Water Resource Collections and Archives


San Francisco Bay Fund Inventory of Projects

San Francisco Bay Fund Inventory of Projects

Monitoring of Marsh Restoration Project at Bahia

Organization: Marin Audubon Society
2008 Grant Recipient – Marin County


This follow-up grant was to monitor the progress of the Tidal Marsh Restoration project that was constructed in 2008.

A previous Bayfund grant in 2005 from the San Francisco Foundation provided funds to restore tidal marsh habitat on approximately 200 acres that had been diked and/or filled land at Bahia, city of Novato, Marin County. The larger project included the purchase of the 632-acre Bahia property, preparation of a tidal marsh habitat restoration plan and implementation of that plan. The property consisted of 377-acres of diked former tidal marsh and seasonal wetlands, approximately 255 acres of seasonal wetlands and blue oak dominated hills adjacent to the salt marsh. The city of Novato had approved building a housing development on the uplands and some of the wetlands.

The target species the restoration plan was designed to benefit is the endangered California Clapper Rail which inhabits nearby tidal marshes. Restoring tidal marsh will expand habitat for the Clapper Rail, other special status species including California Black Rail and San Pablo Song Sparrow, as well as for many species of migratory waterfowl and shorebirds.

The San Francisco Foundation funding was designated for construction of the restoration plan, specifically to excavate channels and move fill to raise the elevations of subsided lands, and lower and breach levees to allow tidal waters to again flow over former tidal marsh that had been diked for many years. The construction took place over five months and was completed on October 30, 2008.

It is important to monitor the evolution of newly-restored tidal marsh habitat to evaluate whether it is progressing as planned toward a mature marsh, and to identify any problems needing correction. Monitoring also helps to inform other marsh restoration projects.

As with the 2005 grant, the 2008 San Francisco Foundation grant was combined with other funding to provide for monitoring of the various restoration processes and document progress toward revegetation of both the tidal marsh and adjacent transition zone. Physical processes monitored by hydrologic engineers included tidal hydrodynamics, channel morphology, breach cross sections, and marsh plain. Plant distribution and health was monitored by native plant/habitat ecologist.

Post construction surveys at Year-1 indicate that the project was constructed, with a few modifications, as planned and, although early in the evolution, is generally progressing as expected. Recommendations for year 3 monitoring were made. Monitoring is required to take place every three to five years over a period of 15 years.


Contact for the Project

Barbara Salzman
Marin Audubon Society
Project Director
Website: www.MarinAudubon.org

Quick Links

Project Photos

Bahia Levee Breach - Crane dipping into the river. The Levee is in the City of Novato, Marin County

Bahia Seasonal and Tidal areas one and a-half year after Breach of the Levee.

Conservation Corps North Bay workers planting transition zone.

Marsh Vegetation Colonizing the Bahia Marsh Plain.

Bahia Monitoring Plan Elements

Last modified: 9/5/2012 3:15 PM by S. Haren

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