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Bay Trail Controversy Stems from "For-Profit" Wetlands Proposal
July 21, 2002

Bay Trail on Richmond's North Shore? Act before July 31.

Dear Friends of the Bay Trail,

Hopefully each of you has enjoyed the Bay Trail on Richmond's South Shore throughout the Marina Bay area and southeast to Point Isabel Regional Shoreline. Now, TRAC (Trails for Richmond Action Committee) needs you to speak up for completing the Bay Trail along a beautiful stretch of shoreline on Richmond's North Shore.

An outpouring of letters from throughout town will send a needed message to a developer, City management and elected officials. Below is background on the situation followed by a request for a short letter from each of you before July 31.

See larger map

Here's the situation. A Draft Environmental Impact Report (EIR) has been issued covering two separate projects immediately south of Point Pinole Regional Shoreline. The location is the open, scenic shoreline which can be viewed from your car while traveling southwest on the Richmond Parkway viaduct between Giant Road and Goodrick Avenue. The project area lies west of the Union Pacific rail corridor between Point Pinole Regional Shoreline and the north end of Goodrick Avenue. It may be viewed close up by exiting the Richmond Parkway on Goodrick Avenue and driving north to the end of the public road.

The linked map will help you see the importance of the Bay Trail gap between Pt. Pinole Regional Shoreline and Goodrick Avenue where the trail has been completed south along the Richmond Parkway to the Wildcat Creek Regional Trail. Note the planned shoreline spur trail from the end of Goodrick Avenue leading to EBRPD's spit of land protruding 1/4 mile into San Pablo Bay.

The proposed Edgewater Technology Park on the upland area is good in that it includes a spine Bay Trail segment from Goodrick Avenue along the west side of the rail embankment to near the border of Point Pinole Regional Shoreline. However, the other project -- the Breuner Marsh Restoration Project -- tears out an existing bridge and road which has been designated in the Bay Trail Plan, the North Richmond Shoreline Specific Plan and the Richmond General Plan for a 0.7 mile shoreline Bay Trial spur leading to a scenic spit of land protruding 1/4 mile into San Pablo Bay.

This isolated spit of land, which is included in Point Pinole Regional Shoreline, offers spectacular vistas looking toward Point Pinole and over San Pablo Bay. If accessible, it would provide a great site for picnicking, bird watching and simply enjoying Bay views and solitude. However, there will not be any access to this public land if the planned 0.7 mile shoreline trail is not built.

The problem is that the Breuner Marsh Restoration Project is a for-profit wetlands mitigation bank for selling credits to those who destroy habitat elsewhere for clapper rails and salt marsh harvest mice. Even though these species are observed near the Bay Trail elsewhere and there are no clapper rails on the site now, the U.S Fish and Wildlife Service has taken the very conservative position that trails can not be tolerated in a wetland mitigation bank that is compensating for habitat destruction elsewhere. In short, Richmond is being asked to give up a planned shoreline trail leading to East Bay Regional Park District land so that developers can destroy wetland habitat elsewhere and make money by selling wetland mitigation credits.

Something is seriously wrong if the adults and children of Richmond canıt have this planned shoreline trail to learn about wetlands, fish and enjoy the spectacular vistas from this spit of land. The people in affluent Silicon Valley have trails in their wetlands. For example, there is a boardwalk through marshes in the Palo Alto Baylands Preserve.

The planned shoreline trail could be built if Breuner Marsh were acquired for restoration by a public agency such as East Bay Bay Regional Park District (EBRPD). EBRPD has built trails through wetlands elsewhere in the East Bay where clapper rails are present and flourish, e.g. at Arrowhead Marsh in Oaklandıs Martin Luther King Jr. Regional Shoreline and along the Bay Trail between Marina Bay and Point Isabel in Richmond

The for-profit Breuner Marsh project is not appropriate for the site if it does not either include the planned shoreline trail or, alternatively, provide full mitigation for precluding it.

Please Send A Letter before July 31 As Follows:

Address it to:
Planning Dept. Manager
City of Richmond
P.O. Box 4046
Richmond, CA 94804

Suggested Points to include using your own words and perspectives derived from the above background:

  1. I'm commenting on the June 2002 Draft EIR for the Breuner Marsh Restoration Project.
  2. The Bruener Marsh project should include the 0.7 mile shoreline trail to EBRPD's spit of public land in Point Pinole Regional Shoreline. The spit of land is an important public resource for its views and solitude, as well as for picnicking, fishing and bird watching.
  3. The proposed narrow, short boardwalk (6-feet wide, 200 feet long) next to a firing range is totally inadequate to compensate for the loss of the designated 0.7 mile trail along the shoreline to public park land protruding 1/4 mile into San Pablo Bay.
  4. If the planned shoreline trail can't be included in the Breuner Marsh project, then mitigation should be provided by completing the Bay Trail spine north from the Edgewater Technology Park to the Bay View Trail in Point Pinole Regional Shoreline.

Please call or send me an email if you have any questions. TRAC would greatly appreciate receiving a copy of your letter by email to tracbaytrail@earthlink.net or fax 235-2835. Thanks very much!

Best Regards,
Bruce Beyaert, TRAC Chair
Phone/Fax 510-235-2835
Email: tracbaytrail@earthlink.net

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