Bay Model Visitor Center

2100 Bridgeway

Sausalito, CA 94965

Phone: 415-332-3871

Fax: 415-289-3004

San Fancisco District Lakes

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 Lake Mendocino


Lake Mendocino is located in the northern coast range of California where redwood forests meet the wine country. Created by the construction of Coyote Dam on the East Fork of the Russian River in 1958, the lake has a surface area of 1,822 acres. The dam, built and maintained by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, is 160 feet high and 3,500 feet long. The structure provides flood damage reduction, water conservation, and hydroelectric power. The lake provides many recreation opportunities: a Visitor Center, camping, boating, fishing, picnic sites, hiking and more.

The Visitor Center is modeled after a Pomo round house, the visitor center is operated jointly by the Corps of Engineers and Native Americans. Displays include information on Coyote Valley, Pomo Indians and the Corps of Engineers. Special programs can be scheduled by calling the park office. A centrally located amphitheater offers weekend campfire programs.

For more information about Lake Mendocino please contact:
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
Lake Mendocino
1160 Lake Mendocino Drive
Ukiah, CA 95482-9404
Telephone: (707) 462-7581
Fax: (707) 462-3372


 Lake Sonoma


Located in the beautiful coastal foothills of Northern California is Lake Sonoma. Lake Sonoma is surrounded by Sonoma County vineyards and is land rich in history. This provides the perfect setting for a wealth of recreation activities.

Warm Springs Dam, which forms Lake Sonoma, was built by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Completed in 1983, the compacted, earth fill dam serves as a deterrent to disastrous floods, stores water for irrigation and municipalities, and creates a lake for recreation. Lake Sonoma extends 9 miles on Dry Creek and 4 miles on Warm Springs Creek. Lake Sonoma is over 2,700 surface acres of water for canoes, sailboats, motorboats, fishing and skiing. Forty miles of trails are available to horseback riders and hikers. In addition to developed campgrounds, boat-in campsites and many picnic areas, Lake Sonoma hosts the Don Clausen Fish Hatchery, which is the most modern fish hatchery in the State of California.

For more information about Lake Sonoma please contact:
US Army Corps of Engineerssss
Lake Sonoma
3333 Skaggs Springs Rd
Geyserville, CA 95441
Telephone: (707) 433-9483
Fax: (707) 431-0313


San Fancisco District Marshes

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 Arrowhead Marsh


This 50-acre marsh resembles an arrowhead aimed at the heart of San Leandro Bay. A short boardwalk extends over the pickleweed and salt grass of the marsh and a fishing pier is nearby. In addition to the views of wildlife, there is a "Whale Garden" for children (two fiberglass gray whales "swimming" in the sand) and Roger Berry's Duplex Cone, a sculpture indicating the sun's path at summer and winter solstices.


Fishing pier, play areas, restrooms, fountains, parking at nearby Martin Luther King Jr. Park.


 Hamilton Army Airfield Restoration


CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICT: 6th District, Rep. Lynn Woolsey

STUDY DESCRIPTION: The Hamilton Army Airfield project site is a 700-acre parcel of land, including the adjacent 200-acre State Lands Commission (SLC) parcel, consisting of an inactive runway and adjacent taxi areas, and the former antennae field. The site is located on San Pablo Bay, 4 miles east of the city of Novato, in Marin County,
California. The area, currently protected by levees, has subsided below the elevation of surrounding properties, including the tidal wetlands immediately adjacent to San Pablo Bay. Storm water runoff from adjacent properties is collected on the airfield and transferred from the site to San Pablo Bay by a drainage system which includes a pump
station and concrete ditches. In conjunction with the ongoing Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) cleanup process, the Base Reuse Authority would like to restore the area to a tidal wetland. This wetlands restoration project would advance the beneficial reuse of dredged material from San Francisco Bay as part of the Long Term Management Strategy (LTMS).

FISCAL YEAR 03 BUDGET: $3,900,000
POSSIBLE SOLUTIONS: Wetlands would be created with the use of dredged material from San Francisco Bay navigation projects, including the Oakland 50’ deepening project.

