|View the PDF version|
Known today as Lake Merritt and located in the middle of the City of Oakland, this salt water wetlands area was originally an estuary of San Francisco Bay and the hunting and fishing grounds of the Ohlone Indians, prior to 1810, when their removal to Mission San Jose was completed. The City of Oakland was founded in 1852 and the estuary became its sewage treatment system until 1869 when Dr. Samuel Merritt, Mayor of Oakland, promoted the idea of a separate sewage treatment system and personally funded the construction of a dam to control the water at a higher level with a greater percentage of fresh water content from the surrounding streams. Merritt was also successful in lobbying the State of California to declare the newly created lake a state wildlife refuge in 1870, making it the first official wildlife refuge in North America. As part of a $198.5 million bond measure focused on waterfront improvements around the City of Oakland which was passed in 2002, the 3.4 mile circumference of the lake is being improved with a pathway system paved with solar reflective NaturalPAVE XL Resin Pavement surfacing and the Lake Merritt dam is scheduled to be demolished as part of a construction project that will restore the natural tidal flows from San Francisco Bay via the Oakland Estuary.