West Contra Costa wetlands to be restored

By Rick Radin   10/10/2014    Contra Costa Times

NORTH RICHMOND — A neglected parcel of postindustrial wetlands in West Contra Costa will be restored thanks to a water pipeline repair project about 20 miles to the east.

The 3.2-acre tract lies on the southern edge of Rheem Creek between Richmond Parkway and Giant Road in the midst of existing and former industrial uses.

The Contra Costa Water District, which serves central and eastern Contra Costa, is creating wetlands at the site in exchange for the right to disturb wetlands in repairing one of its pipelines near the Tesoro Golden Eagle oil refinery in Pacheco, near Concord.

The pipeline is sometimes used to carry water to the Tesoro refinery and on to Martinez from the Contra Costa Canal, which starts near Knightsen.

It is known as a “shortcut pipeline” that the district uses to bypass a “loop canal” that runs south to Walnut Creek and then north to Martinez, according to water district spokeswoman Jennifer Allen.

Contra Costa Water is putting in some valves that can turn the shortcut pipeline off and on, and building an access road through seasonal wetlands around the pipeline, Allen said.

The district is preparing a proposal on the $2 million wetlands restoration that it will submit to the San Francisco Bay Regional Water Quality Control Board and the Army Corps of Engineers for approval before work can begin.

The restoration will include new plantings, analysis of the wetlands hydrology and a plan for long-term maintenance, Allen said.

Contra Costa Water will contribute $1.2 million to the total cost. The remainder will come from a grant from the California Department of Water Resources administered by the Association of Bay Area Governments, Allen said.

The wetlands are south and west of the larger Breuner Marsh Restoration Project, a wetlands restoration sponsored by the East Bay Regional Park District.Dale Bowyer of the Water Quality Control Board said it is sometimes difficult to find mitigation opportunities close to the site where the wetlands disturbance is taking place.”We always prefer to have mitigation closer to the impact, but that wasn’t possible in this case,” said Bowyer, a senior water resource control engineer. “There was a much smaller site near the pipeline project that wasn’t large enough to be adequate.”

Contra Costa Water draws water through intakes near Bay Point, Knightsen and Victoria Island in the Delta, Allen said.It conveys untreated water through the Contra Costa Canal to treatment plants in eastern and central Contra Costa.

About Martinez Environmental Group

We are a community health and environmental group located in Martinez, CA.
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