Yosemite Slough Restoration Project

YOSEMITE SLOUGH RESTORATION PROJECT AT CANDLESTICK POINT STATE RECREATION AREA

Candlestick Point State Recreation Area (CPSRA) is located in the southeast part of the city and county of San Francisco. Being the first state park purposely acquired to bring the State Park System into an urban setting, Candlestick is readily accessible to over four million citizens. The park offers beautiful views of the San Francisco Bay, with picnic areas, fishing (including two fishing piers) and hiking trails (including a fitness course for seniors and a bike trail). The park also has an area popular with windsurfers. But as any regular park visitor knows, the most northerly portion of Candlestick Point is closed off to public access due to past dumping, junkyards, and landfill that turned a once thriving wetlands into a wasteland. In the late 1970s the state purchased the land adjacent to Yosemite Slough, in part to cease the dumping and polluting that was occurring, but also because it recognized the historical nature of the tidal marshes and mudflats that were being threatened by the misuse of the land.

In 1987, the State Parks System approved the Candlestick Point State Recreation Area General Plan after much public participation and feedback. The Plan identified the restoration of natural areas surrounding Yosemite Slough as a high priority. In 2003, a total of 34-acres, including Yosemite Slough, was assessed for restoration potential in a feasibility study funded by the CSPF. The study showed that restoration of this area was possible and would be extremely beneficial for the entire bay.

As a result, the Yosemite Slough Restoration plan was developed in accordance to the General Plan. It offers the most comprehensive recreational, educational and clean up opportunities for this area. The restoration of the park land along Yosemite Slough will create the largest contiguous wetland area in the County of San Francisco. The project will help restore essential wildlife habitat, improve water quality, and prevent erosion along the shoreline of the City of San Francisco—an area of the bay where tidal wetlands have been most impacted and suffered the greatest loss due to urbanization. The Yosemite Slough Restoration project will also be accessible to visitors and will serve Bayview Hunters Point, a community that has been unfairly impacted by environmental degradation.

GOALS AND OBJECTIVES OF THE RESTORATION INCLUDE THE FOLLOWING:

  • Restore 10 acres of functioning tidal marsh
  • Removal of existing structures on the north side of Yosemite Slough along with debris and contaminated soils from upland area to improve habitat quality
  • Improve local habitat for special status species (e.g. western snowy plover and double-crested cormorants) by a nesting island along the north shoreline
  • Plant native grasses and shrubs for bank stabilization and erosion control
  • Create an environmental area that local schools can use for field trips and, add park improvements such as a new, 1,100 square foot “green” education/interpretive center focused on connecting people with the ecology of San Francisco Bay and the archeological history of the area
  • Connect to the Blue Greenway, an important effort to build 13-miles of Bay Trail along the southern waterfront of the San Francisco Bay Trail.

This important cleanup and park revitalization project is taking place in phases. As the project lead, CSPF has continued to raise the funds needed to help transform Candlestick into a model urban park. CSPF has secured more than $21 million and successfully completed the most ambitious phase of the project, the North Side Wetlands Restoration, which broke ground in June 2011 and was successfully completed within 12 months. A section of the Bay Trail along the northern shoreline was completed in October 2012.

To date, major project funders include: the Wildlife Conservation Board, California State Coastal Conservancy, Association of Bay Area Governments (ABAG), Bay Conservation Development Commission (BCDC), San Francisco International Airport (SFO), Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART), the Richard and Rhoda Goldman Foundation, Bob and Connie Lurie, Arlin Weinberger, the California Natural Resources Agency- Urban Greening Program, the Hellman Foundation, Hearst Foundations, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Region 9/ San Francisco Bay Water Quality Improvement Fund/San Francisco Estuary Partnership, the Barkley Fund, Union Bank, S.D. Bechtel, Jr. Foundation, the San Francisco Foundation, and the California Department of Parks and Recreation.

Phase 2 of the project is now underway and is scheduled for construction in late 2018. Plans include adding the capital improvements to the upland area on the north side, including a new interpretive center, to fully realize the park’s educational and recreational potential. A new Interpretation Master Plan for CPSRA and the development of educational programming were completed in 2016. The final phase of the project will create 3 new additional wetlands on the south side of the Slough. Construction will involve removal of contaminated soils and rock fill, re-grading to restore the land to tidal influence, re-vegetation with native species to achieve maximum environmental benefits and the final segment of the Bay Trail.

If you are interested in learning more about the project or making a donation, please contact Cecille Caterson at (415) 262-4410 or email at cecille@calparks.org.

Read the Slough News




Design Concept for the State-of-the-Art “Green” Education Center

California State Parks Foundation

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