Magazine Features

Saving a Species Struck by Systemic Oversights at Clear Lake

Since the 1950s, four native fish extinctions have taken place in Lake County’s Clear Lake: the thicktail chub, Clear Lake splittail, Pacific lamprey, and hardhead. A fifth endemic species, the Clear Lake hitch, is teetering on the brink. “Agencies view the hitch as just a fish. But for Tribes the hitch is sacred,” explains Big Valley Band of Pomo Indians tribal elder Ron Montez, Sr. “We believe Creator placed this...
Shorebirds-on-1-restored-habitat_U.S.-Geological-Survey_William-Chan

Wetland Restoration is for the Birds

It’s high tide at Eden Landing Ecological Reserve, on San Francisco Bay due west of Union City, and Nathan Van Schmidt is counting birds on Pond E9 with both hands. Van Schmidt, science director for the San Francisco Bay Bird Observatory, has a clicker in his right hand to track American Avocet, and another in his left for Northern Shoveler. “Wetlands can support an incredible biomass of birds,” he says....
Aerial view of Bouldin Island. Courtesy MWD

An Inclusive Vision for Bouldin Island

Over resistance from local governments and environmental organizations, in 2016 Southern California’s Metropolitan Water District purchased five islands in the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta. While it wasn’t immediately clear what the powerful water agency intended for these islands, the move reminded some Californians of the “Wild West” years of water rights claimed by surreptitious land purchases. Now, years later, it appears the District is making good on that purchase by...
Vogel Island after breaching during first filling. Photo: EIP/Bill Arnerich

Lookout Slough Restoration will be the Delta’s Largest Yet

When the restoration of Lookout Slough is complete, Lookout Slough will be no more. Created to provide water for a century-old duck-hunting club, the human-made canal will be filled in as part of a $119 million, 3,400-acre tidal wetlands restoration, the largest ever in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta. “Drought and climate change have elevated the importance of these types of multi-benefit projects,” said Karla Nemeth, director of the California Department...
Measuring sediment accretion and Hamilton wetlands restoration site in Marin County. Photo: ESA

From Sticks to Satellites: Restoration 1960-2023

The 1960s and ‘70s were a time of rapid change for the San Francisco Bay shoreline. It had long been treated as a waste disposal site or area to fill for development, but public outcry for protection reached a crescendo in 1969 with the birth of the San Francisco Bay Conservation and Development Commission (BCDC). The passage of the federal Clean Water Act in 1972 meant that destruction of wetland...
A freshly groomed bank far left. Some of the old revetment now forms riffles mid-river. Photo: Daniel McGlynn

Setbacks and Swallows for the Sacramento River

Adam Henderson spreads out an atlas with colorful pages on the closed trunk of his white sedan. It’s an early morning in February and the sun is just high enough to start burning off a blanket of fog that’s settled among the nearby willows and cottonwoods. Behind us, across a gravel parking lot, is a gate that’s an access point for the Sacramento River National Wildlife Refuge, controlled and maintained...
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ESTUARY News is the 30-year-old regional magazine of the San Francisco Estuary Partnership and its myriad partners around the Bay and Delta. Written by professional, independent journalists, it provides in-depth, silo-crossing coverage of the environmental, restoration.

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