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Bay Area’s Massive Marsh Restoration Project Takes Root

A FORMER SALT POND IN THE SOUTH BAY REVERTING TO MARSH | PHOTO BY CRIS BENTON

Sierra

It’s hard to imagine it now, given the stranglehold of Silicon Valley’s tech industry on the region, but 100 years ago the predominant south Bay Area business was salt. Now, the south San Francisco bay shoreline’s next mammoth transformation is well underway: a 50-year project to return the salt ponds back to the bay, restoring them once again into tidal marsh for the first time in 150 years. At about half the size of San Francisco, the 15,000-plus-acre wetland restoration effort is the largest on the West Coast that will, hopefully, buffer the densely populated area nearby from rising sea levels.