From Daily Republic
By Barry Eberling
FAIRFIELD - California is giving $500,000 to help build a nature/research center at the Rush Ranch open space preserve in Suisun Marsh.
The state Coastal Conservancy awarded the money at its Thursday meeting in Ventura. The money will be combined with $500,000 from the National Estuarine Research Reserve Center.
Construction could cost $1.2 million, Solano Land Trust Executive Director Marilyn Farley said. The Coastal Conservancy grant is a key piece.
"I won't say it's the final piece, but it's very close," Farley said.
She expects construction to begin this summer.
The 2,070-acre Rush Ranch is located on Grizzly Island Road a few miles south of Suisun City. It stretches from the tule-lined Suisun Marsh sloughs to grassy upland hills.
Researchers would be able to stay at the proposed nature center. The center would include exhibits on the research. It would have a classroom that could also be used for meetings and other gatherings.
Power for the nature center is to come from a wind turbine and solar panels, given that rural Rush Ranch has no electricity.
"For anyone who wants to understand the history of the North Bay marshlands or to enjoy their sights, sounds and smells, Rush Ranch is a must-visit," Coastal Conservancy Chairman Douglas Bosco said in a press release.
"The ranch's new nature center will serve many thousands of school children and others who would like to know more about this spectacular natural environment and the people who live there."
The Land Trust bought the land in 1988 with a $1.5 million Coastal Conservancy grant. Since then, the Coastal Conservancy has provided $400,000 for Rush Ranch improvement, not counting the nature center grant.
Reach Barry Eberling at 425-4646 Ext. 232 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.