PRESENT STATUS: The Final Feasibility Study and EIS/EIR were completed December 15, 1998 with the issuance of the Division Engineer’s Public Notice, followed by the Report of the Chief of Engineers in August 1999, and authorization in the 1999
Water Resources Development Act (WRDA). The airfield is being closed under the Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) process, with the City of Novato acting as the Reuse Authority. Remaining tasks in the BRAC process are; completing the site Risk Assessment, Remediation, and transfer of the airfield property to the California State Coastal Conservancy by the end of FY 2002. The site has existing contamination in the form of hydrocarbon compounds and heavy metals, the magnitude of which is being determined in the Risk Assessment. A Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) has been formalized between the Department of Defense (DOD)/BRAC command and the nonfederal sponsor, the California State Coastal Conservancy (Conservancy) to ensure that the clean up of the site is suitable for wetland restoration for endangered species. The U. S. Army Corps of Engineers, Sacramento District, is managing the environmental cleanup and closure of the base. The Remediation of the States Lands Parcel currently owned by the State of California is being completed under the Formerly Used Defense
Site Program (FUDS). The Remedial Options Study is underway to evaluate the remedies for Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA) contaminants found on site.

Due to funding and decision constraints in the BRAC and FUDS programs, the delivery of dredge material to the Hamilton Airfield and State Lands Commission parcel may be delayed. This impact will potentially delay the sequencing of dredge material from the Oakland 50’ Project and other federal navigation channel dredging activities, resulting in aquatic disposal in San Francisco Bay and at the San Francisco Deep Ocean Disposal site. The best alternative beneficial reuse disposal site is the adjacent Bel Marin Keys site.

A pre-construction Engineering and Design (PED) cost sharing agreement was signed in September 1999 between the Corps and the Conservancy. The Project Construction Agreement (PCA) was signed in April 2002 and the first installment of the off loader pipeline across the outbound marsh was completed within the environmental window for
endangered species in January 2002 under the PCA for the Oakland 50’ Deepening Project.

FUTURE EFFORTS: A phased approach has been adopted to complete the design and construction tasks in conjunction with the availability of the real estate parcels and dredge material. Site preparation has begun in FY03 in preparation for receiving the first
deliveries of O&M dredge material in FY04. The adjacent State Lands Commission owned parcel would be remediated under the FUDS program at a future unknown date. An attempt to establish a second MOA for the FUDS parcel between DOD and the Conservancy, to ensure the clean up of the site would be suitable for wetland restoration for endangered species and occur at a future date that met the construction schedule for the rest of the restoration site, failed. An Ecosystem Restoration Initial Appraisal (WRDA 1996, Section 204) completed in October 2000 recommended that the adjacent 1600-acre Bel Marin Keys (BMK) property be studied as a potential addition to the Hamilton Wetlands Project. The Conservancy acquired the BMK parcel. To prevent the loss of dredge material due to the BRAC and
FUDS constraints, the District and the California State Coastal Conservancy completed Feasibility level study tasks and a Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement/Report (SEIS/R) during calendar year 2002 to support a Post Authorization Change document. This document will be required to authorize BMK for construction as a part of the
Hamilton Wetlands Restoration project. The Conservancy expects to use this effort to support adding BMK to a possible Water Resources Development Act of 2004.

 Sonoma Baylands

Sonoma Baylands: Creating an Environmental Benefit out of The San Francisco Bay Dredging Crisis

The San Francisco Bay provides two important economic resources: maritime commerce and waterfront industry, and an estuary/wetland complex of worldwide significance. Over the past fifteen years, these two types of resources and their proponents have been at odds, resulting in a major shutdown of channel deepening and maintenance dredging projects. For the past two decades, Bay Area ports disposed of their dredged material at the in-bay Alcatraz aquatic disposal site. The site is not only filling up, but in-bay disposal is cited as a prime factor in the decline of fish species in the bay.

To learn more about what is being done clock the following link:
Learn about the restoration projects by clicking on
Preliminary Geochemical Studies (USGS report, 1996) 

San Fancisco District Rivers

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 Napa River


The 426 square mile Napa River Basin is located approximately 45 miles north of San Francisco, along the northern portion of San Francisco Bay. The river includes a Corps maintained navigation channel constructed in 1933. The river basin also includes a Corps flood control project authorized in 1965, but not yet constructed, consisting of 11 miles of channel, levee and floodwall improvements.Wetlands in the area have been reduced by 75 percent since historic times. The degradation of fish and wildlife resources associated with the loss of these wetlands has resulted in many species being listed as threatened or endangered. The Napa Marsh historically encompassed over 25,000 acres in the Napa River watershed. Today approximately 36% of this acreage remains classified as wetland habitat, while the remainder has been diked to prevent tidal and fluvial inundation under normal conditions for salt production ponds, cropland and pasture.

