Friday, February 17, 2017

It's Sedimentary, My Dear

My newest blog post The Sea Level Rise Solution that is as Charismatic as Mud was published today on WWF's ClimatePrep blog, featuring interviews with Larry Goldzband and Brenda Goeden, respectively Executive Director and Sediment Program Manager at BCDC - the Bay Conservation and Development Commission, and Doug George, an oceanographer at the Bodega Marine Laboratory, with additional input from an interview with Nate Kauffman, of LEAP - the Live Edge Adaptation Project.

In the post I delve into the latest news on sediment management for sea level rise in the San Francisco Bay Area, including the hot topic of BCDC's lawsuit against the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (read the 2-page BCDC brief about the suit here, read the entire filing here), filed Sept. 22, 2016, by California's then-Attorney General Kamala Harris.

Here is the full list of SF Bay sediment/sea level rise-related pilot projects that appears in my WWF ClimatePrep article in truncated form:

A SF Bay Wetlands Restoration Project Roll Call

There are many pilot projects involving sediment in various stages of development in the SF Bay.

Bel Marin Keys/ Hamilton Airfield
This ACE/ California Coastal Conservancy project is celebrated as a successful transformation of a military site into a wetland. Click here to see a 1:38 video with images of the breaching of the levee, opening the land to the SF Bay waters in 2014. This project benefited from beneficially reused sediment.

Oro Loma Horizontal Levee Project
This, the first horizontal levee in the SF Bay, using vegetation on a slope to slow waves rather than a vertical wall, was set to be fully operational in 2016. It might be the first levee of its kind in the world. After more than four years in the permitting process it took six months to build (per Nate Kauffman in Save the Bay, 2016).

Cullinan Ranch
This project in the North Bay, now near completion in the Napa River Delta, came out of a movement to block fill and residential development on the former wetlands. Read about its return to recreational use in “Into the Breach: Paddlers and Ducks Return to Cullinan Ranch” (2016).

South Bay Salt Ponds
This is “the largest tidal wetland restoration project on the West Coast.” It is fully underway, and will convert 15,100 acres of commercial salt ponds at the south end of SF Bay into mud flats and tidal marsh. It will rely mostly on natural sedimentation processes rather than reused dredged material.

Montezuma Wetlands Restoration Project (Suisun Marsh)
Now completed, this is an interesting project because it used “slightly more chemically challenged” dredged material than what is usually used in restoration projects: it is designed to safely make beneficial reuse of material that otherwise would be dumped in the open ocean. Scroll to the bottom of this page for a brief description of this project by the SF Bay Regional Water Quality Control Board. A 3-page description of the project written during its initial stages.

Living Shorelines
This subtidal restoration demonstration project in San Rafael and Hayward was begun in 2012, is ongoing and now expanding to a new location in Richmond, California. It focuses on eelgrass and oyster habitat restoration.

Bothin Marsh
This project is intended to enhance Bothin Marsh for habitat and sea level rise protection through beneficial reuse of dredge sediment from Coyote Creek. Although Marin County has received a grant to develop a feasibility assessment, it remains in the conceptual design stage.

Sediment self-distribution in the South Bay?
A 2014 study (Bever et al.) showed through modeling that dredged material dumped south of the southern-most bridge across the SF Bay (Dumbarton) could result in the nourishment of “mudflats, marshes and breached salt ponds through natural sediment redistribution.” Any actual experiments with this kind of dumping would have to wait for BCDC to change its bay fill policy.

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