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US Fish & Wildlife Service FieldNotes
SAN PABLO BAY NWR: Skaggs Island Demolition Moves Former Navy Base Closer to Becoming New Refuge Unit
Region 8, January 29, 2010
One-Two-Three, a 125-foot water tower that serviced a former Navy facility at Skaggs Island comes down Jan.29, 2010. (photo: Scott Flaherty USFWS)
One-Two-Three, a 125-foot water tower that serviced a former Navy facility at Skaggs Island comes down Jan.29, 2010. (photo: Scott Flaherty USFWS) - Photo Credit: n/a
Region 8 Refuge Chief Marge Kolar tells guests about the value of Skaggs Island as part of San Pablo Bay NWR during a pre-demolition program at Skaggs Island. (photo: Scott Flaherty, USFWS)
Region 8 Refuge Chief Marge Kolar tells guests about the value of Skaggs Island as part of San Pablo Bay NWR during a pre-demolition program at Skaggs Island. (photo: Scott Flaherty, USFWS) - Photo Credit: n/a

by Scott Flaherty, Region 8
A years-long campaign by the Fish and Wildlife Service and several San Francisco Bay-area conservation groups to transform an abandoned Cold-War-era Navy base into quality habitats for birds and endangered wildlife took a visible step forward recently when the U.S. Navy ceremoniously demolished a 125-foot water tower on Skaggs Island.

The 3,310 acre Skaggs Island lies amid marshlands on the northern edge of San Pablo Bay just west of Vallejo, Calif.  The Navy closed its facilities on Skagg’s Island in 1993, abandoning 150 buildings on 60 acres.   About 80 federal, state and local government officials, conservationists and member of the news media gathered at the former base January 29, 2010, to mark the official start of demolition of the abandoned buildings, starting with the water tower.

Prior to the demolition of the water tower, guests and visitors were addressed by officials who were instrumental in the cleanup and eventual transfer of the land to the Refuge.  Speakers included Capt. Martin E. Smith, Naval Facilities Engineering Command, Southwest; Tom Roth, Legislative Aide to Congresswoman Lynn Woolsey; Marge Kolar, Regional Chief, National Wildlife Refuge System; Will Travis, Executive Director, Bay Conservation Development Commission, James Richards, Deputy District Director, Environmental Planning and Engineering, Caltrans District 4, and Beth Huning, Coordinator for San Francisco Bay Joint Venture.  

The Navy said it plans to complete its demolition project by July 2010, clearing the way for the 3,310 acre island to be added to the San Pablo Bay National Wildlife Refuge. According to San Pablo Bay Refuge Manager Christy Smith, the property could be transferred to the refuge by the end of the year.

The San Pablo Bay National Wildlife Refuge lies along the north shore of San Pablo Bay in Sonoma, Solano, and Napa Counties in northern California. The refuge includes open bay/tidal marsh, mud flats, and seasonal and managed wetland habitats. The refuge provides critical migratory and wintering habitat for shorebirds and waterfowl, particularly diving ducks, and provides year-round habitat for endangered, threatened, and sensitive species like the California clapper rail, salt marsh harvest mouse, California black rail, San Pablo song sparrow, and Suisun shrew.

Contact Info: Scott Flaherty, , Scott_Flaherty@fws.gov