In 1994, after four decades of operation, the Cargill Salt Company ceased the production of salt and sold 9,850 acres of evaporator ponds and associated lands on the west side of the Napa River to the State of California. The land is currently managed by the California Department of Fish and Game. The Napa River Unit consists of former commercial salt ponds (approximately 6700 acres), levees, and remnant slough and marsh habitat. The former salt ponds provide an opportunity to restore tidal and related wetlands within San Francisco Bay on an unprecedented scale.

In 1994, Congress authorized funds for a Reconnaissance Study of salt marsh restoration in the Napa River Basin. Funds were first appropriated in FY96. The Reconnaissance Study was completed in August 1997 and recommended that a Feasibility Study be pursued. The California State Coastal Conservancy and the Corps entered into a Feasibility cost sharing agreement in February 1998.

POSSIBLE SOLUTIONS: Restoration of former salt production ponds along the lower Napa River, currently managed by the California Department of Fish and Game, to tidal marshes.


 Sacramento River


The Sacramento River is one of the two major rivers flowing into the north end of San Francisco Bay. Fed by the snowmelt from Mount Shasta, the river flows south past Dunsmuir into Shasta Lake. Below Shasta Dam, it flows through Redding and Red Bluff and west of Chico. It joins Butte Creek near Colusa, the Feather River outside of Sacramento and the American River at the center of that city. From there it flows southwesterly until joined by the San Joaquin River near Pittsburg. The mingled waters of the two rivers then flow west into San Pablo Bay and ultimately San Francisco Bay.

The Sacramento River is California's longest river. It makes a splash with visitors thanks to easy access for swimmers and boaters. Kayaks, canoes, rafts and power boats all ply these deceptively tranquil waters that meander down the Sacramento valley. Recreation along the BLM-managed stretch from Jellys Ferry south to Turtle Creek includes hiking, picnicking, target shooting, camping, and wildlife watching. There's great shoreline fishing for salmon, steelhead and trout, where you soon see why the osprey's called the fish eagle. Contributing to the wildlife are river otters, ringtail cats, blacktail deer, red-tailed hawks and bobcats.


 San Joaquin River


San Joaquin River of California, surfaces in the Sierra Nevada. The San Joaquin begins at pristine Thousand Island Lake, just west of Mammoth Lakes, with 13,157-foot Mount Ritter as its backdrop. It generally flows towards the northwest through central California and confluences the Sacramento River shortly before entering the Suisun Bay, near Oakland. The river 560km in length, is part of an extensive irrigation and power project that has created a rich agricultural region in the semiarid San Joaquin Valley.

Very few rivers have been altered as the San Joaquin. Approximately 98% of the river's natural flow is directed at the Friant Dam near Fresno to irrigate huge farmlands situated in the southern San Joaquin Valley. At least 100 miles of the river is left dry in the summer each year. The lower section of the river is polluted by excessive salt and selenium from the nearby farm fields, as well as the waste from hundreds of dairies and wastewater treatment plants, which is then pumped 130 south through the Delta-Mendota Canal.

A variety of sources drain their pollution into the San Joaquin River unchecked that the lower San Joaquin has been identified as one of the state's most polluted rivers. Irrigation run-off from the highly saline soils in the Central Valley's west side dumps tons of selenium into the river yearly. In the 1980s, selenium was identified as a health hazard when drainage water containing high amounts of selenium deformed and killed thousands of waterfowl in Kesterson National Wildlife Refuge near Merced, California.

Salt and boron, are drained off farm fields, making river water nearly unusable for both farming and drinking water and hampers the survival and reproduction of fishes and other aquatic species. Urban storm water run-off high in pesticides and other compounds is thought to be responsible for several fish kills in the river near Stockton and in tributaries such as Smith Canal and the Calaveras River.