By Todd Steiner, Executive Director of Turtle Island Restoration Network
Late last year, we learned that the owners of the San Geronimo Valley Golf Course needed to sell the property and we began quiet negotiations to purchase the golf course with the purpose of transforming it back into wildlands to support the recovery of endangered coho salmon. Read the full history here: SPAWN History & Projects at the San Geronimo Golf Course (PDF).
We informed Supervisor Dennis Rodini of our intentions and Marin County decided it would take over direct negotiations to acquire the golf course as County open space.
We believe restoration of this land to park and wildlands will pay dividends for current and future generations of Marin residents.
The acquisition and restoration of this property has been identified by the National Marine Fisheries Service and the California Department of Fish and Wildlife as a high priority for the recovery of the critically endangered coho salmon and threatened steelhead trout.
Permanent protection as public open space will preserve the more than $1 million of creek enhancement actions that our Salmon Protection and Watershed Network (SPAWN) program has already completed 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 will also have additional benefits for the people of Marin including:
- Saving over 49 million gallons (>$200,000) of municipal water each year,
- Eliminating the use of fertilizers and pesticides that get into our water and air,
- Re-creating floodplains that may reduce flooding of downstream houses built along the creek;
- Enhancing creek and floodplain habitats will capture sediments, particles, and pollutants, keeping water quality clean for downstream users;
- Allowing for the planting of trees, especially redwoods that sequester carbon and help to fight climate change;
- Protecting of wide host of wildlife species dependant on riparian habitat, most of which has been eradicated or highly degraded throughout the County; and
- Providing for a safe and healthy walking connector between San Geronimo Valley villages while maintaining the rural character of the San Geronimo Valley community.
We support the County’s plan to acquire the property for the purpose of recovering endangered coho salmon and steelhead and we have offered our expertise and long history of protecting and restoring habitat at the site.