San Francisco Chronicle: Bill to fund efforts to restore bay's wetlands

A 20-year wish list of San Francisco Bay wetlands restoration projects would finally receive funding under a $1 billion federal bill introduced by a Bay Area congresswoman.

The San Francisco Bay Improvement Act of 2010 by Rep. Jackie Speier, D-Hillsborough, would fund the restoration of thousands of acres of bay marshes that were filled in or destroyed by levees and other projects in the last century.

Restoring wetlands is a relatively simple and inexpensive task, Holmes said. In most cases, it entails not much more than dredging channels and breaching levees, although it can take years for an area to return to its original state.

Healthy wetlands are imperative to combat rising sea levels, Holmes said. Marshes absorb water and act as a buffer between the bay and land.