One of the last significant unprotected wetland areas in San Francisco Bay is at risk of being lost to development. In the city of Newark, developers are seeking to import over 1.67 million cubic yards of fill (100,000 truckloads) to construct 469 luxury homes atop 500 acres of baylands. This land, called Newark Area 4, has long been recommended by scientists and climate experts for protection, restoration, and inclusion in the Don Edwards San Francisco Bay National Wildlife Refuge.
Anyone familiar with the San Francisco Bay shoreline knows that much of it has been filled, rip-rapped, and built up for port facilities, warehouses, landfills, and airports. For many years, San Francisco Bay scientists, resource managers, and climate adaptation experts have prioritized the protection and restoration of Newark Area 4 as part of overall efforts to restore San Francisco Bay.
The Don Edwards San Francisco Bay National Wildlife Refuge includes salt marsh, brackish marsh, freshwater marsh, salt ponds, mudflats, vernal pools, and uplands, all of which provide habitat for over 170 shoreline and upland native plants. The refuge’s 700 acres of seasonal vernal pool habitat are lined in the colors of yellow goldfields (Lasthenia conjugens) and purple downingia (Downingia pulchella) as the ponds dry up in the spring.
One of the largest undeveloped sites remaining in the South Bay, Newark Area 4 is also one of the very rare locations that both contains existing wetlands and provides space for tidal marshes to migrate upland as sea level rises. If preserved, Newark Area 4 would provide opportunities to people in surrounding communities for wildlife-oriented recreation and immersion in nature.
Our CNPS East Bay chapter joins with over a dozen conservation and climate organizations in supporting the Save Newark Wetlands campaign to stop this development and instead secure the permanent protection, restoration, and inclusion of Newark Area 4 as one of the connected shoreline ecosystems of the Don Edwards San Francisco Bay National Wildlife Refuge.
TAKE A LOOK at this newly released four-minute video featuring prominent San Francisco Bay scientists and climate adaptation experts, and then TAKE ACTION by signing the petition to Save Newark Wetlands.
— Jim Hanson, Conservation Committee Chair, CNPS East Bay Chapter