Campaign For Pacheco Marsh
An Inspiration To All
John Muir Land Trust is excited to announce that we are now raising the funds necessary to construct the low-impact features that will open 232-acre Pacheco Marsh to the public. This will become a favorite destination where young people learn firsthand about the salt marsh ecosystem that is so vital to marine species, and everyone can enjoy a day exploring a thriving natural habitat along the shore of Suisun Bay. Scarred from decades of intense industrial activity, the property was acquired for conservation in 2003. JMLT and partners Contra Costa County Flood Control District and East Bay Regional Park District, have finalized plans for extensive habitat restoration and for opening the site to visitors.
Pacheco Marsh Restoration & Public Access Project
- Overall Project Goal: $24.5 million
- Restoration: $19.5 million
- Public Access: $5 million
- Funds Raised: 73% of goal
John Muir Land Trust must raise $1 million by March 31, 2021 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.
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.
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.
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.
Three partners are working to restore Pacheco Marsh’s wildlife habitat and wetland activity: John Muir Land Trust, the Contra Costa County Flood Control District, and the East Bay Regional Park District. Biological restoration is underway. JMLT is raising funds to begin construction on features needed to open the marsh to the general public.