Point Molate Beach Park in Richmond, which has been closed for a decade, reopened October 14. The reopening of this Richmond city park came after Baykeeper completed a months-long cleanup earlier this year, removing 96 tons of debris that had polluted San Francisco Bay waters and Point Molate's shoreline.
For years, Point Molate’s beach had been blighted by hundreds of pilings contaminated with creosote, a now-banned wood preservative that poses a threat to both wildlife and people. With help from volunteers, we cut these large piling logs into smaller chunks, using methods that kept the beach and water from being further contaminated with toxic sawdust. Teams of volunteers then carried the chunks to a beach site near the parking lot where they could be removed more easily, as shown in the photo above. We used light machinery that had minimum impact on the beach to haul out the debris, which also included metal shards, tires, plastic, boat hulls, and parts of a run-down pier. Finally, we took it all by truck to a landfill authorized to accept treated wood waste.
Baykeeper’s cleanup stopped the leaching of creosote into the water and shoreline soil. It will also make the area safer for fish and harbor seals, improve the health of sub-tidal eelgrass beds along the beach, and allow the sandy beach area to naturally expand inland.
Point Molate is one of the last remaining undeveloped sites along San Francisco Bay. For several years, this rare, wild shoreline was considered as a site for a new mega-casino. Baykeeper helped defeat that proposal. Now, we are pleased that we have helped make one of the largest sandy beaches on the Bay’s eastern shoreline accessible to the public. The park is a true treasure for Richmond residents, who have borne a disproportionate share of the Bay Area’s toxic pollution, and for all visitors to this lovely shoreline location.
Thanks to Baykeeper Head Skipper Geoff Potter for his hard work on the cleanup, and to all the volunteers who helped get the toxic debris off Point Molate Beach! Our cleanup effort was funded in part by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), under their Marine Debris Removal program.