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In The News

Endangered Species Day Calls Attention to Saltworks Proposal
On the 6th annual National Endangered Species Day, environmental groups review the Cargill Saltworks Development proposal’s incorporation of the species into the new ecosystem.

By Stacie Chan
Redwood City Patch, 5/20/11

Nancy Arbuckle, Conservation Chair of the Sequoia Audubon Society, said that National Endangered Species Day today renews attention to the proposed Cargill Saltworks development plan. Several species currently reside on the Cargill-owned 1,436 acre plot of land, according to Arbuckle.

The proposed Cargill Saltworks development proposal calls for 50 percent of the plan to create open spaces and restore wetlands, protecting the species that live there. However, environmental groups say they would prefer the entirety of the land be restored in order to minimize disturbance to endangered species that reside there.

“We have the opportunity to protect them and add to their habitat, not threaten them further,” Arbuckle said.

She said the Western snowy plover and California least tern had been reported residing within the project boundaries. She added that the salt marsh harvest mouse and the California clapper rail have habitats on Greco Island. Trevor Burwell, a scientist for Hauge Brueck Associates, the lead planning consultants on the project, added that the California red-legged frog was native to the area.

However, Jay Reed, a spokesperson for DMB Inc., the project applicant, said that the restoration plan expected species like the clapper rail, salt marsh harvest mouse and western snowy plover among others to “flourish in the new ecosystem.”

Hauge Brueck Associates hired LSA Associates, Inc., to extensively research the current wildlife population and how DMB can best restore the wetlands and preserve the native species’ habitats.

But Sierra Club member Gita Dev said the human impacts on the wetlands could counteract any positives of the restoration.

"The portion of the saltponds that they propose to 'restore' is going to be virtually surrounded by housing," Dev said. "Twelve thousand homes will generate, let's say, several thousands of dogs and cats (with an associated feral population), that can easily swim across to catch birds and their eggs, as well as hunt the endangered Harvest mouse.."

 

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