Area 4

Whistling Wings and Pintail Duck Clubs (Area 4)

In the fall of 2010, CCCR filed a California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) lawsuit to correct the flawed environmental review of the approved specific plan for the lands that once supported the Whistling Wings and Pintail Duck Clubs. For the first time in our history, we appealed to our members and friends for support and your response was overwhelming. With your support we entered into lengthy settlement discussions.  Next we agreed to a mediation process.  Both processes failed.  We are now pursuing legal action and the Hearing on the Merits of the Case will be Friday, September 28th.

Our interest in protecting these lands has persisted for several decades and volumes have been written describing from an ecological perspective why these lands are deserving of such devotion. However, nothing can surpass the moving description provided by CCCR member and former Whistling Wings Duck Club member, Wally Peters:

"Some time ago I shared with my friend Florence LaRiviere some lines from an old text on the South Bay. The passages were about the ducks, shorebirds, salmon, oysters, shrimp, etc., that were so very abundant in our unpolluted sloughs and Bay.

I now cannot find the source of those passages. However, as I thought about the subject, I thought, "I'll just tell Florence what I saw on the South Bay just thirty years ago." It is always an easy subject for me, only difficult to keep it brief.

It is easy to recall our one room hunting shack at Whistling Wings Duck Club, surrounded by a carpet of pickleweed, saw grass and other marsh grasses. At certain times of the year the patches of orange dodder were brilliant. The surrounding area was primarily farm land. We were located on Mowry Slough and had a great view of Mission Peak.

The South Bay I saw was home to thousands of migratory waterfowl as well as countless other migratory shorebirds. Of course, the marshes were the permanent home of mice, owls, hawks, muskrats, reptiles, marsh wrens, etc.

I remember fall days when pintail ducks would drop into our fresh water ponds by the hundreds. And, of course, the teal, spoonies, widgeon, gadwall, and an occasional canvasback were all present as well.

In the spring, the teal would nest in the grasses and the mallards on the higher ground. We did not take our retriever dogs to the marsh at this time of year as they would disturb the nests. There was a small family of deer on the slough. We had several badgers, and of course, raccoons. When I see the deer that live at Coyote Hills Park today, I catch myself hoping that they may include the offspring of our local "duck club deer herd."

It is difficult for me to comprehend that the things I was privileged to see and live among were only a shadow of the days, just 250 years ago, of waterfowl-blackened marshes and overwhelming natural resources - days when man was sure there enough to last till the end of time." [Ed. - with these kinds of memories, we cannot every rest easy until we have brought all these lands into the Refuge and see them once again supporting hosts of waterfowl, shorebirds, and all the creatures that once inhabited these lands.]

This entire excerpt was published in the Save Wetlands Newsletter Issue 9 - 1990, and all that was stated then is of even more importance today.


The conceptual development plan approved by the City of Newark (that can be viewed here) would require the import of approximately two million cubic yards of fill to raise the development footprint out of the current 100-year floodplain.  Areas of pickleweed on the site are know to support the endangered salt marsh harvest mouse.  Portions of the site are perennially wet and support waterfowl and resident and migratory shorebirds.  Immediately across Mowry Slough are lands owned by the Don Edwards San Francisco Bay National Wildlife Refuge, and the majority of the "Area 4" (Whistling Wings and Pintail Duck Clubs) is within the Refuge expansion boundary.  Our comment letters and those of others can be viewed by clicking on the Resources tab and then Comment Letters.

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