Historically, freshwater was an important component of the baylands ecosystem, creating salinity gradients that added physical and ecological diversity to the baylands landscape as well as facilitating rapid vertical marsh growth. Today, the extent, magnitude, and seasonality of freshwater to the baylands has been greatly altered. This project brings together diverse stakeholders to further the conversation on using treated wastewater as a resource for a resilient East Bay shoreline. The East Bay Dischargers Authority (EBDA) currently discharges treated wastewater effluent into SF Bay through a deep water outfall; however, this infrastructure is aging and vulnerable to rising sea level. With funding from the State Coastal Conservancy’s Climate Ready Grant, this project assessed the opportunities and constraints of decentralizing EBDA’s discharge and re-introducing freshwater inputs to the San Leandro to Fremont shoreline.
A series of stakeholder workshops were held to identify concept alternatives for decentralization including: 1) routing freshwater to creek systems, 2) routing freshwater through a seepage slope as part of a horizontal levee, 3) contained wetland treatment systems, and 4) re-use of water. Conceptual models were also developed to illustrate how various strategies could create a coherent landscape given physical and ecological considerations.