ducks Unlimited is proud to partner on this elemental yet innovative project to restore subtidal habitat. This represents a crucial step in scaling up natural shoreline protection while also providing immediate and lasting benefits for fish and waterfowl, particularly eelgrass, Pacific herring, and diving ducks. Implementation continues Ducks Unlimited’s commitment to the overall protection and restoration of wetlands in the Bay Area,” said Renee Spenst, PhD, Regional Biologist with Ducks Unlimited.
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