On April 25, California’s Coastal Conservancy and the Corps of Engineers took the final step in its restoration of Hamilton Airfield to tidal marsh habitat, by using heavy machinery to breach the levee that has separated Hamilton from the Bay for over a century.  Bay waters rushed in as the crowd cheered.

When the San Francisco-area air base was decommissioned in 1996, some in the community wanted it replaced with another airfield. But community members like Novato City Councilwoman Pat Eklund pushed to have it restored to open space.

The 648-acre wetland restoration project in Novato along the Marin shoreline will help improve the health of the bay, its wildlife and fish, but also, with rising sea levels, it can provide a buffer against storms and damage to surrounding communities.

The site was cleaned up and filled with 5.6 million cubic yards of dredged material, mostly from the Port of Oakland, to raise the elevation and speed conversion to tidal marsh habitat.  A 2.7 mile section of Bay Trail was completed as part of the project, so the public can visit the project and enjoy the wetlands and wildlife that are now flourishing.

(READ the story at NBC San Francisco)

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