Wetlands coming to Candlestick Point 

Twelve acres of wetlands are going to be created at Candlestick Point, resulting in one of the largest contiguous wetland areas in San Francisco.

In the 1990s and early 2000, San Francisco International Airport filled approximately 31 acres of wetlands on its property to complete the International Terminal, AirTrain, BART extension and airfield improvements. To make up for the loss, the airport agreed to fund the restoration or creation of 84 acres of wetlands throughout the Bay Area, at places such as Bair Island in Redwood City and Crissy Field in San Francisco.

The $4 million wetlands project at the state-owned Yosemite Slough wetlands in Candlestick Point marks the ninth and final leg of the nine-year undertaking to fulfill this environmental requirement, originally approved by the commission in 1999.

Though there were plans for the airport to fund three acres of wetlands at Hunters Point, which is being redeveloped into housing, continuing delays with the property transfer from the U.S. Navy to San Francisco made the airport consider another location for the project.

Airport spokesman Mike McCarron said officials have been in discussions with the California State Parks Foundation on the issue, which the Airport Commission approved at its meeting Tuesday.

The Yosemite Slough wetlands project was expected to cost $10 million total, a figure expected to be raised by the CSPF.

It includes restoring the 12 acres of tidal habitat and salt marsh; creating a nesting island for migrating birds; and trail and cycling improvements, according to CSPF information.

The addition of more wetlands in the Bay Area is welcome news for Redwood City resident Ralph Nobles, who led the charge in the Bair Island Restoration project. The restoration, which came in lieu of a major redevelopment proposed in 1982, is going well in his opinion. He says more wetlands are essential for all of the Bay Area, which he says is in dire need of them to keep bayside ecology in balance.

"[Wetlands] are the base of the whole food chain on the San Francisco Bay," Nobles said. "We badly need more of them or that whole side of the Bay Area will suffer."

tramroop@examiner.com

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