Ducks Unlimited recently completed the first phase of the San Francisco Bay Creosote Removal and Pacific Herring Habitat Restoration Project, which entailed removing debris from the former site of the Red Rock Warehouse in Richmond, California, concentrating on decaying wood pilings covered in creosote. The pilings formerly held up piers and warehouses in the area but subsequently poisoned fish as they decayed, including the Pacific herring, potentially threatening the food chain in the region.
Due to the nature of the site, DU utilized a floating barge with an excavator and a crane to remove debris off the bay floor, including concrete, and a tracked excavator on land. Both of these operations used GPS and visual methods to locate piles and then cut them at the ground or extract them in their entirety. While some pilings fell over with the slightest bump of an excavator bucket, others were in excellent condition and had to be extracted from the mud, sometimes from depths of 20 to 30 feet below ground.
With the completion of the demolition phase of the Red Rock Project, the restoration phase is scheduled to commence in 2018, due to a delay caused by California’s heavy winter storms of 2017. The restoration phase will consist of fabricating and placing artificial oyster reefs, planting eel grass, and other habitat restoration activities in the Bay and on the shoreline, which should benefit a multitude of wildlife species, including sea ducks.