Archived News Release from 2008
For Immediate Release
“Partners in Restoration” Launches Unique Dredging / Bair Island Habitat Restoration Project
Redwood City, CA - December 10, 2008 – On the morning of December 8th, 2008, a huge “clamshell” dredge plunged into the channel at the Port of Redwood City, brought up a gigantic, soaking wet load of sediment from the bottom, and dumped it onto a barge for eventual disposal…not in the bay or the ocean, but onto Inner Bair Island as part of its ongoing restoration to tidal wetland. This ceremony officially launched a project for the “beneficial re-use” of dredge materials to help with the habitat restoration of Bair Island, part of the Don Edwards San Francisco Bay National Wildlife Refuge. It’s the ultimate in recycling!
The beneficial re-use of dredged material is a primary goal of the Bay Area’s Long Term Management Strategy for Dredging and Dredged Material Disposal. Such beneficial re-use projects are really a “win-win-win” - they 1) fulfill the goals of maritime commerce providing economic benefits to the local and regional economies; 2) reap environmental benefits for improved wildlife habitat, and 3) offer recreational public access and social benefits for the local community and region at large.
At Monday’s well-attended ceremony, stakeholders and partners in the project gathered to hear from a variety of local and regional leaders:
- Rosanne Foust, Mayor of Redwood City;
- Mendel Stewart, Manager, San Francisco Bay National Wildlife Refuge Complex, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service;
- Richard “Dick” Dodge, Chairman of the Board of Port Commissioners, Port of Redwood City;
- Major Adam Edwards, Deputy Commander, San Francisco District, United States Army Corps of Engineers;
- Ellen Joslin Johnck, Executive Director, Bay Planning Coalition;
- David Lewis, Executive Director, Save the Bay;
- Rich Gordon, Member, San Mateo County Board of Supervisors.
As a long-time champion of this model program to re-use the dredge material for environmental purposes, U.S. Representative Anna Eshoo was eagerly anticipating being on hand to participate in this ceremony. However she was called back to Washington D.C. on very short notice to take part in critical House votes on fast-moving economic legislation. She sent word, though, of her enthusiasm and commitment to this joint project, as a model of beneficial re-use to be replicated in other areas of the state. In large part, her leadership and regional perspective of the delicate balance between environmental action, economics, maritime commerce, and the need for regular Port dredging, has brought this project to fruition.
The Bair Island Task Force, including many of the leaders and organizations mentioned above, has been working for three years toward the accomplishment of necessary dredging at the Port of Redwood City with adequate funding, simultaneous with the beneficial re-use of the dredged material for habitat restoration at Inner Bair Island. As a result, approximately 200,000 cubic yards of sediment will be pumped to Bair Island instead of being dumped in the bay or ocean. This contributes to the more-than 1 million cubic yards of dirt that is needed to raise the level of Bair Island in preparation for its eventual return to a more natural tidal wetland.
At the same time, the dredging of the channel at the Port of Redwood City is crucial to ensure the ongoing economic health of the Port and surrounding businesses, and to maintain the Port’s important contributions to the local and regional economies.
These two goals have been united by the Bair Island Task Force, and the ceremony on December 8 represented the culmination of the beneficial re-use concept in Redwood City.
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Public Communications Manager
Executive Director, Bay Planning Coalition