Navy Forced to Destroy Wetlands at Alameda Point

A recently released Navy document reveals that an implausible last-minute health-risk theory killed the Navy’s plan for upgrading and expanding wetlands at Alameda Point where a regional park is planned (Navy To Create New Wetlands,” Jan. 3, 2019).

A 60-acre cleanup site, known as Site 32, was on track to include 15 acres of seasonal wetlands, along with a doubling of watershed drainage into the wetlands.  The regulatory agencies overseeing cleanup — namely, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Regional Water Board, and Department of Toxic Substances Control — had signed off on the plan in 2018.  But nothing has been done since the tons of clean soil for the project were delivered there in 2019.

A support agency, the CA Department of Public Health (CDPH), interjected claims that trees, other vegetation, and burrowing animals could compromise the proposed soil cover underneath the 15 acres of proposed new wetlands, exposing people and animals to radiological contaminants from paint residue on scattered objects that have been buried there for 65 years.

Continue reading “Navy Forced to Destroy Wetlands at Alameda Point”

Volunteers clean up trash on shoreline of future De-Pave Park

It was an unsightly mess that motivated concerned residents to spring into action. 

About 20 volunteers showed up on Sunday morning, October 17, to pick up the blanket of litter along the western shoreline of the Seaplane Lagoon at Alameda Point.  This area is a popular destination for recreational visitors, many of whom leave their trash on the ground.  The city recently took steps to stop side-show activity there.

Continue reading “Volunteers clean up trash on shoreline of future De-Pave Park”

Bay Restoration Agency Denies Funding for DePave Park

Political favoritism may have affected the decision.

The San Francisco Bay Restoration Authority has denied the city’s request for a planning grant for DePave Park at Alameda Point (City to Seek Funding for Wetland Park at Alameda Point, Sept. 24, 2020).  This ecological wetland park is proposed for the western side of the Seaplane Lagoon.  The rejection letter and the agency’s ranking of applicants raise questions of fairness in awarding grants.

The Alameda City Council did not help matters when it rejected calls to include funds for a DePave Park master plan in the recently-adopted two-year budget.

In the recent round of grant awards from the Restoration Authority, Alameda’s request for $1.165 million for DePave Park planning was denied, while the East Bay Regional Park District (EBRPD) was awarded $500,000 for designing the Hayward Marsh Restoration Project.  Whether or not a 2016 campaign contribution from EBRPD to the Restoration Authority’s ballot Measure AA gave them a bump in the rankings is unclear.  But the optics are not good.

Continue reading “Bay Restoration Agency Denies Funding for DePave Park”

Dune Restoration, Shoreline Project Completed

The East Bay Regional Park District (EBRPD) completed its beach and dune improvement project at Alameda Point in December 2020.   The complete facelift comes on the heels of the city upgrading the nearby boat ramp.  The area is accessible from Central Avenue next to Encinal High School.

The beach is a popular launch site for non-motorized watercraft, such as kayaks, outrigger canoes, and paddle boards.  The EBRPD project has greatly enhanced recreational functionality by providing easier access to the water from the parking lot down to the beach.  The new landscaping has also improved the overall aesthetics of the shoreline. Continue reading “Dune Restoration, Shoreline Project Completed”

Marine Conservation, Wildlife, and Recreation Area proposed for General Plan

The City of Alameda is in the process of updating its General Plan.  The current draft of the updated plan draws attention to wildlife habitat, a welcome addition.  However, it misses the largest contiguous wildlife habitat in all of Alameda – that is, the waterway on the south side of Alameda Point.  

To address this oversight, a proposal supported by stakeholders listed below has been submitted to the City recommending a policy that brings together both the habitat values and the recreational values of this area.  The proposal calls for designating the area as the Alameda Point Marine Conservation, Wildlife, and Recreation Area.  This area includes the deepwater ship channel, the ship harbor, the harbor extending to the mudflat and beach, and the rock walls and rocky shoreline.

This waterway hosts a complex web of life, from the creatures and vegetation living in the seabed sediment and on the rock walls and rocky shoreline, to the fish, marine mammals and birds that depend on it for food, resting, reproducing and raising offspring.  This waterway also is popular with non-motorized water sports enthusiasts.  It is unique among the open space areas of Alameda and deserves special recognition not only because of its multiple values to the community, but also because “water” is part of Alameda’s identity. Continue reading “Marine Conservation, Wildlife, and Recreation Area proposed for General Plan”

Seaplane Lagoon Ferry Terminal and Bay Trail updates – Oct. 1, 2020

The Seaplane Lagoon Ferry Terminal construction and a section of the Bay Trail are completed.   The trail is open, but the opening of the ferry terminal is delayed due to the impact of COVID-19 on ridership.  Details below.

Ferry terminal temporarily unopened 

The Seaplane Lagoon Ferry Terminal was completed in August, but the opening is on hold until ferry ridership to San Francisco is back up post Covid.  Details and a sign-up option for email updates are on a special webpage called Seaplane Shift.   When service begins at the Seaplane Lagoon terminal, ferry service will continue at the Main Street Ferry Terminal, but the routes and schedules will change.

Fun facts about the new terminal: Continue reading “Seaplane Lagoon Ferry Terminal and Bay Trail updates – Oct. 1, 2020”

City to seek funding for wetland park at Alameda Point

The proposed ecological wetland park at Alameda Point, known as DePave Park, is another step closer to becoming a reality.  On Sept. 15, 2020, four members of the city council gave thumbs up to moving forward with seeking a $2 million grant to pay for a master planning process.

“I am super-stoked about this project; it’s better than I ever imagined,” said Councilmember Jim Oddie, who has led recent efforts at City Hall to get action on this park.  “I was really touched when I saw the drawing.  I broke down in tears it was so beautiful.”

As currently envisioned, park construction will entail removing old pavement and softening the edge of the western side of the Seaplane Lagoon which will allow water into the park and become adaptable to sea level rise.  A tidal channel through the park will connect the Seaplane Lagoon with the existing wetland on the federal property, thereby creating a combined wetland ecosystem with multiplied benefits. Continue reading “City to seek funding for wetland park at Alameda Point”