Salt water returns to Pacheco Marsh, birds will follow

CONTRA COSTA COUNTY, CA (Nov. 11, 2021) — Normally, a hole in a levee and the sound of rushing water is not an occasion for speeches and cheering.

But on the morning of Oct. 29, as some 250 spectators watched, two backhoes deliberately and ceremoniously cut through a levee holding back the Suisun Bay from Pacheco Marsh waiting on the other side. Emotions ran high as salt water rushed through the breach to claim its rightful home on the Martinez shoreline.

Just days before the planned breach, epic storms dropped more than 7 inches of rain flooding the entire marsh. Crews worked for days to pump out more than a million gallons to assure the waters flowed into the marsh as planned.

The dramatic breach was the result of a 20-year, $24.5 million partnership between the John Muir Land Trust and the Contra Costa County Flood Control District to restore 212 acres of Lower Walnut Creek. This is the largest public works project in the county’s history.

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