Pacheco Marsh


Thanks to all of you in the JMLT community, we reached an important milestone on June 30, 202. We raised the $1 million from individual donors needed for low-impact features that will allow 232-acre Pacheco Marsh to be opened to the public. Destined to be a favorite destination where young people can learn firsthand about the salt marsh ecosystem, the restored marsh will welcome all nature lovers to enjoy bird watching and informative walks along the shore of Suisun Bay. 

On October 29, 2021, a pair of excavators cut through the last remaining levee allowing the waters of Suisan Bay to gush back in. With the return of the tidal flows, vegetation will grow rapidly and the marsh will quickly become a refuge for migrating birds, spawning fish, and the threatened salt-marsh harvest mouse. 

Pacheco Marsh Restoration & Public Access Project

Overall Project Goal: $24.5 million

  • Restoration: $19.5 million
  • Public Access: $5 million

John Muir Land Trust has successfully raised the needed $1 million to ensure public access at the site after restoration, including 2.4 miles of trails, elevated vistas, bird blinds, a kayak launch, and an educational facility. JMLT and partners Contra Costa County Flood Control District (CCCFCD) and East Bay Regional Park District (EBRPD) have begun habitat restoration and are working to open the site to visitors. 


Recovering a Vital Ecosystem

Generations ago, the San Francisco Bay and Delta supported abundant upstream freshwater marshes and downstream salt marshes and mudflats. These served as vital pathways for migrating birds and fish species that spawn in inland streams and live adult lives in the ocean. Salt marshes provide essential food, nutrients, refuge, and nursery habitat for an estimated 75 percent of fisheries species. Human activity has resulted in the loss of more than 90% of historic tidal wetlands. Pacheco Marsh has been diked, drained, and partially filled with dredge spoils. The creek has been widened and redirected. A sanitary sewer outfall has been built down the middle of the property. Scarred by this industrial activity, Pacheco Marsh is a microcosm of the larger story.

Thriving Habitat

Biologists are recreating habitat for threatened bird species, marine invertebrates, and coastal fish. Pacheco Marsh is home to ten special- status plant and animal species, including the salt-marsh harvest mouse and the Black Rail—rarely-seen and on the list of avid bird-watchers. Nutrients and biological connectivity are being restored through soil quality rehabilitation and lowering of the levee. When the site opens, visitors will experience abundant wildlife thriving side-by-side with human communities. The site is known as a birders’ paradise.

Outdoor Classroom

Unique educational features will teach young people how a marsh ecosystem functions and why it is so important to life in the Bay. Planned are 2.4 miles of walking trails, elevated vistas, bird blinds, interpretive signs, and an educational facility. The marsh will teach how human activity can harm the natural environment, but also how responsible care and attention can catalyze nature’s remarkable ability to recover.

Natural Solutions For Community Needs

Salt marshes protect shorelines from erosion by buffering wave action and trapping sediments. Marshes protect water quality by filtering runoff and metabolizing excess nutrients. Marshes protect community infrastructure during periods of intense flooding. Thoughtful design strengthens ecological resilience by allowing the marsh to adapt over time to climate change and sea level rise.


With planned low-impact features in place, bird watchers and outdoor enthusiasts will soon view wildlife responsibly in restored habitat. Those seeking healthy recreation will explore carefully constructed trails that offer up-close views of each sub-ecosystem while protecting the marsh’s full-time residents. Young minds will experience nature firsthand. All will be enthralled by the stunning contrasts—thriving habitat surrounded by a stark industrial backdrop. The towers of oil refineries can be seen in the distance while tankers pass underneath the parallel spans of the Benicia-Martinez Bridge to the north. The entire history of the shoreline can be experienced in this one remarkable place.


Help complete the restoration of Pacheco Marsh for everyone to enjoy.

Make a donation today.