Pacheco Marsh

Thanks to all of you in the JMLT community, we reached an important milestone on June 30, 2021. 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: $27.5 million

  • Restoration: $19.5 million
  • Public Access: $8 million

John Muir Land Trust has successfully raised the needed $8 million—thank you, donors and funding partners!—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 partner, Contra Costa County Flood Control District (CCCFCD), has almost completed habitat restoration. The restoration project received the 2023 Project of the Year Award from the American Public Works Association (APWA). JMLT will start construction for habitat-sensitive public access in Fall 2024 and open the site to visitors when complete.

Contractors interested in bidding on the project can request the bid package by emailing Sean Pritchard at spritchard@ksninc.com. In the email, please include your company name, representative's name, email address, and contact phone number. We will then send you a link to download the bid package. For more information about the project and the bidding process, please see our advertisement here


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.

Photo: Adam Weidenbach

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.


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.


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.

Photo: Adam Weidenbach


Support our ongoing work of ensuring safe public access to Pacheco Marsh for all visitors.




The Pacheco Marsh restoration and public access project is made possible by our project partners and the generosity of JMLT donors and funders.

Association of Bay Area Governments
California Department of Fish & Wildlife
California Department of Parks and Recreation, Proposition 68
California Climate Investments
California State Coastal Conservancy
Department of Water Resources, State of California
Metropolitan Transportation Commission
National Fish and Wildlife Foundation
Resources Legacy Fund
San Francisco Bay Restoration Authority, Measure AA
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Wildlife Conservation Board, State of California