For Immediate Release, July 31, 2020
Marin County Court Rejects Attempt to Suspend Salmon Restoration Project on Former San Geronimo Golf Course
SAN RAFAEL, Calif. — A Marin County judge late yesterday denied the San Geronimo Heritage Alliance’s latest attempt to suspend, delay or repeal a community restoration project to remove the highest priority fish barrier in central California.
The Superior Court of California for the County of Marin’s decision to deny the group’s request to temporarily remove already-issued restoration permits for the project allows the Salmon Protection And Watershed Network (SPAWN) to continue the Roy’s Pools Fish Passage and Floodplain Restoration Project to create and restore approximately five acres of creek habitat this summer with the construction of 0.25-mile long floodplain corridors along the former San Geronimo golf course property in San Geronimo — one of the most important watersheds left for endangered coho salmon.
“We’re grateful that Judge Sweet summarily rejected this latest unscientific and legally questionable attempt to prevent one of the most important salmon recovery restoration projects in California from happening,” said Todd Steiner, wildlife ecologist and executive director of SPAWN. “We are also grateful for the support of the San Geronimo community to restore habitat for a critically endangered species, and are excited this project will inject more than $2 million into the local Bay Area economy, especially during a time when so many people are out of work.”
The project is a long-awaited collaborative effort between several local, state, and national agencies that will provide year-round access to critical habitat for endangered salmon, create valuable floodplain corridors for terrestrial wildlife, greatly increase the amount of riparian trees along the stream, and install a new pedestrian bridge to link trails and provide fish viewing over a wider, more stable creek channel.
“Although the short-term impacts of construction can be disrupting, the long-term benefits this project has for both endangered coho salmon and homeowners in the San Geronimo Valley are paramount,” said Preston Brown, project manager and SPAWN’s director of watershed conservation. “We’re excited to continue working with local community members, partners, students and agencies to complete this long-awaited project.”
In its final ruling the court said a stay would “hamper resources and project that are in the public interest.”
“The court further finds to perpetuate the conflict on this property in a case where success on the merits is low is against the public interest,” the ruling states. “The court does not find the petitioner will suffer irreparable harm.”
The Marin County Board of Supervisors voted unanimously in June to deny an attempt to appeal a permit by an individual who claimed the land should have remained a golf course as a 1997 community plan recommended. The notion was recently rejected by voters in March, when the majority of Marin County citizens voted against Measure D to prevent golf from returning to the property and allow it to be a public park.
To learn more about the Roy’s Pools Fish Passage and Floodplain Restoration Project and watch a webinar SPAWN hosted on project details, visit www.seaturtles.org/roys.
The Salmon Protection And Watershed Network (SPAWN) is a program of the global ocean conservation non-profit Turtle Island Restoration Network that protects endangered, wild coho salmon and the forests and watersheds they need to survive in West Marin County, California. Learn more at www.seaturtles.org/salmon.
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