KCBS_740 SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS) — Bay Area residents have voted to pay for bay marsh restoration with a parcel tax in the first-ever nine-county ballot measure.

Measure AA calls for a 20-year, $12 per parcel tax to be collected in the 2017 tax season. It passed with more than a two-thirds vote, 69 to 31 percent.

READ MORE: Santa Clara Shoe Store Ransacked in Late Night Smash-and-Grab Robbery

Now that voters have passed the $500 million parcel tax, environmental groups are racing to come up with plans and permits for shoreline restoration projects.

Wetland restoration projects have been on the backburners for decades, waiting for funding. David Lewis of Save The Bay told KCBS that Measure AA’s funds could be handed out as soon as 2018.

“These Measure AA funds will be a huge infusion of cash to make that work happen faster,” Lewis said.

Lewis said that many very visible spots along the Bay’s shore will be transformed over the next 10 years.

READ MORE: Niles Canyon Road Between Fremont, Sunol To Be Closed Over Weekend For Construction

“Many people fly in to San Francisco’s airport over the salt ponds in the South Bay that are no longer making salt, but they’re still just shallow ponds of water. Over the next decade, many of those areas will be transformed into lush tidal marsh that benefits fish and wildlife, that provides access for people who want to get out and enjoy the open space on the shoreline,” Lewis said.

The restoration projects will also help protect infrastructure like freeways, sewage treatment plants, and airport runways from future flooding.

“These tidal marsh restoration projects are all around the Bay, waiting to happen,” Lewis said.

 

MORE NEWS: Mayor Schaaf Pushes to Reverse Oakland’s Police Cuts During Spike In Violence