Ducks Unlimited awarded funding for Suisun Marsh project to reduce greenhouse gas emissions

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) recently announced the selection of several projects to restore wetlands that will reduce the emission of greenhouse gases (GHGs) and provide other ecological co-benefits, including Ducks Unlimited’s work in the Suisun Marsh.

Ducks Unlimited was awarded $5,577,413 for the Hill Slough Project from CDFW to help restore 603 acres of managed seasonal wetland to tidal wetland and restore 46 acres of existing upland to tidal wetland in the Suisun Marsh. The project will have an estimated GHG benefit of 25,242 MTCO2e.

The Wetlands Restoration for Greenhouse Gas Reduction Program focuses on projects with measurable objectives that will lead to GHG reductions in wetlands and watersheds while providing co-benefits such as enhancing fish and wildlife habitat, protecting and improving water quality and quantity and helping California adapt to climate change. Wetlands have high carbon sequestration rates that can store carbon for decades.

“These projects will significantly benefit climate science and ecosystems representing the coast, the Central Valley and the Sierra Nevada,” said CDFW Director Charlton H. Bonham. “We are excited to continue the momentum to restore California’s wetlands while making a demonstrable impact to greenhouse gases.”

CA Dept. of Fish and Wildlife

From the mid-1870s to the early 1900s, approximately 90 percent of the tidal wetland habitat in the Suisun Marsh (California) was diked and converted for uses such as farms and managed wetlands. As a result, the loss of tidal access has hindered the ecological processes and functions critical for sustaining a healthy aquatic ecosystem, and has created a lack of support for the Bay-Delta aquatic foodweb.

The loss of emergent tidal wetlands and channels has led to a reduction in the amount of potential rearing habitat for Chinook salmon, delta smelt, and splittail. Reduction and fragmentation of marsh habitats has also resulted in reduced populations of California clapper rail, salt marsh harvest mouse, and rare plants dependent on high tidal marsh and adjacent upland transition.

The Hill Slough Restoration Project will restore tidal wetlands and moist grassland habitat to diked, low-quality seasonal and perennial wetlands. The project will consist of areas of the Hill Slough Wildlife Area that are not already fully tidal. All property in the project area is owned and managed by the Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW).