Sonoma Land Trust builds ‘living shoreline’ to thwart erosion at Sears Point

The Press Democrat

Julian Meisler stood on a human-made levee at low tide along the shore of San Pablo Bay, surveying 1,000 acres of a dark brown, mostly barren mud flat.

“That’s exactly what we want to see,” said Meisler.

He is the project manager of Sonoma Land Trust’s 15-year campaign to restore wetlands intended to protect the Highway 37 corridor — with both a roadway and rail line — from flooding exacerbated by sea level rise.

And now the levee, a victim of erosion from wind waves, is being fortified by an unprecedented restoration project using hundreds of trees — some salvaged from wildfire burn areas — to blunt the waves and promote wildlife habitat.

It’s been six years since the Santa Rosa nonprofit’s Sears Point project breached the levee built 140 years ago to create farmland, and tides have since deposited two to four feet of sediment in the nascent wetlands.

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