Habitat restoration update

Jay

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Took the family out for a bike ride Saturday afternoon. We started at the San Leandro Marina and headed south towards the Roberts Landing area at the mouth ot San Lorenzo creek (which by the way was the creek in which the rainbow trout was first discovered).

16 years ago my brother and I started duck hunting on the mud flats out there. There wasn't much out there then, just tires in the mud, a few shopping carts and some logs that had been washed down the creek. We unleashed boxes of shells at Surf Scoters, buffleheads and an occasional widgeon or mallard. And of course there was the stench of the mud at low tide.

About seven years ago Citation Homes hatched a scheme to build homes on the west side of the railroad tracks at the end of Lewelling in the Roberts Landing area. As part of the deal they were required to restore tidal flow to several hundred acres of pickleweed marsh that had been diked off from the bay for many years. In addition the city of San Leandro had dumped concrete in a narrow section of pickleweed marsh between the golf course and the shoreline trail. The city was ordered to clean up their mess and restore tidal flow.

So I've been keeping an eye on these two projects for the last five years. Here's my report from Saturday:

The sliver of pickleweed marsh between the golf course and the shoreline trail is looking really good. I saw two or three egrets and several other shorebirds wading around. The vegetation is lush and it appears that some fresh water comes off the golf course so there's a nice brackish environment set up. Of course right over the fence at the the golf couse there's a pond with a contingent of golf course geese, mallards and a few gadwall that didn't migrate.

The Citation Homes pickleweed marsh had a tidal gate installed on the north end and a tidal ditch was dug at the south end right at the mouth of San Lorenzo creek. The tide was halfway out when we arrived but there were still pools of captured tidewater all through the pickleweed with birds all over the place. At the mouth of San Lorenzo creek I did see three broods of mallards. We walked along the beach (yes, there actually was nice clean sand) near Roberts Landing and I checked out some of the patches of cordgrass gowing out on the mud flats. This grass did not exist 10 years ago. The sand was littered with clamshells and live clams and snails were all through the cordgrass. The things I noticed most was that there was no stench from the exposed mud flats, and  I couldn't see a single tire or shopping cart sticking out of the mud.  A lone Canada goose came sailing down the beach and just cleared my wife's head by 5 feet. Of course I got out my "virtual shotgun" and dumped it with a single shot of #9 steel, right in the head.

I know I'll never be allowed to hunt out there, but it sure feels good to see a marsh and the mudflats making a strong comeback.
 

Megadeth

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Jay, I pretty much grew up hunting/fishing for years. My dad, brothers and friends would hunt and fish that area quite a bit. Thats  another good habitat/no hunter approach to the bay area lifestyle. Unfortunatley hunters on the majority of bay property don't exist anymore. How could anybody ever forget that mud? Also, where the San Lorenzo river enters the bay, there used to be excellent shark fishing? Of course we never ate em', there were certain "tribes" who considered them delicacies?
 


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