Crews broke through the last levee separating former marshlands from the sea in Martinez, California, on Oct. 29, allowing water to flow freely. The John Muir Land Trust (JMLT) and Contra Costa County Flood Control & Water Conservation District (CCCFCD) hosted this dramatic breach of the levee that allowed the waters of Suisun Bay to flow back into 232-acre Pacheco Marsh for the first time in nearly 100 years. The event, sponsored by Marathon Petroleum, marks the completion of two decades of work to acquire the property, raise $24.5 million in funding, and complete the first phases of restoration. State, county and local elected officials and other agencies including California State Lands, Bay Conservation and Development Commission, and California Department of Fish & Wildlife attended the highly anticipated event.
The marsh is adjacent to the Martinez Renewable Fuels facility. In 2019, Marathon Petroleum donated a parcel of land, valued at $4 million, to help complete the project. JMLT and CCCFCD are working to restore Pacheco Marsh as a haven for wildlife and open the site to visitors.
Anne Partmann, Environmental Supervisor for Martinez Renewable Fuels, spoke at the breech ceremony to recognize the efforts.
“The attention to detail on this project is incredible,” Partmann said. “I feel very fortunate to have witnessed this transformation, which will be a great benefit to nature for many years to come.”
The restoration of Pacheco Marsh is part of a broad effort to revitalize the San Francisco Bay shoreline.
Marathon Petroleum’s Martinez site is currently being converted to a renewable fuels facility. For an overview of this project, click here.