In 2013, the National Park Service launched a major effort to restore the wetlands and native habitats near Rodeo Beach.
Once a thriving marsh, the U.S. Army made significant changes to the site’s landscape when they created the roads, buildings, and batteries at and around Fort Cronkhite. As a result, water flowing into the wetland from the hillside above created an incised channel rather than spreading out evenly as it once did, causing the wetland to shrink to a fraction of its original size. A portion of the wetland was also later converted into a parking lot.
This restoration project included regrading the parking area and surrounding landscape to restore the site’s hydrology, removing invasive plants, and planting native wetland species. The restored area is now supporting a small population of reintroduced endangered marsh sandwort. Threatened California red-legged frogs now also live here in the summer.
The Parks Conservancy has been supporting these wetland habitat protection and restoration efforts—in particular by removing highly invasive cape ivy. This extremely fast-growing weed does particularly well in moist areas such as along streambanks and in wetlands like the one at Rodeo Beach. Its vines can grow several meters high and in dense mats that smother other plants, making controlling this invader a high priority for protecting the sandwort, red-legged frogs, and all the other plants and animals that live here.