Bel Marin Keys V Wetland Restoration
In 2019, the State Coastal Conservancy approved $20 million in funding for construction of the first phase of the project that ultimately restore an approximately 1,600-acre parcel to a mixture of tidal marsh, seasonal wetlands, alkali meadows, and uplands. Phase 1 included construction of 9 acres of seasonal alkali meadow, 16 acres of seasonal wetlands, and a new flood control levee to separate future restored tidal areas from non-tidal portions and adjacent residential development. Phase 2 involves the restoration of approximately 1,000 acres of tidal marsh.
This is the first project that the California Coastal Conservancy has managed through construction. WRA was part of the construction management team for Phase 1 construction and assisted with other site maintenance and monitoring tasks following construction completion. During Phase 1 construction, WRA reviewed and refined project plans and specifications to include details necessary for successful wetland restoration, managed environmental compliance requirements throughout construction, completed biological monitoring for sensitive species, led construction oversight for alkali and seasonal wetland construction, and supported the Conservancy’s public relations during construction. As part of this work, WRA led quality control for seasonal wetland soils composition involving a mixture of clay and sand capable of retaining water and obtained authorization from regulatory agencies for the deepening of approximately 4 miles of drainage ditches to enable continued agricultural site management for weed management.
In addition to work during construction, WRA led authoring of the first annual monitoring report for the project, including recommendations for adaptive management actions to improve wetland performance. Supporting adaptive management, WRA’s design team led preliminary design for a drainage channel to manage water levels in the alkali meadow area. WRA Landscape Restoration, closely supported on-site restoration management crews for invasive species management and volunteer workdays. WRA also worked closely with the Conservancy on issues related to the interface between the BMK V property and the adjacent Bel Marin Keys Lagoon, including a potential land swap with the community services district and management of a flood control easement on Conservancy property. Finally, WRA supported permitting and environmental compliance for maintenance of the outboard levee and agricultural pump station, two pieces of infrastructure that are vital to the continued maintenance of the site ahead of Phase 2 of construction. Long term restoration goals and success of the Phase 1 wetland areas were the central guideposts for decision making and recommendations through all of this work.
Justin Semion, PWS
Technical Services Director
Compliance Monitoring Team Leader
Katie Smith, PhD
Andrew Smith, PE
Senior Restoration Engineer
Permitting for Construction and Site Maintenance
Strategic Support for Lands Interfacing with Abutting Residential Development
Wetland Construction Oversight
Wetland Monitoring and Adaptive Management Implementation