Sunday’s Revisit: No Racing at this Sears Point

Since this area is being breached today – as the next step in restoration to tidal wetland – I thought I’d share this post again. Sonoma Land Trust is holding a ceremony (pre-registration required) as the dyke is opened. It will take 24 hrs for the water to fill in the former farm. Trails will not be opened for a while. You can walk nearby – Walking the North Bay and Other side of Sears Point. These are all off of Hwy 37 and part of the Bay Trail.

From January 2015

Only the jackrabbit raced away from all the people and dogs tromping his grounds – on Martin Luther King Day.

The rest of us sauntered, birdwatched and met up with friends. Landpaths offered a one-day visit to Sears Point Ranch south of the intersection of Hwy 37 and Lakeville Hwy.

New parking lot for Sears Pt RanchThis area – 1000 acres – is in the process of wetland restoration. The functional entrance to this new piece of Bay Trail will actually be a couple of feet higher. This dam will protect the railroad track and Hwy 37 from flooding.

Sears Pt entranceThe treasure for us who enjoy walking, hiking and/or birdwatching is over the dike. The outer dike was about to be breached this winter and San Pablo Bay waters were to do their work of restoring the land to wetlands. But the December rains filled the ponds between the dikes and thousands of freshwater birds showed up in their migrations.

Sears Pt BirdsSo it will stay this way, until the birds move on. The birds were mostly coots and Northern pintails. It was hard to identify them as they stayed away from the crowds and were mostly back-lit from the morning gray sky.

reflections at Sears PtThe morning was cloudy, but the fog had cleared enough we could see around the bay. The Carquinez Bridge, the plumes from the refineries, the ring of mountains everywhere around the Bay, and finally some skyline of San Francisco came into view.

Temp islands at Sears PtThe islands were created so that when the Bay’s waters some in, the sediments will build on the land and create a weaving waterway for the wetland.

This picture is on the saltwater side of the dike we walked out on. The saltwater birds were visiting elsewhere.

Saltwater viewAt the end of this trail, was more like the wetland that will spread over the barren 1,000 acres.

bay wetlandWhere you see all those people walking is on the dam that will be breached. No trail here later this year.

dike to breachBy the time we turned around the sun was coming out and the colors changed. This is the view heading back to Hwy 37.

dike and hillsThe Bay Trail (see links below) will connect that section from the Sonoma Marin Marina on the Petaluma River to Tolay Creek. Here’s the sign, we’ve walked to before, when this section was shut off, during the restoration.

trail Sears Pt to MarinaI will be paying close attention to when this part of the Bay Trail will officially open. – Stay tuned.

Thank you LandPaths, Sonoma Land Trust and all the other people who have worked on this restoration.

View North from Sears Pt RanchA multitude of links:

Another section of wetland restoration is in Novato. The dike there was breached last year. Bay Trail Walk at Old Air Base.

Our walks from the Sonoma Baylands near the Marina and closer to the racetrack and the San Pablo Bay Wildlife Refuge.

A list of many of our Bay Trail walks. Find the Bay Trail Map.

One of my readers has told me that the dike at Cullinan Ranch has been breached. Also along Hwy 37, I haven’t seen it yet.

For distance ideas – it’s about 2 miles to Tolay and 2 miles to the Petaluma River. Walking less is always appropriate.

See you on this trail, in November – Lynn

Words by Lynn Millar, pictures by Lynn & Mike Millar

I like this picture of Mike’s – a Van Gogh inspiration

van gogh swirl

 

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