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Salt pond restoration moves ahead

The process of turning two former salt ponds along Shoreline Park's northern edge back into tidal marshes soon will speed up -- with some careful rearranging of dikes and levees.

City Council members were briefed Tuesday on a plan to breach levees and dikes around two former Cargill salt ponds to allow Permanente Creek and Charleston Slough to flow in and out of them freely, speeding up their return to marsh lands. It is a process of "taking down berms and dikes and letting nature take over," said South Bay Salt Pond restoration project manager John Bourgeois.

To achieve that, levees and dikes around the former salt ponds would be breached in certain places adjacent to Permanente and Stevens Creek and Charleston Slough.

"We've been waiting 30 years for that marsh to develop and it's been doing it very slowly," said public works director Mike Fuller of the ponds and Charleston Slough, which feeds the Shoreline sailing lake.

The project would also replace levees along Shoreline Park's northern edge that provide some level of flood protection from the bay.

"These levees weren't even engineered to be flood protection," Bourgeois said. "As we take these down we want to make sure the nearby communities are safe."

Bourgeois said that SBSP is working with a "dirt broker" to put in the new engineered levees at no cost. It's an economical way to dispose of dirt excavated from nearby development projects, Bourgeois said.

"Improving those levees is one of the projects identified in our sea level rise project," said Fuller. "If we coordinate with the salt pond restoration project we have the opportunity to reduce the scope of that project for us. It could really be a win for the city."

Fuller added that "On the downside we've probably got 10,000 truckloads of dirt that have to come through the park," Fuller added. "We've hauled a lot of dirt out there, it's something we're used to doing."

The former salt ponds, known as A1 and A2W, are part of a larger project to restore 15,000 acres of former salt ponds in the South Bay obtained from Cargill in 2003, an area the size of Manhattan. An environmental report on the project is expected to come out in the first quarter of next year.

Comments

 +   Like this comment
Posted by nearby resident
a resident of Bailey Park
on Nov 7, 2013 at 1:10 pm

shoreline blvd does not need 10,000 dirt trucks.

how about the dirt broker deliver the stuff by barge from the bay side


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Martin Omander
a resident of Rex Manor
on Nov 7, 2013 at 2:56 pm

The dirt comes from nearby development projects, which are presumably on land. Most likely less environmental impact to take the dirt straight to the park in trucks, than to truck it to a port with the right loading facilities, load it on barges and bring the barges around.

I'm glad we are restoring the wetlands, both for wildlife and for increased flood protection.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by tiredofnonsensecomments
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Nov 7, 2013 at 3:03 pm

1) Access from the street is most likely via the foot of San Antonio, not Shoreline
2)The Bay is much too shallow to allow barge access, plus the source of the dirt is likely a site where it has to go on trucks in the first place


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Nonsense
a resident of Martens-Carmelita
on Nov 7, 2013 at 5:34 pm

@tiredofnonsensecomments: If you're tired of nonsense comments then I think you've come to the wrong website.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Jim Quickstad
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Nov 8, 2013 at 10:14 am

When the salt ponds were purchased we were told it would take millions of dollars and many years to restore. Now the project manager says,"take down the berms and let nature take over". A back hoe and nature should have been used the second day after they were purchased. Is the fill dirt from developments going to be "clean"? Concrete, asphalt and rebar isn't any better than the old car bodies we used in the 60's and 70's.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Habbah Dasher
a resident of Cuernavaca
on Nov 8, 2013 at 11:01 am

Looks like everyone its wearing their "I need to find something wrong with this to complain about" hats. And they fit some of you SO WELL!


 +   Like this comment
Posted by @Jim
a resident of Monta Loma
on Nov 13, 2013 at 3:57 pm

The dirt will probably come from areas where there were tech companies putting waste contaminates into the ground.


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