Consistent with our mission “To conserve and restore natural ecosystems, focusing on birds, other wildlife, and their habitats, for the benefit of humanity and the earth's biological diversity” the Marin Audubon Society has been acquiring properties in Marin County with restorable habitat value. Acquisition has been made possible through grants from Federal, State and County agencies, private foundations and donations from the public. Marin Baylands Associates works with MBA to raise private funds for these property acquisitions. Most properties will be restored and turned overt to a public agency such as the State Department of Fish and Game or the Marin County Open Space District (MCOSD). Some properties will remain under the ownership of the Marin Audubon Society.
To date MAS has been able to acquire over 1,000 acres of Marin County land of which 208 have been transferred to the MCOSD and 362 acres have been transferred to the California Department of Fish and Game. Restoration projects have been completed on three of the larger parcels.
Click on images to enlarge, then browse forward and back with arrow keys.
Properties currently owned by MAS are listed below and their numbered locations are shown on the map.
SAN RAFAEL TIDELANDS
1. MURPHY'S ROCK - This property consists of two underwater lots totaling 34 acres. It was donated to MAS in 1978 and is located just off the Jean and John Starkweather Shoreline Park near the Spinnaker Wetland.
2. TISCORNIA MARSH - This 20 acre parcel located just east of San Rafael’s Pickleweed Park was generously donated to MAS by Mary Tiscornia in 2008. This parcel consists of upland, cordgrass marsh and a submerged area. California Clapper Rails and Black Rails have been observed here. MAS is planning some restoration to clean up the shoreline and provide more cover for the California Clapper Rail and Black Rails.
3. TRIANGLE MARSH - This 31-acre property, acquired in 1999, is located on Paradise Drive across from the Ring Mountain Nature Preserve in Corte Madera. It consists of ancient tidal marsh (habitat for the endangered California Clapper Rail), intertidal baylands (habitat for migratory waterfowl and shorebirds), and uplands, some of which were created by the placement of fill when Paradise Drive was constructed. MAS has restored portions of the upland to tidal marsh. The consulting firm of Wetlands and Water Resources prepared the design, and the construction contractor was Cooper Crane and Rigging. Native plant planting recommendations and support came from the Watershed Nursery.
Funding for the purchase of this property came from a variety of sources including the State Coastal Conservancy, Marin County Open Space District (MCOSD), North American Wetlands Conservation Council (NAWCA), The J. M. Long Foundation, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s San Francisco Bay Program, Marin County Wildlife and Fisheries Advisory Committee, the San Francisco Bay Keeper, an anonymous-major donor and other donors to the Marin Baylands Fund at the Marin Community Foundation. Funding for the restoration was provided by the Marin Community Foundation, San Quentin Prison as mitigation for impacts of the shoreline stabilization project at the prison, and Caltrans as mitigation for impacts to Corte Madera Creek for the HOV lane.
In 2005 MAS acquired a 4.34 acre tax default property adjacent to triangle marsh. This parcel is underwater and expanded the Triangle Marsh parcel to 35 acres.
4. END OF CHANNEL -This site was purchased by MAS on a tax default sale in 1999. It is located at the end of Channel Drive in Corte Madera, is approximately one acre and consists of uplands and tidal marshes of San Clemente Creek. Donations from our members were the primary source of funds.
SIMMONS SLOUGH WILDLIFE CORRIIDOR - NOVATO
The following properties are located within the watershed of Simmons Slough, which is a diked off tributary of Novato Creek. Most of the rest of the lands along this slough are in public ownership, which enhances the value of all of the lands as habitat. Our vision is to establish the Simmons Slough Wildlife Corridor consisting of all or most of the wetlands and adjacent uplands associated with the watershed. Mission Valley Properties, the Marin County Wildlife and Fisheries Advisory Committee, the Marin Community Foundation, and the Regional Water Quality Control Board have assisted with funding for the planning for restoration of these properties. The biological consulting firm of Wetlands and Water Resources has worked on a design to enhance seasonal wetlands.
MAS has received a Wetlands Reserve grant for parcels 6 and 7 listed below. The funding will be used to refine and implement the wetland enhancement design. MAS wishes to purchase two additional parcels in the watershed.
