2001 CPEO Military List Archive

From: Lenny Siegel <lsiegel@cpeo.org>
Date: 19 Nov 2001 19:03:16 -0000
Reply: cpeo-military
Subject: [CPEO-MEF] Skaggs Island restoration moves forward
The following article is from the The Bay Bulletin (November 14, 2001),
a monthly e-publication from the Audubon Society's San Francisco Bay
Restoration Program. The Bay Bulletin is available on the web at http://www.audubonsfbay.org/sfbay_2_16/newsres_bay_bulletin.html.




Restoration of Skaggs Island moved one step closer to reality this month
when the Bay Conservation and Development Commission (BCDC) granted
CALTRANS a project permit for reconstruction of the eastern span of the
Bay Bridge. As a condition of the permit, CALTRANS must provide
mitigation for the project's unavoidable adverse environmental impacts.
The approved mitigation plan includes wetland and shallow water habitat
restoration both on-site at several East Bay locations, and off-site at
Skaggs Island in the North Bay.

Skaggs Island lies just north of Highway 37 in Sonoma County. The island
is contiguous with two North Bay habitat areas owned and managed by the
CA Department of Fish and Game and slated for restoration as Bay
wetlands. Prior to 1993, the US Navy operated a communications facility
on 3,300 acres of diked historic wetlands and associated habitats on
Skaggs Island. When the facility closed in 1993, conservationists
applauded a plan to transfer the property to the US Fish and Wildlife
Service (USFWS). USFWS would like to restore tidal and seasonal wetland
habitat and manage Skaggs Island as part of the San Pablo Bay National
Wildlife Refuge.

However, the planned interagency transfer of Skaggs Island has been
delayed due to USFWS' concerns about the costs of removing 155 buildings
and associated infrastructure on approximately 60 acres of the island.
As uncertainties regarding transfer dragged on, the federal property
management agency - the General Services Administration  indicated it
would sell Skaggs Island on the open market in 2002. The CALTRANS
mitigation package approved by BCDC provides a bold solution to the
building removal impasse.

Under the terms of the permit, CALTRANS will provide up to $8.5 million
to remove infrastructure from the Navy's former administrative site on
Skaggs Island. With this assurance, USFWS will accept the
long-anticipated interagency transfer of the Island from the Navy. Once
the Navy buildings are removed, USFWS can begin planning and
implementing wetland restoration on the entire 3,300 acres. Audubon
commends BCDC, USFWS, the Navy, CALTRANS, other supportive federal,
state and local agencies, and the many local and regional conservation
interests that forged a consensus for restoring Skaggs Island. This
action now sets the stage for the largest coastal wetland restoration
project ever undertaken on the U.S. Pacific Coast. 


Lenny Siegel
Director, Center for Public Environmental Oversight
c/o PSC, 222B View St., Mountain View, CA 94041
Voice: 650/961-8918 or 650/969-1545
Fax: 650/961-8918

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