SUISUN CITY — A Suisun Marsh plan that calls for 5,000 to 7,000 acres of tidal wetlands restoration over 30 years and steps to benefit 40,000 acres of managed wetlands has become official.
The Suisun Marsh Habitat Management, Preservation and Restoration Plan got released in fall of 2011. On Thursday, the Bureau of Reclamation and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service signed the record of decision.
Suisun Marsh is 115,000 acres of wetlands, sloughs and uplands. Located south of Suisun City, it is the largest contiguous estuarine marsh in the nation. It is home to a variety of bird, animal and plant species, from waterfowl to tule elk to the rare Suisun aster.
“The Suisun Marsh is an important natural resource, and this plan is an excellent example of public-private partnerships, working to save an ecological treasure for both the people and species of California,” said Alexandra Pitts, deputy regional director for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, in a press release.
The marsh includes 150 duck clubs that have managed wetlands behind levees. The clubs drain and flood land and grow plants favored by waterfowl, though other species live on the clubs as well.
But there’s been a growing movement in recent years to breach levees and create tidal wetlands. These tidal wetlands can be used by such rare fish as the Delta smelt. The Suisun Marsh Habitat Management, Preservation and Restoration Plan tries to take both tidal and managed wetlands into account.
It’s unclear precisely where and when the 5,000 to 7,000 acres of tidal wetlands restoration will take place. Nor does the plan list estimated restoration costs or identify funding sources.
Restoration work could be done under the state’s Bay Delta Conservation Plan or other habitat restoration efforts, the press release said.
The plan also contains components to help the managed wetlands. For example, it allows duck club owners in some situations and with oversight to dredge clay from local sloughs and use it to shore up levees.
Among the agencies that worked on the plan are the Suisun Resource Conservation District, the California Department of Water Resources, the Delta Stewardship Council and the National Marine Fisheries Service.
Reach Barry Eberling at 427-6929 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/beberlingdr.