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Going with the Flow at the Bay Model

 

Lake: S F Bay Model Regional Visitor Center, CA

Partners: USACE; Bay Model Association; Marin Community Foundation

Corps POC: Chris Gallagher, Senior Park Ranger, Bay Model Visitor Center

Story: An unusual example of how one Corps facility responded to changing missions occurred at the San Francisco Bay Model in California. The model was originally constructed in 1957 by the Corps to test the impact of proposed changes to San Francisco Bay and related waterways. Hydraulic modeling simulated currents, tidal action, sediment movement, and the mixing of fresh and salt water. Pollution, salt-water intrusion, and barrier and fill studies are a few of the research projects that were conducted. Using the model, scientists and engineers were able to determine that a proposed creation of several dams across the Bay would adversely affect its unique ecosystem. The engineering research role of the Bay Model was phased out in 2000 and today, the 1.5-acre model has a new role as part of the Bay Model Visitor Center hosting over 140,000 visitors annually, mostly school children learning about issues like water policy and coastal environment concerns. The facility also includes a classroom constructed in partnership between the Bay Model Association, the Marin Community Foundation, and the Corps. Favorite programming topics include: viewing Corps survey and navigation hazard removal vessels, learning about the Marinship shipyard established after Pearl Harbor in 1941, studying geography with Humphrey the Whale, and participating in ocean research via the interactive JASON program and Project Transquest.

What our partners are saying: "The opportunity to share this incredible facility with the public is truly amazing! This is the only place where one can see the entire San Francisco Bay and Delta in a day. Our partnership with the Corps' Bay Model Visitor Center allows us to fill in essential functions that OMB funding neglects, such as advertising, public outreach, and volunteer recognition. As a nonprofit corporation, we are also able to apply for numerous grants to fund projects like the expansion of the bookstore and the building of a classroom. The educational programs that have been developed here have earned national recognition and awards. With recent changes at the Corps' Headquarters level, we are excited for the potential of expanding our partnership to even higher levels." – Gary Franklin, Bay Model Association

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