Here are the latest updates on the Save Newark Wetlands campaigns:
4,665 Petitions Delivered by Coalition to State Agencies Responsible for Protecting SF Bay
In February, we were proud to deliver the first round of petitions to the SF Bay Conservation and Development Commission (Feb, 18th) and SF Bay Regional Water Quality Control Board (Feb, 10th). Greenbelt Alliance was joined by four of our partners, Center for Biological Diversity, Citizens Committee to Complete the Refuge, Sierra Club – SF Chapter, and San Francisco Baykeeper, to deliver the 4,665 signatures at the agencies’ monthly board and commission meetings, where we also provided comments on the importance of the agencies exerting their full regulatory authority to protect these lands. In addition to the 4,665 total petition signatures, we were particularly proud to share the over 800 individual comments by supporters across many different campaigns. Your voices are powerful—and we will continue to make sure they are heard by decision-makers!
Here is a photo of us providing public comment at the SF Bay Regional Water Quality Control Board meeting on February 10.
Legal Appeal Filed, Challenging City of Newark’s Approval of 469-Unit Development
Also, two of our Save Newark Wetlands coalition members—Citizens Committee to Complete the Refuge and Center for Biological Diversity—have been challenging the City of Newark’s approval of the “Sanctuary West” housing development in the courts. They are arguing the project’s environmental review was inadequate. While they were not successful in Alameda County Superior Court, on February 8 they appealed the decision to the First District Court of Appeal in San Francisco. The attorneys believe that the trial court was not responsive to the arguments and that the City of Newark needs a more comprehensive review of this highly destructive project.
You can also read more about our appeal in this article from Mercury News, which continues to cover our efforts.
To each of you who have signed and shared our petition, thank you! You are giving hope by showing that the public supports defeating this irresponsible development and securing long-term protection of these valuable lands for the future.
We are going to continue to do all we can to keep up the momentum.
About the Petition
One of the single largest opportunities to protect and restore San Francisco Bay wetlands and wildlife in the South San Francisco Bay is at risk of being lost forever—if we don’t take action immediately. Join us in taking action, and spreading the word to #SaveNewarkWetlands!
On Christmas eve last year, developers have secured approval by the City of Newark to pave over hundreds of acres of open space directly adjacent to the Don Edwards SF Bay National Wildlife Refuge, trucking in over 100,000 dump trucks of fill to construct 469 luxury housing units—all atop restorable wetlands within a 100-year FEMA flood zone that is anticipated to be completely inundated by sea-level rise.
With the City of Newark having approved this destructive “Sanctuary West” development project, it is now up to the state regulatory agencies whose job it is to protect San Francisco Bay to step in and stop this destruction. Sign on to our petition to urge the San Francisco Bay Conservation and Development Commission (BCDC) and San Francisco Bay Regional Water Quality Control Board (Water Board) exercise their full regulatory authority to protect the “Newark Area 4” Baylands before it is too late. Both agencies have been on record expressing concern to the city of Newark regarding the proposed development.
Citing the rapidly increasing rates of sea-level rise that’s expected to drown bay wetlands and the urgent need to protect critical wetland migration corridors for both wildlife habitat and flood buffers, the Citizens Committee to Complete the Refuge, Center for Biological Diversity, Greenbelt Alliance, Sierra Club San Francisco Bay Chapter, and San Francisco Baykeeper are launching petition campaigns that urge state regulators to protect Newark Area 4.
The 559-acre site now known as “Newark Area 4” are historic SF Bay wetlands—long prized by Bay scientists and wildlife managers for wetland and wildlife habitat restoration—are authorized for inclusion in the Don Edwards SF Bay National Wildlife Refuge. Area 4 has also been identified as a key opportunity for nature-based adaptation for the sea-level rise—as a rare space for wetlands to migrate upland— providing critical habitat for endangered wildlife, flood protection for the community, and advancing resilience in the face of sea-level in the decades to come.
With the City of Newark’s approval of this development in December 2019 and legal efforts by environmentalists to challenge the environmental review so far unsuccessful, it is now up to BCDC and the SF Bay Regional Water Quality Control Board, agencies responsible for protecting the Bay, to step in and protect Area 4 before these lands are paved over forever.