Avian Use of Salt Ponds Research
Hundreds of years ago, birds flying above the San Francisco Bay Area saw a Bay below them ringed by tidal marshes. Today, the Bay is ringed by buildings or colorful salt production ponds. Over the past 150 years, approximately 90 percent of historic tidal marsh has been eliminated in the San Francisco Bay through human activities, reducing waterbird habitat.
In 2003, state and federal agencies along with several private foundations purchased more than 15,000 acres of salt production evaporation ponds and in 2008, a collaboration of agencies and organizations started the South Bay Salt Pond Restoration Project, a 50 year endeavor to restore the ponds into a mix of tidal marsh and managed wetland ponds to support diverse species. Since then, we've conducted monthly salt pond surveys to understand how waterbirds use the ponds, before and during the Project. We share our data with our Project partners so they can create habitat that will support both pond-dependent and tidal marsh-dependent birds.