On Valentine’s Day, 2017 I had the pleasure of touring the Sears Point Wetland, part of the San Pablo Bay National Wildlife Refuge.
This wetland was acquired and restored by Sonoma Land Trust (SLT). In late October, 2015 SLT breached a levee and let the San Pablo Bay flood into formerly agricultural land that had been “reclaimed” 140 years ago. The breach was a dramatic event covered here.
For 14 decades, farmers grew oat hay on this land. Today it is tidal wetland. It is silting up and turning back into a fertile Marsh wetland. It’s home to many forms of wildlife now.
Corby Hines, outings guide for SLT, led today’s tour.
Right off the bat we saw sandpipers. Sibley’s field guide says sandpipers can be challenging to identify. I think these are these Least Sandpipers.
These larger sandpipers are, I think, Marbled Godwits.
Because it was so calm we were able to paddle out of the salt marsh and into San Pablo Bay. It’s a huge estuary.
We returned to to the restored salt marsh by riding the flood tide up Tolay Creek.
We enjoyed a lunch with Julian Meisler, SLT’s Baylands Manager. He told us the story of reclaiming this landscape from agricultural use, and helping it revert to its more natural and productive identity as a wetland.
Julian managed this restoration effort. These people are doing critically important work for the health of the ecosytem.
After lunch on an old levee, we paddled back to our cars.
More about Sonoma Land Trust.
Map of our tour:
The Sears Point Wetland Public Use Area is open daily to the public for walking, biking, paddling and birding. Access is via Reclamation Road. Here are directions from SLT on how to get there.
Directions to Sears Point Ranch Reclamation Road parking:
FROM NORTH/PETALUMA: (Drive time from Santa Rosa approx. 45 minutes)
- Travel South on Hwy 101 to Petaluma. Exit at Hwy 116/Lakeville Hwy. Continue South on Lakeville until you arrive at the stoplight at Hwy 37.
- Proceed straight through the light onto Reclamation Road. The parking lot will be on your left.
FROM EAST/VALLEJO: (Drive time from Vallejo approx. 20 minutes)
- Proceed west on Highway 37 past the juncture of Hwy 121 and continue to the stop light at Lakeville Highway.
- Take a left at the stop light onto Reclamation Road. The parking lot will be on your left.
FROM WEST/MARIN: (Drive time from San Rafael approx. 25 minutes)
- Exit U.S. 101 onto Highway 37, east toward Vallejo.
- The first stop light you encounter is at Lakeville Highway. Take a right here onto Reclamation Road. The parking lot will be on your left.