Session Title

Environment, Government, and Conflict

College

College of Arts and Sciences

Department

Department of English

Faculty Mentor

Jo Koster, Ph.D.

Abstract

California taxpayers are funding the South Bay Salt Pond Restoration Project to restore the decimated tidal marsh wetlands ecosystem of the San Francisco Bay estuary over the next 50 years. This paper calls for increased scrutiny from the agency serving as a watchdog over this project by delaying the next phase until identified uncertainties have been addressed and the questions of whether the complexity and costs of restoring these wetlands outweigh the ability to achieve the project goals have been answered. I incorporate peer-reviewed scientific research that describes success rates of previous wetlands restoration projects; analysis and recommendations for ecosystem restoration; and project-related documents that identify environmental impacts of the project; planning and monitoring approaches; and a published summary of findings from the first phase of the project implementation. Recently, sea-level rise due to climate change has been raised as a question by the managers and researchers actively participating in the project. This is a significant uncertainty which could undermine the entire project’s success and one which must be addressed before the next phase of the project begins. Political and economic pressures to move the project forward must be tackled by the watchdog agency to ensure integrity and long-term success.

Start Date

12-4-2019 3:00 PM

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Apr 12th, 3:00 PM

South Bay Salt Pond Restoration Project: Dream or Nightmare?

West 217

California taxpayers are funding the South Bay Salt Pond Restoration Project to restore the decimated tidal marsh wetlands ecosystem of the San Francisco Bay estuary over the next 50 years. This paper calls for increased scrutiny from the agency serving as a watchdog over this project by delaying the next phase until identified uncertainties have been addressed and the questions of whether the complexity and costs of restoring these wetlands outweigh the ability to achieve the project goals have been answered. I incorporate peer-reviewed scientific research that describes success rates of previous wetlands restoration projects; analysis and recommendations for ecosystem restoration; and project-related documents that identify environmental impacts of the project; planning and monitoring approaches; and a published summary of findings from the first phase of the project implementation. Recently, sea-level rise due to climate change has been raised as a question by the managers and researchers actively participating in the project. This is a significant uncertainty which could undermine the entire project’s success and one which must be addressed before the next phase of the project begins. Political and economic pressures to move the project forward must be tackled by the watchdog agency to ensure integrity and long-term success.

 

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