By Brandon BeachMarch 23, 2011
NOTE: See video here: http://bit.ly/elHUiA
SAN FRANCISCO - Eric Jolliffe doesn't mind getting a little mud on his shoes. In fact, it's part of the job for this biologist with the Corps' San Francisco District.
Mud, or more accurately, dredged material, has played a key role in the development of the Hamilton Wetland Restoration Project in Novato, Calif. It is the foundation for building the kind of typography conducive to growing plants and attracting wildlife.
To date, more than 20 million cubic yards of dredged material has been placed on Hamilton for beneficial reuse.
"We are essentially using the mud to raise the elevation of the site, which would happen naturally if we breached it, but it would take decades longer," said Jolliffe. "This is a critical area for a couple of endangered species - the salt marsh harvest mouse and the [California] clapper rail. So there's an advantage to creating this site as fast as possible."
In order to speed up that process, engineers with San Francisco District have established a temporary offloader several miles offshore where barges can unload their cargoes of dredged material. The system then slurries the material and moves it to different areas of the project site using a complex system of booster pumps, sub-stations and miles of pipeline.
The 988-acre project near San Pablo Bay is one of the largest habitat restoration projects on the West Coast. Jolliffe has been providing his biological expertise to this ambitious project for the last 15 years.
"This is the reason I came to the Corps; I don't think I would have come for another reason," said Jolliffe. "A project like this was very appealing to me. It was going to be long term, and you get to work on it almost full time."
A Biologist matches concerns for the environment with demands of urban development. Biologists are an integral part to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. The job is never boring. And neither are the people in it.
Meet Eric Jolliffe: http://bit.ly/elHUiA