By Juliana Medan

Exciting news! Our Bay-Saving team can once again begin work at the Bel Marin Keys wetland restoration site in Novato.

Save The Bay began work at this site around a year and a half ago but flooding from a levee breach and heavy rainfall this past winter prevented our staff and volunteers from accessing the site. This opportunity is especially exciting because it is our first public volunteer venture into the North Bay in many years.

This restoration site is part of the larger Hamilton Wetlands Restoration Project funded by the California State Coastal Conservancy. Save The Bay is continuing this work with the Conservancy and other essential partners. Restoring the Bel Marin Keys is the next step in ensuring that this area is sustainable for countless species of birds, plants, and other organisms native to the Bay.

Both staff and volunteers will implement a farm-style approach to growing native plant species. We will clear invasive species around the farming rows and collect seeds to grow plants at the site. This work ensures that plant propagation is properly scaled for approximately 40 acres of seasonal wetland restoration.

This exciting collaboration with the California State Coastal Conservancy and other partners is crucial to the future of our Bay. Volunteers play a pivotal role in our restoration work.  In helping us, you are helping restore a transition zone of seasonal wetlands–an area of dense vegetation inhabited by many animal species. Transition zones act as a buffer between the water they thrive in and the shore on the other side that remains threatened by progressing sea level rise. You will also learn about the importance of wetlands in our Bay from our knowledgeable staff.

Restoring areas like Bel Marin Keys not only helps restore the habitats of countless plant and animal species but also combats increasing sea level rise. Homes that sit along the shorelines in areas vulnerable to rising tides benefit from the buffering that wetlands. Plants in marsh areas slow down the movement of water by acting as an effective barrier, breaking powerful shoreline waves and protecting both people and wildlife.

The North Bay is an excellent area for recreational activities such as hiking, biking, and fishing. Wetland restoration ensures that more people can enjoy this beautiful Bay and all that it has to offer. The Bel Marin Keys wetlands deserve protection, restoration, and, most importantly, your help.

Join us on June 1st and 15th for this incredible opportunity or contribute in any way you can.

If you’re ready to see the Bay from a new perspective, regardless of whether it’s your first time or your fiftieth, we’ve got five hikes you won’t want to miss. Our Bay-Saving team has curated a list that will take you to dazzling vistas, fields of flowers and trails lined with treetop canopies and wildlife. Get out for a hike and share your images with us @savesfbay.

Mount Tamalpais is in the heart of Marin County, and its trails are endless. If you’re feeling adventurous, consider the 15.4-mile hike from Stinson Beach to the 2,571-foot peak. On a clear day, you can see the Farallon Islands, Marin County hills, San Francisco Bay, East Bay and Mount Diablo.
Lands End is one of the great coastal trails along the northwestern corner of San Francisco. This 3.5-mile loop has magnificent views across 30 miles of coastline where you’ll see green hills, wildflowers, shipwrecks, Sutro Bath ruins and the Golden Gate Bridge.
Claremont Canyon Regional Preserve offers breathtaking views from the East to the West. Nestled in the Berkeley hills, you can stroll through towering trees and native flora and fauna along the Strawberry Canyon Fire Trail. Consider a picnic dinner and enjoy the sunset.
Don Edwards San Francisco Bay National Wildlife Refuge spans 30,000 acres and is an oasis for millions of migratory birds and endangered species. Hit the visitor’s center and choose your trail, whether you want to stroll through a butterfly garden, walk the boardwalk over the marsh, or hike and bike along the levee, there’s something for everyone.
Mountain View Cemetery may not be at the top of your list, but it’s a beautiful garden cemetery in the foothills of Oakland with expansive views and serene spaces with fountains and lush landscapes. Designed by Frederick Olmsted, it is the resting place of many famous personalities including Julia Morgan, Samuel Merritt, Lydia Flood Jackson, Anthony Chabot and Kate Carew.