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”
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”
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”
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”
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”
On August 7, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers awarded a services contract to Adanta, Inc. of Napa to expand and enhance an existing wetland on the Veterans Affairs (VA) property at Alameda Point. The wetland project is being implemented to offset impacts to wetland areas elsewhere on the VA property where a health clinic, offices and a columbarium cemetery will be built.
“The four-year services contract, valued at up to $2,373,044, includes development, seed collection, propagation, restoration, and enhancement to ensure the wetland is completely established as a self-sustaining tidal marsh at the VA Alameda Point site,” states the Corps of Engineers August 14 news release. “In total, 8 acres of new tidal marsh will be installed and established, as will 3.3 acres of tidal transitional habitat; and 14.8 acres of existing tidal wetland will be enhanced.” Seed collection and preparation is scheduled to start this summer. The work is expected to be completed in 2025.
One-third of the wetland impacts of the VA project will not be offset at Alameda Point. The Corps of Engineers will purchase credits in the San Francisco Bay Wetland Mitigation Bank for 3.6 acres of impacts. The mitigation bank manages a wetland restoration project in Redwood City funded by Bay Area projects that impact wetlands. The credit purchase detail is not mentioned in the news release. Continue reading “Wetland contract awarded for Alameda Point”
The cypress trees in the wetland near the proposed DePave Park at Alameda Point have served as a safe and secure nesting site for Great Blue Herons for many years. This year is no exception, despite the trees having died and barely standing. On May 7, Audubon Society bird observer Dawn Lemoine counted 13 juveniles in the nests.
The wetland around the cypress trees provides the ideal landing spot for the young herons’ first flight and subsequent adaptation to life outside the nest. They can be seen for the first week or so after leaving the nest hanging out in the wetland preening and sunning themselves. Continue reading “New generation of Great Blue Herons born in cypress rookery”