The planning of the restoration of the South Bay Salt Ponds is underway. At this stage the project is soliciting input from community stakeholders for the formulation of the plans.
More information in the Restoration Project can be found at www.southbayrestoration.org. Maps of the lands under review can be found at www.southbayrestoration.org/Maps.html. Briefly, weíre talking about the Eden Landing shoreline south of the San Mateo Bridge, the West Bay area just north of the Dumbarton Bridge, and the Alviso ponds north of Moffet Field.
There is a small chance that there might be an opportunity to create new windsurfing/kiteboarding access points to the South Bay. There are several obstacles:
- - The lands will be managed by the California Dept. of Fish and Game and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Both of these organizations manage their lands for wildlife first and for wildlife-focused recreation (hiking, birding, hunting/fishing, etc.) second. Providing access for windsurfing/kiteboarding is very low on their list of priorities. Boarding on the salt ponds themselves is absolutely not an option.
- Close-in vehicular access to open water will be very limited, but not out of the question. Many of the levees have roads on their tops that are traditionally used for maintenance. There is the possibility that one of these could be opened and maintained to allow access to the Bay for kayakers, sailors, and in-vehicle wildlife viewing.
- This is the South Bay, where ìwaterî is a loose term depending on the tides and location. Many areas that look blue on a map are actually dry or mud at low tide.
- Funds will be tight for the near future. Financing the building of any new ramps and beaches will take creativity. Multi-use ideas are the best bet.
- - Do you know of areas adjacent to the salt ponds that hold promise for new windsurfing/kiteboarding launches?
-Do you have access to a boat that can be used to investigate potential options?
I coordinated with Peter Thorner and the SFBA to represent windsurfing and kiteboarding interests in this process. Iíll continue to stay involved if we can identify target access points that promise good sailing. However, keep in mind that any new site should be exceptional in order to justify the effort it will take to push for formal access. It may not make sense to push for mediocre access in an area that will be frequently be unusable due to tidal conditions.
Please respond to this on this forum or directly to me at tbf3(at)yahoo.com.