In the run up to the Mubadala United States Sail Grand Prix, SailGP teams and shore crew and staff took some time out to give back to the local San Francisco community by working on a local impact project with the environmental organization - Save the Bay.
The team of twelve volunteers headed out to Menlo Park to help restore an area of tidal marsh at Ravenswood R4 levee as part of a larger restoration project across San Francisco Bay - the South Bay Salt Pond Restoration Project. The project is the largest tidal marsh restoration project on the West Coast and aims to rejuvenate over 15,000 acres of industrial salt ponds to thriving tidal wetlands. Once restored the wetlands can be home again to local wildlife, as well as forming a natural protective barrier to flooding – a growing concern as the area is vulnerable to rising sea levels caused by rapid climate change.
The restoration takes several years and follows an annual cycle of planting native species in the fall and winter, followed by a spring summer maintenance of weeding and nurturing the native plants. The SailGP team arrived in time to help pull 270lbs of weeds out and its further support will go towards the planting of over 3,000 native shrubs and seeds.
Athletes digging in included Great Britain’s Hannah Mills, Spain’s Joel Rodriguez, and France’s driver Quentin Delapierre.
Hannah Mills, SailGP Global Purpose Ambassador said: “It’s really good to be involved in projects like Save the Bay. We are lucky enough to race in all these places and it is important to learn about the challenges these communities face because of climate change, and to help to do something about it. It’s great that SailGP is encouraging this.”
Quentin Delapierre, driver, France SailGP Team: “The French team is keen to put its energy into the Impact League and impact projects, so it’s great to be part of this work with Save the Bay and to help restore this local environment.”
Jessie Olson, Habitat Restoration Director, Save the Bay: "We're a community-based restoration program and we wouldn’t be able to do this without the help of people giving their time. Today we managed to remove a couple of hundred lbs of weeds in just a couple of hours - an enormous help. The partnership with SailGP is going to help with all aspects of our restoration work. We believe that the best way to educate people is to get them out onto the shoreline to see for themselves. We’re hopefully going to get around 2000 school children out to our project sites this year, and at no cost to the schools, which is thanks to SailGP."