Landscapes can heal themselves if given the tools, which sometimes involve no more than removing litter and pollution. At Point Reyes National Seashore, a wetlands that once had been impacted by levees and dairy operations is luring river otters and even bald eagles just one year after it was restored.
The Giacomini Wetlands Restoration Project focused on the cleanup of nearly 600 acres of wetlands at the south end of Tomales Bay. According to officials with the seashore and the Point Reyes National Seashore Association, in "the year since the last levees were removed from this former dairy operation, new habitats have formed that have led to the return of numerous species of plants and wildlife that reflect the historic conditions of this vital wetland. Thousands of waterfowl and shorebirds are using the newly restored wetlands, with 350 acres of the 550-acre former Giacomini Dairy Ranch now open to the tides. River otters, raptors, and even bald eagles have been frequent visitors to the new marsh, which is quickly converting from dairy pasture to salt and brackish marsh."
Among the bird species that have come back in big numbers to the wetlands are American wigeon (Anas Americana) (1,700), northern pintail (850), green-winged teal (Anas crecca) (230), and northern shoveler (Anas clypeata) (150), according to the Park Service. Other duck species included gadwall, mallard, cinnamon teal (Anas cyanoptera), bufflehead, and ruddy duck (Oxyura jamaicensis), the agency says.
To mark this success, the National Park Service and Point Reyes National Seashore Association will host a one-year anniversary party on October 25. This anniversary offers you an opportunity to see first-hand how nature—given the right conditions—can dramatically reestablish its historic presence.
Morning activities will include a kayaking tour of the wetlands (bring your own kayak and personal flotation device) starting at 10:00 a.m. from the White House Pool parking lot.
For those who would rather see the wetlands from land, a guided walking tour to a wetlands overlook will depart at 11:00 a.m. from the Tomales Bay Trail parking lot, north of the town of Point Reyes Station on Highway One. Heavy rain and wind cancels outdoor events.
In the afternoon, a reception with refreshments will be held from 2:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. at the Red Barn at Park Headquarters in Olema.
Park scientists will offer short presentations on returning birds, fish, and vegetation and the future of the project. Park hydrologists will discuss the design and impact of the project as well as the projected impacts due to sea level rise.