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Applied and Directed Studies Science Program. Lead Scientist Laura Valoppi Lead Scientist. Wetlands Monitoring Group May 4, 2010. Key Uncertainties. Sediment - Is there sufficient sediment available in the S Bay to support marsh development?

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Applied and Directed Studies

Science Program

Lead Scientist

Laura Valoppi

Lead Scientist

Wetlands Monitoring Group May 4, 2010


Key uncertainties l.jpg
Key Uncertainties

Sediment - Is there sufficient sediment available in the S Bay to support marsh development?

Bird Use – Can the existing # and diversity of Mig and breeding birds still be supported?

Other species – How to restore tidal areas to benefit non-avian species in marshes and adjacent water bodies?


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Key Uncertainties

Mercury – Will Hg be mobilized into the food web of F Bay at a greater rate than before?

Water Quality – How will ponds affect water quality, and food web in S Bay?

Invasive Species – Invasive Spartina, corvids, CA Gulls, etc.

Public Use – will trails and other public access negatively affect wildlife species?



Projecting change in san francisco bay development of a suntans hydrodynamic model l.jpg
Projecting Change in San Francisco Bay: development of a SUNTANS hydrodynamic model

Will produce scenarios based on management changes - including restoration

Produced model grid from bathymetric data

Calibrated the hydrodynamic model (salinity, currents, tides) and did successful coarse and fine grid simulations.

In process of developing a sediment transport component of the model.

Also will be modeling climate change

Grid with avg. resolution 25 m


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WetlandSediment Dynamics at the Island Ponds

Final Report available on website

  • Ponds accumulate sediment at a rapid rate: > 200 mm in 2-3 years in some areas

  • Plant recruitment is occurring at higher elevations within Pond A21


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Water Quality: Refuge Alviso Ponds

  • Installed continuous monitoring (Datasondes in A2W, A3W and A7 in July 2008)

  • Two week surveys for DO and other parameters in A3W, A16, A14

  • Receiving water in Alviso and Guadalupe Sloughs

  • Preliminary Results: DO < 3.3 mg/L at times in A3W, A7.

  • DO sometimes low in slough water entering ponds, so pond water discharges further deplete DO, but not always


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Analysis and mapping of salt pond bird use

Winter 2006

1 dot = 50 grebes

salinity (psu)

2009 Report available on website

  • 421,939 birds observed

  • Bird distributions related to salinity and water depth

  • Continue monitoring ponds as restoration proceeds

Example: Eared Grebes and Salinity

Report due end of 2009


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1990-1992 and 2006-2008 San Francisco Bay shorebird censusanalysis

  • ~343,000 shorebirds

  • Most species have similar counts as prior years

  • Some sp. exceptions with lower #s

  • San Pablo Bay and South SF Bay had majority of shorebirds

  • In process of analyzing data for trends and distribution shifts.

  • Summary report available on website


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Snowy Plover Studies

  • Population dynamics

    • Overall # decreasing since 2007,

    • though # of nests increasing

    • Nesting success decreasing due to hatching going down…predation increasing

    • Fledging success 24.8% in 2009

  • Shell plot experiment:

    • hatch success, nest densities;

    • predation

  • Nest cameras and avian predators – 8 events


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Request for Proposals (RFP) October 2008

  • Measuring Habitat Evolution Utilizing Satellite Imagery

  • Assessment of Mercury Bioavailability

  • Waterbird Nesting and Foraging in Managed Ponds

  • Waterbird Response to Trail Use

  • Pond, Slough, and Bay Water Quality Interactions

  • Baseline Bird Data and Data Needs Assessment

  • Effects of Restoration on Fish

  • California Gull Displacement Study

  • Open Call for Graduate Fellows


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Topic 1 Habitat Evolution

Chris Benton Photos

Awarded to Brian Fullfrost of Design,

Community and Environment

  • Satellite imagery (IKONOS at 1 m resolution) and field mapping to track changes in mud flats, channel formation, and vegetation changes in project area.

