The City of Palo Alto will begin maintenance and repairs to the constructed freshwater Renzel Marsh along East Bayshore Road beginning Monday, March 26, 2018 as cattails, decaying vegetation, and silt from runoff and air deposition have reduced its flow. The freshwater marsh was built in 1992, and under ideal conditions, water would flow through the marsh, travel to the eastern portion of Matadero Creek and then flow to San Francisco Bay.
The berm constructed nearly three decades ago also requires repairs to stop leaks and ensure long-term integrity. To reduce maintenance costs associated with leak repairs, the site will be drained, excess sediment and cattails will be removed and the berm will be repaired. Maintenance and any necessary repair of the Renzel Marsh is a requirement of the City’s National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System permit.
“The goal of the maintenance is to stop leaks and to improve the flow of water through the pond,” said Phil Bobel, Assistant Director of Public Works. “The City is conducting a brief biological assessment to help minimize wildlife impacts. We will work hard to shepherd native fish and other organisms into Matadero Creek as the pond is drained.”
The freshwater Renzel marsh construction and periodic maintenance was a 1991 requirement of the California Regional Water Quality Board which sought increased beneficial reuse of treated wastewater effluent. Construction of the marsh was funded by a Coastal Conservancy grant. The site is designed to receive one million gallons of treated effluent from the Regional Water Quality Control Plant daily.
In the future, Palo Alto will consider expanding the trail system around the Renzel Marsh and connecting it more directly with other parts of Byxbee Park.