Project History

scenic view of bolinas lagoon

In their 1996 Bolinas Lagoon Management Update, Marin County Open Space District suggested that, since 1968, the lagoon had lost significant tidal prism, likely affecting its hydrological function and the habitats and species it supports. Additional studies were recommended to corroborate this finding and determine the potential future magnitude of tidal prism loss. A Reconnaissance Study conducted by the United States Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) in 1997 concluded that corrective action - dredging and/or other means of removing accumulated sediment or minimizing its entry into the lagoon - was a matter of national interest because of the lagoon's environmental significance. The USACE, with financial support from the federal government, the State of California, and the Marin County Open Space District (MCOSD), commenced a Feasibility Study in 1998 to develop a plan to restore habitats of the lagoon. The USACE released the Draft Bolinas Lagoon Ecosystem Restoration Feasibility Study and Draft EIR/EIS in 2002. The study called for dredging approximately 1.4 million cubic yards of sediment from the lagoon. Public comments challenged the conclusions of the Draft EIR/S and instead cited the need for a clear, scientifically sound description of how the lagoon would evolve if no action was taken - without which the purpose and need for taking corrective action could not be supported.

In response, MCOSD hired a consulting team to conduct a rigorous scientific review of the assumptions and conclusions in the USACE study and to provide a 50-year projection of the hydrological and ecological evolution of the lagoon. As part of this effort, MCOSD assembled two panels of independent scientists with expertise in a variety of relevant disciplines to assist the consultant team in identifying data gaps and collecting and analyzing new data. These panels, known as the Technical Review Group and the Project Reformulation Advisory Group, also provided peer review of the reports. The consulting team prepared a series of five reports documenting its findings. The conclusions contained in the most recent report, entitled 'Projecting the Future Evolution of Bolinas Lagoon', are based on previous reports by the consultants related to lagoon management objectives, data review, sediment delivery, and other subjects.

In December 2006, the Executive Committee and the Bolinas Lagoon Technical Advisory Committee formulated recommendations to the Board of Directors of the Marin County Open Space District to continue the Bolinas Lagoon Ecosystem Restoration Feasibility Study and EIR/S. The study would engage the regulatory agencies, scientists and the public in identifying actions that would reduce, and possibly reverse, sediment accumulation and habitat shifts caused by human impacts in Bolinas Lagoon. After years of development, and through the efforts and dedication of the Sanctuary Advisory Council Working Group and incorporation of community interests through several public scoping meetings, the Bolinas Lagoon Ecosystem Restoartion Project: Recommendations for Restoration and Management was presented and approved by the Sanctuary Advisory Council on July 25, 2008. The recommendations were forwarded and adopted by Marin County Open Space District and released to the upblic in August, 2008.

Thanks to the many partners, local organizations, and community members who helped make these recommendations possible. A special thanks to our partners at the Greater Farallones Association (FMSA) for their direct financial support of the Bolinas Lagoon Restoration Project. By recruiting private funding for volunteer and project coordination, FMSA supports the Greater Farallones efforts to strengthen coordination between agency partnerships and maintain progress on restoration projects for the Lagoon. Click the link below to download and read the full Bolinas Lagoon Ecosystem Restoration Project document.

Bolinas Lagoon Ecosystem Restoration Project: Recommendations for Restoration and Management (3.1 MB PDF)