For the past 35 years, WRA (formerly Wetland Research Associates) has been at the forefront of wetland restoration and research in the San Francisco Bay area. Before our company even began, our co-founder, Michael Josselyn, then Director of San Francisco State University’s Romberg Tiburon Center for Environmental Studies, was a pioneer of modern scientific research in San Francisco Bay’s tidal marshes. Starting in the 1970’s, he and his students studied how to restore San Francisco Bay’s most complicated ecosystem – estuarine tidal marshes.
Today, we know the benefits of tidal marshes are numerous. Many of us have heard how the large expanses of pickleweed marshes support endangered species such as the salt marsh harvest mouse and California Ridgway’s rail, not to mention dozens of other rare plants and animals that call that harsh environment that is flooded twice daily their home. But what is less obvious to many people is how these marshes actually help us. For example, they protect surrounding uplands we use for our homes and businesses. The long, broad marshes attenuate wave energy during large storm events helping to provide natural barriers to protect infrastructure and long term effects of erosion. They also accrete suspended sediments in the Bay and grow higher and higher, at times keeping up with sea level rise and maintaining a protective barrier around our shorelines.
With 92 percent of the Bay’s original tidal marsh habitat lost to agriculture, industry, or development, we see the opportunity to tip back the scales. Bay Area voters have banded together to support implementing more positive change for the health of the Bay, the native plants and animals that depend on it, and the security of our critical infrastructure for generations to come. The program will generate millions of dollars that will be used to restore tidal marshes, reduce pollutants in stormwater that flows into the Bay, and increase public access opportunities to the Bay.
This measure, passing with nearly 70 percent of the vote, is something we all can agree on. Read more press in the San Francisco Chronicle article.