Ducks Unlimited recently partnered with the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) and US Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) to plan, design, and implement the Haire Ranch Wetland Project, which will provide seasonal wetland habitat and accommodate future longer-term, tidal restoration at the site in the north San Francisco Bay Area.

The project specifically converted 782 acres of former agricultural fields at Haire Ranch, which is located in the San Pablo Bay National Wildlife Refuge and is part of the 4,400-acre Skaggs Island, often deemed the Holy Grail of North Bay restoration, to open water and seasonal managed wetlands through earthen grading, berm construction, and the reconfiguration of water control capability. Work finished in December of 2018, with new water control structures, a pump station, and tule transplants paying immediate dividends, helping spring rains fill the deepwater unit and the seasonal wetlands with water, bringing in thousands of ducks.

Seasonal wetland creation on Haire Ranch will have three important benefits: providing valuable freshwater habitat at the edge of San Pablo Bay; halting subsidence while pursuing tidal restoration as soon as permitting and planning can be completed; and leveraging generous funding from the Joseph and Vera Long Foundation with $1.5 million in NRCS funding to lay the groundwork for eventually restoring more tidal wetlands in the area.