• The Point Reyes Beach as viewed from the Point Reyes Headlands

    Point Reyes

    National Seashore California

Noted Speaker to Discuss Effect of Climate Change on Tomales Bay As Part of 2009 Giacomini Wetland Seminar Series

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Date: March 9, 2009
Contact: John Dell’Osso, 415-464-5135

Aerial photograph of wetlands immediately after Giacomini Ranch levees were breached © Robert Campbell
Aerial photograph of wetlands immediately after Giacomini Ranch levees were breached on October 26, 2008

Point Reyes National Seashore and Point Reyes National Seashore Association (PRNSA) are celebrating the inaugural year of restoration at the Giacomini Wetlands with an exciting series of field and evening seminars in 2009, as well as opportunities to volunteer and improve restoration efforts.

To kick off this series of events, on Saturday, March 21, the Seashore and PRNSA will host noted UC Davis professor Ann Russell, Associate Professor of Geology, who will discuss the potential effect of climate variability and long term-change on Tomales Bay and the rest of the northern California coast. Russell has been conducting research on the effects of climate change on our vulnerable coastline, and will present some of the results of her work at 6:30 p.m. at the Seashore's Red Barn near its administrative headquarters off Bear Valley Road. Doors will open at 6 p.m. The Seashore and PRNSA will also show an updated version of the video that was produced as part of the breach celebration event in October 2008. The lecture is free of charge, but a RSVP is requested to Sarah Minnick by email or at 415-464-5226.

Earlier that day, the public is invited to come help improve the success of earlier revegetation efforts through weed removal. The volunteer event will run from 2–5 p.m. Participants should meet at 5th and C Streets in Point Reyes Station at 1:45 p.m. See our new Restoration web pages for more information on this event. A RSVP is requested to Sarah Minnick by email or 415-464-5226.

"When we first started planning this project, climate change was hardly even on anybody's radar," said Lorraine Parsons, Project Manager for the restoration project. "Now, the public and everyone in the resource management field hear about it in the news almost daily. Climate change has tremendous potential to alter our communities and our environment drastically, particularly coastal resources such as the Giacomini Wetlands and other wetland systems."

The Seashore and PRNSA completed the second phase of construction for the Giacomini Wetland Restoration Project in late 2008, and all of the levees for the diked former dairy ranch were removed in late October 2008. With construction totaling more than $6 million, the Giacomini Wetland Restoration Project is the largest restoration project undertaken by the Seashore and one of the largest in the National Park Service. While most of the active restoration components have been completed, the Seashore and PRNSA are still trying to raise funds for public access components and some additional restoration in the Giacomini Ranch and Olema Marsh, including continued invasives removal.

"We were so amazed by the community excitement when we put together our series of field and construction update seminars last year," said Sally Bolger, PRNSA Board Member and Project Manager. "More than 500 people walked out with us last year to see the effects of breaching the levees. It was incredible. This year, we want to continue to give back to the community and the public that has been so supportive and patient with planning and construction and to share the ongoing restoration with them."

The evening seminar on March 21 will be the first in a series of field and evening seminars presented by the Friends of the Giacomini Wetlands, an informal group organized under PRNSA whose goal is to keep interested people in the community and public updated. The brain-child of Construction Manager Tony Williams, the Friends of the Giacomini Wetlands is intended to be a forum for education, volunteer opportunities, and sharing information on the evolution of the new wetlands, the improvements to habitat and wildlife, and the successes and challenges of restoration. Field seminars on bird use, hydrologic changes, wetland evolution, and fisheries use of the newly restored wetlands are planned for April, June, August, and October of this year. In addition, the Friends of the Giacomini Wetlands are planning an anniversary event of the October breach event on Sunday, October 25, 2009. More information on these seminars and events will be available soon. The Seashore and PRNSA also invite people to view the new Restoration web page, which discusses some of the hydrologic changes already observed in the newly restored wetlands, as well as changes in bird use with tremendous numbers of waterfowl and shorebirds flocking this winter to the some of the newly flooded areas and intertidal edges.

-NPS-

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