  • Develop habitat models for the image characteristics and ground truth models and refine.

  • Link to formation of habitat types supporting listed species (e.g. pickleweed).


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Topic 1 Habitat Evolution

Awarded to John Callaway of University of San Francisco

Continue vegetation studies at Pond A21

Begin sediment accumulation studies at Pond A6 using same techniques as at Pond A21 (sediment pins and modified filter paper method)

Record vegetation at each pin location and mark with GPS to verify plant species with satellite imagery.

Chris Benton Photos


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Topic 2 Mercury Bioavailability

Awarded to Collin Eagles-Smith of USGS, in cooperation with SFEI and UC Davis

  • Mercury analysis of:

    • Waterbird eggs in various ponds

    • Fish samples in ponds and sloughs

    • Water column and sediment in ponds and sloughs

  • Focus will be breaching of Pond A8, but other nearby ponds and sloughs included

  • Product will be to monitor changes in mercury with restoration


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Topic 3 Waterbird nesting and foraging in ponds

Awarded to Josh Ackerman of USGS in cooperation with SFBBO

  • Will quantify the benefits of islands within ponds

  • Will identify the characteristics of islands that enhance bird use

  • Studies at Ponds A12, A16, and SF2

    (where islands will be created)

  • Three reference sites

  • Response of nesting birds at SF2 to trail use


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Topic 4 Waterbird response to trail use

Awarded to Lynne Trulio of SJSU in cooperation with USGS, & Sokale Environmental Planning

  • Will study response of shorebirds and waterfowl to human trail use, and effectiveness of buffer distances by species (E12/13, SF2, other locations).

  • Response of nesting snowy plovers to trail use/no use at several ponds.

  • Trail User Satisfaction Study


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Topic 5 Water Quality Interactions

Awarded to Jan

Thompson of USGS

Goal is to evaluate how the benthic invert community has changed in response to restoration actions.

Use already collected benthic samples from 1993-1995 (pre-restoration) and 2006-2008 (after restoration started).

Will evaluate differences in grazing rate, abundance, community structure in pre- and post-restoration samples


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Topic 6 Baseline Bird Data

Develop database of existing bird survey data

Synthesize existing survey data to establish baseline numbers, trends, and nest success.

Awarded to Mark Herzog of PRBO

Develop a data needs/gaps assessment

Develop a pond carrying capacity model for 4 waterbirds based on food resources & bird habitat


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Topic 7 Fish Assemblages

Awarded to James Hobbs of UC Davis

  • Will monitor the effects of restoration on fish species in salt ponds

  • Will sample fish at several locations in the project area over 2-1/2 years (ponds being restored to tidal action and nearby slough/channels)

  • Determine fish community composition

  • Will monitor a sentinel fish species for

    health (condition, growth, reproduction)

    and survival.


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Topic 8 California gull displacement

Awarded to Josh Ackerman USGS in cooperation with SFBBO, & H.T. Harvey and Associates

  • Will assess how gulls will affect the restoration success

  • Gull impact on breeding snowy plovers

  • Gull impact on breeding Forster’s terns

  • Gull movement after breach at A6

  • Gull colony surveys to estimate population size


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Topic 9 – Graduate Fellowships

Nicole Athearn (UCD) – Develop a model to estimate waterbird abundance based on pond habitat conditions using 4 species (WESA, AMAV, RUDU, NOSH)

Ariel Rowan (SFSU) – Develop a mudflat carrying capacity model for shorebirds based on energetics.

Cory Overton (UCD) – Evaluate California clapper rail population dynamics, survival, and recruitment

Gavin Archbald (SFSU) – Monitor invasive Algerian sea lavender through remote imagery and ground truthing.


South bay salt pond restoration project science information reports and presentations available at l.jpg
South Bay Salt Pond Restoration Project Science information, reports, and presentations available at:

http://www.southbayrestoration.org/science/


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