The Living Shoreline

Submitted by Linda Gass

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Client: City of East Palo Alto and Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District

Location: East Palo Alto, CA, United States

Completion date: 2019

Project Team

Lead artist and designer

Linda Gass

Linda Gass, Artist

Collaborator

East Palo Alto Community Services

City of East Palo Alto

Restoration expertise, community engagement

Junko Bryant

Grassroots Ecology

Overview

Community-engaged land art installation of native plant, Juncus, marking the former shoreline of San Francisco Bay at Cooley Landing Park in East Palo Alto. Between 1932-1960, the San Mateo County Dump filled in wetlands with garbage at this site. The location of the former shoreline was identified using the 1857 U.S. Coastal Survey Map of San Francisco Bay and Google Earth satellite images. Local community members and schoolchildren helped plant over 400 Juncus seedlings.

Goals

The goal of this project was to engage the community in a project that spoke to the history, current and future conditions of the site. Interpretive signage was installed to tell the story of the installation and encourage visitors to explore the meaning and the surrounding area.

Process

This project was a collaboration between the artist and government, non-profit and educational agencies. Permits were secured from both the City of East Palo Alto and the Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District. The artist collaborated with restoration non-profit Grassroots Ecology and the community to plant the Juncus. We worked with the San Mateo County Department of Education to involve local high school students and also worked with local community organizations to involve their members.