Audubon & the San Francisco Bay Restoration Plan
Giant Leap Forward Announced…US National Audubon officials have praised an extraordinary agreement announced today by US Senator Dianne Feinstein that enables the acquisition of 16,500 acres of San Francisco Bay Area salt ponds from Cargill, Inc. through a unique public-private partnership. The successful completion of negotiations is a significant step forward in helping return these salt ponds to their natural state as healthy wetlands.San Francisco Bay is a site of international significance, and this acquisition sets the stage for the largest tidal wetlands restoration ever attempted on the US Pacific Coast, said National Audubon Society President John Flicker. Restoration of large parcels such as the Cargill salt ponds is critical to restoring the Bay`s overall health, and will provide many long-term benefits such as increased habitat for fish and wildlife, cleaner water, and additional recreational opportunities for the public. The South Bay salt ponds acquisition is part of Bring Back the Bay, Audubon`s 20-Year Plan to restore the entire San Francisco Bay estuary, starting with 100,000 acres of wetlands - half the acreage that has been lost or damaged.Audubon is working every day to protect our great natural heritage by restoring and conserving major ecosystems and wildlife habitats across the country. This initiative is one of our highest priorities, and Audubon is committing resources at every level to support it, Flicker continued. The completion of these negotiations culminates more than two years of close cooperation between Audubon`s San Francisco Bay Restoration Program, the offices of Senator Feinstein and California Governor Gray Davis, Cargill management, private philanthropists and other conservation groups. Audubon applauds the leadership of those involved for demonstrating that private economic goals can be made compatible with the protection of the environment.This is a unique opportunity to implement a major habitat-preservation and restoration project in the heart of a major urban area. It will be a model for communities across the country that are looking to restore natural resources in developed areas, said Jerry Secundy, Executive Director of Audubon California. We will act to ensure the restoration plan is effective, and to support what we recognize as the most significant step to date towards Bay restoration. As California`s wetlands continue to disappear, efforts to restore them become increasingly critical, he continued. Healthy wetlands are vital to a healthy economy and environment. Large-scale wetlands restoration projects are a valuable investment in our natural infrastructure, and will pay the public huge dividends for years to come.NB Audubon is dedicated to protecting birds and other wildlife and the habitat that supports them. Their national network of community-based Audubon nature centres and chapters, environmental education programs, and advocacy on behalf of areas sustaining important bird populations, engage millions of people of all ages and backgrounds in positive conservation experiences across North America.
4th July 2014