The East Bay shoreline, stretching north from the Bay Bridge to the City of Richmond, is home to an abundance of waterbirds and other wildlife and the site of the 2,262-acre Eastshore State Park. The park was created in 1997 when the California State Department of Parks and Recreation acquired the entire 8.5-mile stretch of shoreline. The park includes two of the richest waterbird habitats in the Bay Area. The Emeryville Crescent, adjacent to the Bay Bridge, is a 558-acre tidal marsh and cove that supports up to 14,000 shorebirds and thousands of other birds. To the north, the Albany mudflats rival the crescent in waterbird numbers. The park’s 260 acres of uplands provide habitat for many bird species now disappearing from the Bay Area, such as the Western Meadowlark and the Northern Harrier. The park was renamed in October, 2013 in honor of Sylvia McLaughlin.
While the park boundaries have been established, proposed development and human-related impacts continue to threaten the wildlife that rely on shoreline and upland habitats. Specific issues include:
- The state parks department’s General Plan for Eastshore State Park identifies approximately 80 percent of the park’s 260 acres of uplands as “Conservation Areas,” to be managed for habitat values and to encourage compatible recreation such as hiking, bird-watching, and nature photography. But currently there are no plans or funding to restore these areas.
- Proposed development at Golden Gate Fields racetrack in Albany could divide the park in half.
- Although sizable off-leash dog areas exist at Point Isabel and the new Point Isabel extension, off-leash dog use is extensive in other areas and poses a threat to wildlife in the park.
Golden Gate Audubon played a strong advocacy role in creating Eastshore State Park, and we continue to lead efforts to conserve its wildlife and wildlife habitats. Key goals include:
- Ensure that the park is managed to provide maximum wildlife habitat value while offering quality nature recreation and environmental education experiences for visitors
- Complete the transfer of the Albany Bulb to the park and enhance its wildlife values
- Incorporate the remaining privately owned lands along the shoreline into the McLaughlin Eastshore State Park
- Continue our cooperative working arrangement with sports field users and providing nature education materials to users of future sports fields at Gilman Street
What You Can Do
- Contact our East Bay Conservation Committee to find out how you can voice your support to restore wildlife habitat on the park’s conservation lands and oppose destructive new development projects. Email EBCC chairperson for details.
- Join us in interpreting the park to the public by leading field trips or staffing a table at various functions. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more.