The Bay Institute Applauds Congresswoman Jackie Speier and Cosponsors of San Francisco Bay Improvement Act of 2010; Creates a $100,000 Public Education Campaign About the Urgent Need for Bay Restoration
NOVATO, Calif., April 23, 2010 -- The Bay Institute applauds the introduction of H.R. 5061, The San Francisco Bay Improvement Act of 2010, a landmark $1 billion restoration bill authored by Congresswoman Jackie Speier. The bill, if passed, will help finance restoration of more than 100,000 acres of the Bay's tidal wetlands that have suffered from a century and a half of manmade destruction. The Bay Institute has also allocated $100,000 in seed money to launch a public education campaign about the urgent need for Bay Restoration.
"Funds from the bill would implement a restoration plan that was adopted in 1993, but to date has received only miniscule government support when compared to the billions of dollars received by similar restoration programs in Chesapeake Bay and the Florida Everglades," stated Marc Holmes, director of The Bay Institute's Bay Restoration Program. "Since the public already owns over half of these restorable wetlands, the only thing standing in the way of a massive recovery program is funding."
San Francisco Bay is the largest estuary on the West Coast of the Americas. It is one of three major stopovers for millions of shorebirds on their annual winter migrations from Alaska and the Arctic to Mexico and beyond. The Bay's wetlands also serve as year-round habitat for dozens of species of birds, mammals and other wildlife, and as nursery grounds for juvenile fish and crabs, allowing them to feed in the productive mashes and take refuge from predators until they grow large and strong enough to move to open waters.
In addition to benefits for fish and wildlife, wetlands restoration will create new jobs and provide regional economic infusions, as well as protect against the effects of sea level rise on the Bay's shores. Tidal marshes provide a buffer against the erosive forces of wind and waves in open water and, by absorbing and holding seawater, they are much more efficient in protecting shoreline areas from erosion and flooding than the traditional approach of building higher and wider levees. In addition, tidal marshes have a unique and natural capacity for self-improvement, with their ability to grow higher as sea level rises.
Bay Restoration is one of four cornerstone programs led and supported by The Bay Institute. The organization has been a key player in raising funds, negotiating land transfers and promoting public support to restore 100,000 acres of wetlands at Skaggs Island, Bahia, Cullinan Ranch, Sonoma Baylands, Napa Salt Marsh, north and south Bay salt ponds and many others.
Visit The Bay Institute's Bay Restoration web pages to learn more about the challenges and solutions to restoring the Bay lands.
About The Bay Institute
The Bay Institute is the leader in protecting, restoring and inspiring conservation of San Francisco Bay and its watershed -- from the Sierra to the sea. For nearly 30 years, The Bay Institute has been developing and leading model scientific research, habitat restoration, education and advocacy programs to preserve California's most important natural resource. Learn more at http://www.thebayinstitute.org/.