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Contact: John A. Dell’Osso, 415-464-5135
In partnership with the California State Lands Commission, Point Reyes National Seashore will soon begin construction of the Giacomini Wetlands Restoration Project (Project). Construction is expected to begin at the end of September 2007. Phase I of the Project includes demolition of dairy barns near C Street, partial levee removal north of Lagunitas Creek in the southern end of the East Pasture, and potential special status species enhancement in Tomasini Triangle and near Olema Creek. This year’s work is a critical first phase of this large project.
Wetlands play an important role in the health of aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems. They provide valuable functions for humans and wildlife such as storing floodwaters, dissipating energy of flood flows, improving water quality, providing habitat and food for wildlife, as well as providing recreational opportunities and support of mariculture and fisheries industries. Loss or degradation of wetlands eliminate or substantially reduce the potential for wetlands to serve some of these important functions.
Giacomini Wetlands and Olema Marsh account for as much as 12 percent of the historic wetlands present along the outer central California coast and as much as 1 percent of wetlands along the entire outer California coastline. The relative scarcity of coastal wetlands present within this watershed and the surrounding California coastline increases their importance and the impact of losses that have occurred.
Because of its importance to wildlife, Tomales Bay has been designated a Ramsar Wetland of International Importance, supporting numerous threatened and endangered species. The Lagunitas Creek and Olema Creek watersheds support one of the southernmost, stable populations of federal and state endangered coho salmon, as well as federally threatened steelhead trout and Chinook salmon. The removal levees and restoration of natural hydrologic and tidal process to the lower floodplain and estuarine habitat of Tomales Bay would result in direct benefit to these salmonid species associated with overwintering refugia and outmigration feeding habitat. The Project Area also supports one of the only known populations of the federally endangered, tidewater goby, which had not been sighted in this watershed since 1953. Restoring hundreds of acres of tidal salt marsh will also greatly increase habitat for state-threatened California black rail and federally endangered California clapper rail.
The primary construction entrance to the Project will be from a temporary construction access road off of 5th and C Streets in Point Reyes Station. Construction vehicles will temporarily access the site via the existing gravel road on C Street between 6th Street and 5th Street (across from the Dance Palace).
CONSTRUCTION TIMING: On-site construction and off-site hauling is expected to begin in late September and finish in late November 2007. Some off-site hauling may continue into early December 2007. Contractor work hours will be between 8:00 AM and 6:00 PM, Monday through Friday. Keep up-to-date at www.nps.gov/pore.
WHAT TO EXPECT: Construction activities will include building demolition, concrete demolition, excavation and hauling. Off-haul material will be transported to regional landfills, recycling facilities and designated sites provided by the National Park Service (off Pierce Point Road). Potential noise impacts and intermittent construction traffic on 4th Street, 5th Street, B Street, Highway 1 and Sir Francis Drake Boulevard may occur during construction.
TEMPORARY TRAIL CLOSURES: Trail users should be aware that, at some point between late September and late October, the informal trail on the southern portion of the Giacomini Ranch East Pasture will need to be closed temporarily to allow for removal of a portion of the levee along Lagunitas Creek. In addition, the Olema Marsh trail and potentially the parking lot for Olema Marsh may also need to be temporarily closed during creation of the frog ponds. Information about trail and parking lot closures will be posted at trail and road entrances at least one week prior to closures.
This project has been made possible by the joint efforts of the National Park Service, California State Lands Commission and Point Reyes National Seashore Association. The Point Reyes National Seashore Association is a private non-profit organization committed to preserving and protecting the Point Reyes National Seashore. For more information, visit www.ptreyes.org.
Funding for this project was provided by individual donations and by the following organizations:
California State Coastal Conservancy, California State Water Resources Control Board, Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, National Park Foundation, and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
For more information: www.nps.gov/pore or call the Project information line at (415) 464-5162.