Suisun Marsh Restoration Activities
Blacklock is Tidal!
On October 4, 2006, a breach was constructed in the levee along Little Honker Bay at the Blacklock Restoration Site. With this breach, 70 acres of tidal wetlands were created in the Suisun Marsh. This action is a culmination of many years of planning by DWR and was a collaborative effort with the Suisun Marsh Preservation Agreement Environmental Coordination Team agencies (U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, California Department of Fish and Game, Suisun Resource Conservation District, and the US Fish and Wildlife Service).
The overall approach for the Blacklock Restoration Project is a passive strategy in which the exterior levee is breached, natural sedimentation and plant detritus accumulation restores intertidal elevations, and natural colonization establishes the plant and wildlife communities. Researchers also expect to learn lessons that can be applied to other tidal restoration projects in Suisun Marsh.
Since the property was acquired in December 2003, the following activities were conducted towards the ultimate goal of tidally restoring this property: restoration planning, interim management, levee maintenance to protect this property and adjacent lands from flooding, biological and physical data collection, and development of a monitoring plan.
Now that the levee is breached, a 10-year monitoring program will commence. The approved monitoring plan was developed and approved by both the SMPA and regulatory agencies. The monitoring program will both document the expected beneficial effects of this project and inform future tidal marsh restoration projects as part of the Suisun Marsh Plan. Monitoring components include:
- Inundation regime
- Levee breach geometry
- Channel network evolution
- Native marsh vegetation development
- Water quality
- Methyl mercury
- Erosion of adjacent sloughs
- Invasive plant control
The monitoring plan also includes an adaptive management component to ensure that the project goals and objectives are met. Knowledge expected to be gained from this restoration includes but is not limited to rates of sedimentation and marsh development, the role of existing emergent vegetation in influencing sedimentation, channel network formation and overall geomorphology, hydrology, water quality impacts, methyl mercury production, and species use.
Acquisition, restoration planning and implementation of the Blacklock Restoration Project was funded by the Suisun Marsh Preservation Agreement (SMPA) agencies (DWR, USBR, DFG, SRCD) and CALFED ERP through a grant awarded in 2001. The monitoring program is being funded through an ERP directed action and the SMPA. The agencies are seeking additional funding for expanded monitoring of the site.
This is the first tidal restoration project implemented by the Suisun Marsh Charter agencies in Suisun Marsh (DWR, DFG, USBR, USFWS, SRCD, Calfed and the National Marine Fisheries Service). These agencies are preparing the Suisun Marsh Habitat Management, Preservation and Restoration Plan.
For more information about DWR restoration projects in Suisun Marsh, please contact Katie Shulte Joung at (916) 376-9693.