West Coast
Robinson Kuntz / Fairfield Daily Republic

CA - SF Estuary Flows Into Restored Marsh for First Time Since 1800s

COLLINSVILLE — The first phase of a highly touted tidal marsh recovery plan was completed this week when a levee was breached and the restored marsh area was reconnected to the San Francisco Bay estuary for the first time since the late 1800s.

The first phase of the Montezuma Wetlands Restored Tidal Marsh Project was completed Tuesday.

The restored area includes 566 acres of tidal marsh and subtidal habitat, 45 acres of seasonal wetlands and 19 acres of high tide refuge and bird nesting habitat. Approximately 220 acres of adjacent uplands will be enhanced to improve upland habitat quality, plan documents state.

More than a dozen permits and in excess of 8.5 million cubic yards of sediment dredged from bay shipping lanes were used.

The site, which is privately owned, is located in the Suisun Marsh, bordered to the west by Montezuma Slough and to the east by the Montezuma Hills, near Collinsville and about 17 miles southeast of Fairfield.

“At the confluence of where fresh and saltwater meet in the (San Francisco) Bay Delta estuary, the Montezuma wetlands was one of the most valuable habitats in the (San Francisco) Bay region until the late 1800s, when it was diked and separated from the surrounding wildlife,” according to a statement on the project.

Jim Levine, head of the Montezuma Wetlands LLC, began planning a strategy to restore the site by raising site elevations to those appropriate for tidal wetlands.

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