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Presidio Begins Milestone Watershed Restoration Project

Quartermaster Reach Marsh project to restore acres of wetlands.


San Francisco, CA (August 05, 2019) – In September, the Presidio Trust breaks ground on one of its most transformative environmental restoration projects to date—replacing seven acres of asphalt and highway construction debris adjacent to Crissy Field with beautiful new marshland.

The project will link the national park’s largest watershed — known as Tennessee Holl​​ow — to San Francisco Bay through Crissy Marsh, creating a new destination known as Quartermaster Reach. It is the latest step in a 20-year effort by the Presidio Trust, the Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy, and the Golden Gate National Recreation Area to return streams once moved underground by the Army back to the surface, creating precious habitat for native plants and wildlife as well as up-close experiences of nature for visitors.

“The restoration of Quartermaster Reach is a game changer for the Presidio. It along with the Tunnel Tops and other restoration projects along the park’s northern waterfront will improve the health of the bay shoreline, increase biodiversity in the park, and give our visitors unprecedented access to wildlife, nature and views all within our city limits,” says Michael Boland, Chief Park Development and Visitor Engagement Officer for the Presidio Trust.

Creating Habitat

The Quartermaster Reach project brings an 850-foot length of buried stream back above ground through excavation. Large box culverts will be installed beneath Mason Street to allow the fresh waters of Tennessee Hollow to meet the salty waters of San Francisco Bay, creating brackish marsh habitat that enables native species to thrive. Efforts include using construction materials conducive to growth of the Olympic oyster larvae, hoping to see that species return. Staff and volunteers will plant 40 different species of saltmarsh and dune plants grown in the Presidio Nursery. Common examples include Fleshy jaumea (Jaumea carnosa), Sea milkwort (Lysimachia maritima) and Alkali bulrus (Bolboschoenus maritimus). This habitat encourages the return of wildlife in the Presidio, which is an urban biodiversity hot spot, currently hosting 323 species of birds, mammals, reptiles, amphibians, insects, and fish.

In a move sure to be popular with birders and naturalists, the existing Tennessee Hollow Trail will extend through the area .25 miles, welcoming visitors to traverse the entire length of the watershed from El Polin Springs to the San Francisco Bay, and west on a new bridge over the marsh, under Highway 1 to Crissy Field. The reach will expand the current marsh habitat for migrating shorebirds like plovers, dowitchers, Greater Yellowlegs, willets, curlews, and sandpipers, as well as ducks such as Ruddy Ducks, Greater Scaup, Lesser Scaup, and Red-Breasted Mergansers.


Quartermaster Reach begins in September 2019, for six months. A section of Mason Street at Crissy Field will be closed during construction, with detours for vehicles, walkers, and bicyclists to other destinations at Crissy Field. Opening day for Quartermaster Reach is expected in spring 2020.

About Tennessee Hollow Watershed

The Presidio’s Tennessee Hollow Watershed’s creek system comprises three tributaries that converge at MacArthur Meadow. The stream, dubbed Petlenuc Creek, then continues north in a single channel through a variety of habitats, ultimately emptying into Crissy Marsh and San Francisco Bay. For centuries, people used this creek system as a water source, beginning with the native Ohlone and later Spanish settlers. Over time, the militaries of Spain, Mexico, and the United States substantially altered where and how the creeks flow, creating dams and wells, and ultimately forced the water underground into pipes to create dry land for building. Restoration of the Tennessee Hollow Watershed began in the late 1990s at the headwaters near Inspiration Point. Major revitalization projects have included the restoration of Crissy Marsh (2001), Thompson Reach (2005/2006), El Polín Spring (2010/2011), YMCA Reach (2013/2014), Quartermaster Riparian (2014/2015), and MacArthur Meadow (2015/2017). After Quartermaster Reach (2020), the final sections to be restored are the Eastern Tributary (under Morton Field) and Central Tributary (between El Polin and MacArthur Meadow).

Project Support

The restoration of Quartermaster Reach is made possible through the support of the EPA through the San Francisco Bay Water Quality Improvement Fund, the San Francisco International Airport wetlands mitigation agreement, the National Park Service, the Evelyn and Walter Haas, Jr. Fund, and the David L. Davies Fund of the Weeden Foundation. Generous members of the public have made substantial donations in other areas of the Watershed, through the Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy.

About the Presidio Trust

The Presidio Trust is an innovative federal agency created to save the Presidio and employ a partnership approach to transform it into a new kind of national park. Spanning 1,500 acres in a spectacular setting at the Golden Gate, the Presidio now operates without taxpayer support, is home to a community of residents and organizations, and offers unique recreation, hospitality, and educational programs to people throughout the San Francisco Bay Area and the world. To learn more, visit

About the Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy

The Parks Conservancy is the nonprofit membership organization that supports the Golden Gate National Parks — the most-visited unit in the national park system in the United States. Since 1981, the Parks Conservancy has provided over $550 million in support to the parks, rallied more than 275,000 volunteers, and pioneered innovative park stewardship and education programs. The Conservancy’s work is made possible through the dedication of its members and donors; contributions from foundations, businesses, public agencies, and generous individuals, as well as earned income from the operation of park stores, cafes, and tours. Learn more at or call (415) 561-3000.

About the Golden Gate National Recreation Area

Golden Gate National Recreation Area, situate​d in and around San Francisco, is the most visited park in the National Park Service, hosting more than 15 million visitors in 2018. A diverse park with abundant recreational opportunities, as well as natural, cultural, and scenic resources, it encompasses more than 80,000 acres across three counties. The park also administers two other NPS areas, Fort Point National Historic Site, a Civil War era fortress built on the northernmost point of land in San Francisco, and Muir Woods National Monument, which comprises an impressive stand of old growth coastal redwoods in Marin County.

Contact Us

Presidio Trust Media Relations

Lisa Petrie

(415) 264-7787


Press Release PDF >>

Tennessee Hollow Watershed Restoration Fact Sheet >>