Feinstein praises South Bay
salt ponds restoration project
By Jason Bennert, Bay City News Service
March 21, 2006
ALVISO (BCN) - Sen. Dianne Feinstein joined representatives
of Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and President George W. Bush Monday
in Alviso to celebrate the three-year anniversary of the largest
wetlands restoration project on the West Coast.
The South Bay Salt Pond Restoration project seeks to restore
thousands of acres of salt ponds formerly owned by Cargill Salt
Feinstein spearheaded the public-private effort that purchased
the salt ponds for $100 million.
"Three years ago, I stood along the Bay to announce an historic
public-private partnership - moving 16,500 acres from Cargill
Salt to the California Department of Fish and Game and the US
Fish and Wildlife Service,'' Feinstein said at a ceremony at the
Don Edwards San Francisco Bay National Wildlife Refuge. "I
said at the time that I'd like to see the restoration completed
in my lifetime. And today, we are seeing major progress toward
that goal. So far more than 12,000 acres of wetlands have begun
the restoration process, including the 479 acres of salt ponds
opened to Bay water this month. This is a major milestone in the
largest wetlands restoration effort in California history.''
Feinstein was joined by U.S. Department of Interior Deputy Secretary
Lynn Scarlett and California Resources Secretary Mike Chrisman.
Since the salinity of the ponds has been reduced, in part by
a series of levy breaches allowing the free flow of Bay water,
officials have noticed a 100 percent increase in waterfowl at
"The regional and national benefits, including healthier
fisheries, improved flood management, improved water resources,
and enhanced wildlife-oriented recreation opportunities are central
to Governor's Schwarzenegger's environmental effort to turn back
the clock on decades of neglect." Chrisman said. "Ultimately,
this partnership will benefit our generation, the next generation
and create a lasting legacy now that will improve the quality
of life for all future generations.''
The next phase of the restoration is scheduled to begin in 2008.
The full restoration of the ponds is expected to take a number
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