New Restoration Opportunities at Bel Marin Keys

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.