The Island

The history of DeSilva Island and Richardson Bay is one of change wrought by human activity. Construction of the railroad in 1883 was the first major event that reconfigured the shoreline. It served as a partial levee, separating island marshes from bay waters. DeSilva Island remained an island, linked at low tide to the Strawberry mainland by salt marsh and exposed mud flat.

More defining than construction of the railroad was the filling of the bay for the ”new” Highway 101. The effect was to fully link DeSilva Island to the “mainland”, creating a peninsula. The lagoon on the east side of 101 came to be known as “Belloch Lagoon”.

The infill of Highway 101 created building sites for commercial development. An unintended consequence of placing the weight of fill over the underlying bay mud was to displace a “mud wave” into Belloch Lagoon - an elevated mound above the reach of high tide that impaired tidal circulation.

The opportunity to restore the environment came later when construction began at DeSilva Island and it was necessary to fill an area of wetland for the entry road. The obvious mitigation was to undo the mud wave, improve tidal circulation to the lagoon salt marsh, remove debris and restore the natural beauty of the shoreline for pedestrian access.