Giacomini Wetland Restoration - Point Reyes Station, California

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An extensive tidal marsh complex once spanned the entire width of the headwaters of Tomales Bay, which is part of the Golden Gate Biosphere Reserve and a designated as a “Wetland of International Importance” under the Ramsar Convention. Tomales Bay is also one of 16 wetland areas that qualify for inclusion as a wetland of regional importance under the Western Hemisphere Shorebird Reserve Network because of its large number of wintering and migrating shorebirds.

In the early 1940s, more than 550 acres or 50 percent of the wetlands in Tomales Bay were diked and “reclaimed” for agricultural use. The Point Reyes National Seashore Association worked with a host of stakeholders and funding agencies to develop and execute a plan to breach the dikes and return the property to the Bay.

GHD provided construction program management and public outreach during the two-phased restoration project. Key features include:

  • Removal of approximately 14,000 feet of existing earthen levees
  • Lowering of approximately 1500 feet of existing levees
  • Excavation of approximately 10,000 feet of new tidal channels
  • Tidewater goby pond habitat enhancement
  • California Red-legged Frog habitat creation (Tomasini Triangle ponds, Olema Marsh ponds)
  • High tide refugia creation for Clapper and Black Rail
  • Marshplain enhancement
  • Lagunitas Creek Floodplain enhancement and terracing
  • Demolition and removal of water control structures
  • Non-native plant species removal
  • Olema Marsh channel enhancements to restore connectivity to Bear Valley Creek

One of the many benefits of the project includes improvement in the quality of Tomales Bay’s waters which are used extensively for recreational, mariculture and wildlife habitat.

In May 2009, the project was awarded the prestigious “Partners in Conservation Award” from the US Department of Interior. The Giacomini Project was one of 26 national awards whose projects “achieved natural resource goals in collaboration with others.”



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