Restoration Objectives Meetings Documents Related Efforts Links Napa Sonoma Marsh Restoration Project


Project Location Map

Map of Site Area


The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the California Coastal Conservancy, and the California Department of Fish and Game are implementing the Napa Sonoma Marsh Restoration project, which involves the restoration of nearly 10,000 acres of wetlands and associated habitats within the former Cargill salt pond complex in the North Bay. The first two phases were completed in 2006 and 2007 and now only one remaining phase is left to complete.

  • Phase I - completed in 2006 by the State of California. Involved the opening of 3,000 acres of salt ponds (Ponds 3, 4, and 5) to full tidal action.
  • Phase II - completed in 2007 by the State of California. Involved the restoration of 1,700 acres (Ponds 1/1A, and 2) to managed ponds to provide waterfowl and shorebird habitat.
  • Phase III - expected to begin construction in FY 13. Involves the restoration of the final 1,900 acres (Ponds 6/6A, 7/7A, and 8) and bittern removal from Pond 7.

National Significance

Aerial of Salt Marsh
  • Extensive habitat for endangered species, migratory waterfowl and shorebirds, and fish and other aquatic species,
  • A beneficial use for recycled water,
  • Improved water quality and productivity in the Napa River and San Francisco Bay, and
  • Public open space and recreational opportunities, including fishing, birdwatching, hunting, and environmental education.


Salt Marsh
  • Significantly increasing salinities and declining ecological value in thousands of acres of ponds,
  • Opportunity to use recycled wastewater if integrated into water projects currently being developed,
  • Deteriorating levees, which could lead to levee breaches, high-saline discharges, and potentially fish kills,
  • Deteriorating water control structures, reducing options for habitat management,
  • Increased future restoration cost associated with site deterioration,
  • Rising maintenance costs associated with deteriorating levees and water control structures,
  • Escalating pumping costs as energy costs rise.

Project Goals

Salt Marsh
  • Restore large patches of tidal marsh that support a wide variety of fish, wildlife, and plants, including:
    • special status mammals and water birds, specifically the salt marsh harvest mouse, California clapper rail, and black rail;
    • endangered fish, specifically Delta smelt, Sacramento splittail, steelhead trout, and Chinook salmon, and other fish species; and
    • aquatic animals, including the Dungeness Crab, and other benthic and planktonic invertebrates.
  • Manage water depths of the remaining ponds to maximize wildlife habitat diversity, with shallow-water areas for migratory and resident shorebirds and dabbling ducks and deep-water areas for diving ducks.

Historical Conditions

United States Coastal Survey Marshlines - 1856

United States Coastal Survey Marshlines 1856
San Francisco Estuary Institute


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