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Update 7/7/15 - To date, MCL and its donors have contributed more than $25,400 to this project. Thank you for your support in acquiring an important piece of this ancient marsh complex. the funds have been submitted to escrow and the sale should close in August 2015.

Marin Baylands Advocates has reported that the contract to purchase the 5.2 acre property, signed last summer, has been extended until the end of August. The County of Marin has released $100,000 in Measure A funds toward the acquisition, and the state Coastal Conservancy has approved $400,000 in grant funding.

Once the property is purchased, preparation of detailed plans, permits, and funding for restoration to tidal marsh will commence. The site will require removal of fill (mostly construction debris that has accumulated since the 1940s) and re-vegetation with native plants. Marin Audubon Society will oversee this process while in temporary ownership, and then the parcel will be donated to the California Department of Fish & Wildlife, which oversees the long-term protection of the Corte Madera Ecological Reserve.

Corte Madera Ecological Reserve

Background: Most of Corte Madera’s historic baylands were acquired and protected when the Corte Madera Ecological Reserve was established in the 1970s. The Reserve includes almost 300 acres of tidal marsh and is one of the most important of the Bay’s remaining tidal marshes.

But this 5.2-acre parcel, known as Madera Bay Park, lying east of Hwy 101 and across the old north-south railroad tracks at the end of Industrial Way, remained in private ownership and is still zoned for commercial development.

The northern area is a healthy and productive ecosystem, a model for the restoration goals of this project.  It is one of just a few marshes in the Bay that has never been diked. But fill placed on the property and uncontrolled use has badly degraded the habitat, and the un-managed condition of the property adversely affects the adjacent Reserve and its wildlife inhabitants.

Protecting this property is critical because the existing Corte Madera Ecological Reserve surrounds it on three sides. Restoration will create a vegetated upland where endangered Ridgway's rail and other species can hide from predators. Restoration will include a public path for viewing the marshes that stretch out to the bay.

This high tide refuge area will also serve to accommodate sea level rise and provide flood protection by preventing storm surges from topping nearby levees.

How YOU can Help
Make a direct, tax-deductible donation now by sending your check with “Madera Bay Park” in the memo field to:

Marin Conservation League
175 N Redwood Drive, Suite 135
San Rafael CA 94903

Or donate online at https://donatenow.networkforgood.org/marinconservationleague and choose Madera Bay Park Special Acquisition Fund in the designation drop-down. If you have questions or want more information. call (415) 485-6257 or e-mail This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

This project is in support of the Campaign for Marin Baylands, a partnership of Marin Baylands Advocates and Marin Audubon Society.  Thank you to early funders: Corte Madera Community Foundation, Marin County Fish and Wildlife Commission, Marin Audubon Society, California Alpine Club Foundation, Friends of Corte Madera Creek Watershed, Marin Open Space Trust, Marin Conservation League, and Spring Creek Foundation.

Funds donated to Marin Conservation League for this purchase will be held in reserve. If for some reason the sale does not go through, fund contributors will be given the option of having their monies returned or placed in MCL's Land Preservation Fund for any future, similar opportunities to preserve open space in Marin.

Documents and Correspondence

May 7, 2015, Letter to U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service re: Corte Madera Ecological Reserve Expansion
May 23, 2014, Letter to U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service re: Corte Madera Ecological Reserve Expansion

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MCL's Legacy: An Interactive View of Our Successes