Photo: David Baselt / Redwood Hikes Press
Photo: David Baselt / Redwood Hikes Press

Local Support Pours in for Marin County’s Plan to Return a Golf Course to its Wild State

Corte Madera, California — Last night, the Marin Municipal Water Board voted unanimously to encourage Marin County to acquire the San Geronimo Golf Course adding to the growing number of organizations and individuals throwing support behind the plan to purchase the golf course for open space, which would in turn help critically endangered coho salmon that spawn on the property.

More than 20 Marin County organizations, representing thousands of Marin County residents have weighed in in favor of the County’s acquisition of the San Geronimo Golf Course. In addition to virtually all environmental organizations in the County, other community-based organizations and groups such as the San Geronimo Valley Affordable Housing Association, San Geronimo Planning Group, and Marin educators are supporting County acquisition. California State Senator Mike McGuire also sent a letter of support.

Late last year, Turtle Island Restoration Network (TIRN), a nonprofit based in Marin County, learned that the owners of the San Geronimo Golf Course needed to sell for economic reasons. They began negotiations to purchase the property with the purpose of transforming it back into wildlands to support the recovery of critically endangered coho salmon.

TIRN informed Marin County Supervisor Dennis Rodoni of their intentions and the County decided it would take over direct negotiations to acquire the golf course as County Open Space.

Local, state, and federal entities are now coming together to show their support for Marin County’s decision to acquire the San Geronimo Golf Course and make it available for everyone to enjoy. Letters are coming in from all over the county and beyond, from individuals to scientific organizations to advisory committees.

“The acquisition of the San Geronimo Valley Golf Course by Marin County could be a cornerstone for restoration in the upper watershed of Lagunitas Creek. We believe the County’s acquisition of this land will significantly increase the potential for protection and restoration of habitat for endangered coho salmon and threatened steelhead trout,” stated The Lagunitas Creek Technical Advisory Committee, which represents 18 local, state and federal agencies and organizations.

The San Francisco Bay Joint Venture, a partnership that works to protect, restore and enhance wetlands for the benefit of wildlife and people in the Bay Area stated in their letter of support that “the acquisition and restoration of the floodplain at the San Geronimo golf course has been identified by the National Marine Fisheries Service and the California Department of Fish and Wildlife as a high priority acquisition that can help with the recovery of the critically endangered coho salmon and threatened steelhead trout.”

The San Geronimo Valley Affordable Housing Association also submitted a letter of support: “We fully support the suggested use of the property for park and public use. More specifically, our Association endorses the opportunities presented by this acquisition for wildlife preservation including salmon and steelhead habitat, community gardening, and public facilities.”

The acquisition and restoration of the San Geronimo Golf Course has been identified by the United States Fisheries Service as “one of the most important actions that can be taken to recover Central California Coast coho.”

The Salmon Protection and Watershed Network (SPAWN), an initiative of Turtle Island Restoration Network, works to protect these endangered coho salmon and the forests and watersheds they need to survive in West Marin. SPAWN, along with dedicated volunteers and partners, have already completed more than $1 million of creek enhancement actions on the property and will permit current and future salmon enhancement actions to continue and expand, including more than $2 million of proposed enhancements that have already been designed and engineered and are currently awaiting final funding decisions.

“It warms my heart that many community organizations with missions quite disparate from wildlife protection are seeing the multiple benefits to people and the ecosystem services that will come from the acquisition and restoration of this golf course,” said Todd Steiner, executive director of Turtle Island Restoration Network.

Steiner applauds Marin County’s efforts to acquire the San Geronimo Golf Course for people and species.

“We believe this action demonstrates a significantly heightened commitment by Marin County toward the protection and recovery of endangered salmon and we congratulate Supervisor Rodoni and all the Supervisors for considering this important action,” he said. “We hope to build on this important step by finding additional ways to work collaboratively with the County now and in the future.”

Below is a partial list of a growing number of local, regional and national agencies, and organizations as well as individuals supporting acquisition and restoration of San Geronimo Golf Course. A more up to date list can be found here.

  1. Lagunitas Creek Technical Advisory Committee [pdf] (Letter approved by vote of 18 governmental and non-governmental organizations, see letter for list.)
  2. California State Senator Mike McGuire [pdf]
  3. Center for Biological Diversity [pdf]
  4. Point Blue Conservation Science [pdf]
  5. Marin Conservation League [pdf]
  6. Sierra Club Marin Group [pdf]
  7. San Geronimo Valley Affordable Housing Association [pdf]
  8. San Geronimo Valley Planning Group [pdf]
  9. River Otter Ecology Project [pdf]
  10. San Francisco Bay Joint Venture [pdf]
  11. CalTrout [pdf]
  12. Marin Environmental Educators [pdf]
  13. Wilderness Way [pdf]
  14. West Marin Environmental Action Committee [pdf]
  15. Marin County Young Democrats [pdf]
  16. Broom Service [pdf]
  17. Our Letter – Turtle Island Restoration Network [pdf]

 

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