In addition to supporting the Madrone Audubon Society’s mission of preserving habitats, with particular emphasis on birds and overall biodiversity, the Petaluma Wetlands Alliance also works with the schools, governments, environmental organizations, and our community. We educate the public about the ecology, wildlife, and the value of wetlands. The PWA is dedicated to the stewardship, restoration, and expansion of publicly accessible wetlands and associated wildlife habitats. We are active in Shollenberger Park, Alman Marsh, and the Ellis Creek Wetlands.
To achieve our mission we believe the following must happen:
The Alliance understands that to add additional public facilities, beyond those listed above, more funds will be needed and appropriate funding mechanisms must be explored. We stand ready to assist the city in securing these additional resources.
• Raise money to benefit our wetlands
• Encourage visitation to the wetlands
• Educate the public about the value, ecology, and beauty of wetlands
• Work toward getting an Interpretive Center in the Petaluma wetlands
• Operate both docent and volunteer-work programs
• Work with the city on wetland management issues
• Solicit other organizations or groups to help with various wetland related activities
• Communicate PWA’s mission and activities to the public
• Organize and run selected maintenance and habitat restoration projects in our public wetlands
• Protect our wetlands from harm and mismanagement
A Short History
In the early to mid-1990s, the Petaluma City Council instructed city management to collect designs from engineers to build a new wastewater treatment plant (WWTP) on the site of the old water storage ponds and to include a functional wetlands component (called treatment or polishing wetlands) on Gray’s Ranch. In late 2001 the then-current City Council felt that the wetlands option was too costly and removed funding for purchase of the Gray property (and the wetlands) from the WWTP budget.
The Alliance formed when a group of concerned citizens banded together to provide testimony at a number of City Council meetings extolling the benefits of the treatment wetlands over other alternatives. The Alliance gathered over 3,600 signatures in support of the polishing wetlands and associated wildlife sanctuary with public access. Many public slide presentations on the Arcata Marsh and Wildlife Sanctuary, the model for our project, by biologist/naturalist Gerald Moore showed how Arcata’s natural system for recycling water could be applied to Petaluma’s planned facility. In January 2004 the city purchased Gray’s Ranch and changed their construction plans to place the entire new WWTP on about 25 acres of Parcel A on Gray’s Ranch. The plan also included 45 acres of polishing wetlands and public trails.