The beach at the eastern end of Alameda Point near the dormant campground will undergo a major renovation in 2017. The East Bay Regional Park District (EBRPD) is planning to create a natural dune landscape. They are also planning to bring in more sand to the beach in order to raise the elevation to allow use of the beach at high tide.
In September of 2016, EBRPD submitted a grant application for $70,000 to the California Department of Fish and Wildlife. The application seeks funding from a special program called the Environmental Enhancement Fund Grant Program. Penalties for oil spills are deposited into this fund. The money can only be used for environmental enhancement projects within or immediately adjacent to waters of the state. If approved, the funds will supplement up to $400,000 in Measure WW park bond funds that park district voters approved in 2008 for Alameda Point.
The dune is currently overrun with non-native ice plant. Plans call for reshaping the dune and planting dune grass. Other features of the renovation effort will include removing a rusted-out barge hulk currently serving as a retaining wall next to the Bay Trail. This area will be re-landscaped with pebbles to create a natural transition from the trail to the water.
The effort will also include removing two non-native trees and re-landscaping with native shrubbery.
EBRPD leases the beach and the Bay Trail from the city. The Bay Trail segment from the Encinal Boat Ramp to the ferry maintenance facility site near the USS Hornet Museum was built by EBRPD with state funds in 2007. In a separate effort, the city is seeking state funds for upgrading the adjacent parking lot with new paving and lighting, constructing restroom facilities, and constructing a new boat launch and kayak launch at the adjacent Encinal Boat Ramp.
The U.S. Navy created the beach in the mid-1940s when it constructed the breakwater system that extends more than a mile westward into San Francisco Bay. In addition to the popularity of the beach for migrating birds, the mudflat extending into the harbor hosts a thriving marine community that includes ghost shrimp and arrow gobies.
On September 16, 2016, EBRPD’s Board of Directors visited the beach during a daylong field trip to various locations. Board members and the public heard a presentation about the beach and dune restoration project by EBRPD’s Chief of Stewardship Matt Graul and Fisheries Program Manager Joe Sullivan.
Originally published in the Alameda Sun.