Feinstein marks end of wetlands restoration project


"Today is a feast rather than a fight," said Feinstein.

After years of fighting and $100 million in funding, Feinstein says the completion of the first phase of the Bay Salt Pond Restoration Project is a milestone in preserving the health of the bay.

"I have come to really believe that this bay is the destiny of the San Francisco Bay Area, and to return this bay to the wetlands that had existed is an imperative," she said.

Imperative to return this once lush natural habitat back to its original healthy state. Thousands of shorebirds are expected to begin nesting there this fall.

"The first two cells have 30 nesting islands that are being managed for shallow water forging habitat," explained Sam Schuchat with Coastal Conservancy. "The third cell will remain dry in the summer and we expect it will attract [birds]."

The 237-acre site that opened Tuesday is Restoration Pond SF2. It is located on the south edge of the Dumbarton Bridge and is part of the 16,000 acres the state bought from Cargill Salt in 2003. The purchase was a collaborative effort between government and private business.

The Obama administration praises the project as a benefit to nature and mankind.

"We see this all around the country that healthy natural resources are important for a healthy economy," said Nancy Sutley, chair of the President's Council on Environmental Quality.

"Millions of people are dependent upon this not just for recreation and for the intangible attributes, but for things like improving water quality through capture storm water," said Steve McCormick of The Moore Foundation.

By the end of the year another 4,000 acres extending north to Napa will be restored. The area today also includes walking trails and overlooks perfect viewing for what will be flying in.

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