5. ATHERTON AVENUE BAYLAND -This 84-acre former tidal marsh was purchased in 2000 with funds from the Coastal Conservancy, the MCOSD, and donors to the Marin Baylands Fund at the Marin Community Foundation. An enhancement plan is being prepared by Wetlands and Water Resources with funding from Mission Valley Properties, and the Regional Water Quality Control Board.
6. OLIVE AVENUE BAYLAND -This 19-acre property was purchased by MAS in 2002 with funding from the MCOSD and the California Coastal Conservancy, with assistance from donors to the Marin Baylands Fund at the Marin Community Foundation. Funding from Towell Brothers will be used to remove fill and restore a creek and seasonal wetlands. The biological consulting firm of Wetlands and Water Resources provided the design to enhance the seasonal wetlands.
7. FRYER TRUST BAYLAND -This 60-acre property was donated to Marin Audubon by the Fryer Trust in 2003. A grant has been approved by the Wetlands Reserve Program to enhance this property as well as site 4 (see above) as seasonal wetlands.
BAHIA - NOVATO
8. BAHIA - This 632-acre property was purchased by MAS in January of 2003, with funds from the MCOSD, State Coastal Conservancy, Wildlife Conservation Board, CALFED, Marin Community Foundation, Caltrans, Sierra Club, Marin Conservation League, Forrest Lattner Foundation, and private, small foundation donors to the Marin Baylands Fund at the Marin Community Foundation. Title to 361.7 acres of diked bayland was deeded to the Wildlife Conservation Board (an agency purchases habitats for the California Department of Fish and Game), and 208 acres of oak woodland was deeded to the MCOSD. More on Bahia here.
MAS has retained ownership of approximately 61 acres consisting of the 1+ acre former parking lot at the end of Bahia Drive, and 60 acres of upland and filled peninsulas that were created 40+ years ago to provide building lots for houses.
The grant MAS received from CALFED included $1.4 million to restore tidal marsh at Bahia on property now owned by the California Department of Fish and Game and on property owned by MAS. The hydrologic engineering firm of PWA prepared the design for the restoration project, which has now been completed. Others on the design team are the Point Reyes Bird Observatory, Peter Baye, Plant Ecologist, and Watershed Nursery.
The Bahia uplands, now owned by MCOSD is the only known location where Blue Oak-dominated woodland is located adjacent to salt marsh. This parcel abuts the Rush Creek/Cemetery marsh Preserve also owned by MCOSD.
PETALUMA MARSH - NORTH MARIN COUNTY
9. PETALUMA MARSH - This 180-acre property is located in Marin County just south of the Somona County line. This parcel consists of approximately 80 acres of existing tidal marsh and 100 acres of diked historic tidal marsh. The property was purchased in 2003 from Waste Management Inc. (owners of Redwood Landfill) with funds from CALFED and Caltrans. The Caltrans funds were mitigation for impacts to tidal marsh resulting from the earthquake retrofitting of the bridge over Sonoma Creek. The Caltrans funds were managed by the Coastal Conservancy.
The design was prepared by PWA, consultants in hydrology, and contractor on the construction was Cooper Crane and Rigging. The construction work was completed in 2007 and the land has been restored to tidal action. This parcel is now part of the Petaluma Marsh, which is the largest saltwater marsh system in the San Francisco Bay Area. The vegetation Management Plans was prepared by Peter Baye, Plant Ecologist.
BLACK POINT PARCELS – NOVATO
10. BLACK POINT - MAS has purchased a number of small tax default parcels in the Black Point area of Novato. Two of these parcels are on Norton Ave and include a portion of the Norton pond, an all year habitat. The other parcels are in diked baylands and at some point there might be enough adjacent parcels to undertake a restoration project.
ARROYO SAN JOSE - NOVATO
11. ARROYO SAN JOSE - In 2006 MAS purchased two tax default parcels in the Arroyo San Jose in Novato, off of Bel Marin Keys Blvd. These parcels are within a light industrial area and contain riparian vegetation habitat.
ARROYO DE CORTE MADERA DEL PRESIDIO – MILL VALLEY
12. ARROYO DE CORTE MADERA DEL PRESIDIO -This 2.44 acre parcel was purchased in 2008 and is located along the Arroyo Corte Madera del Presidio in Mill Valley. This parcel contains valuable saltwater (tidal creek) habitat at the westerly end of Bothin Marsh in Richardson Bay.