Levee maintenance and repair can have a toll on wetland and riparian habitats in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta. The restoration of 50 acres of Bradford Island will mitigate for this loss, and provide access and improved habitat conditions for countless wetland birds and other wildlife. Working adjacent to existing riparian forest, we developed the conceptual restoration design and are currently monitoring post-implementation revegetation success on Bradford Island.
Preexisting physical and biological conditions, including site topography, soil types, depth to groundwater, and the extent of native and non-native plant species were used to drive the conceptual design, minimizing grading requirements while matching appropriate plant communities to the variety of site conditions. We linked physical processes with riparian vegetation dynamics to assist in our design of dune and riparian scrub, riparian forest, and freshwater marsh vegetation communities. The planting palette and densities were determined by comparisons to local reference systems, nearby restoration projects, and discussions with agency biologists. Prior to planting with local plant stock, a portion of the site was excavated to allow for appropriate seasonal inundation regimes and to create new freshwater marsh habitat.
Stillwater Sciences oversaw implementation of the restoration plan in the winter of 2006. We worked collaboratively with agencies to reach a consensus on appropriate performance standards and developed a site-specific monitoring plan. Now in the second year of monitoring and reporting on restoration success, we also provide consultation and recommendations for adaptive management.