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South Bay Salt Ponds

South Bay Salt Pond Restoration Feasibility Analysis, 1999 -2002

Collaborating Organizations:

Wetlands and Water Resources

Funding Organization:

Wetlands and Water Resources, Save San Francisco Bay Association, California State Coastal Conservancy, Citizens Committee to Complete the Refuge

Project Description:

This project was a collaborative project between Dr. Philip Bachand, founder of Bachand & Associates and Dr. Stuart Siegel, founder of Wetlands and Water Resources.  This analysis provided a starting point for evaluating all topics relevant to the purchase and restoration of some or all of the South Bay salt ponds, examining the suite of biological, physical, chemical, and economic issues relevant to restoring tidal marsh on the entire 26,000-acre South Bay salt pond complex as well as the smaller 15,000-acre Cargill sale area and integrating these data into a pond-by-pond restoration feasibility determination. From these analyses, we developed a set of key conclusions pertinent to undertaking acquisition and restoration. This study has provided a foundation for initiating the technical aspects of salt pond restoration planning being undertaken by the California State Coastal Conservancy. 

For this project, we collected nearly 200 technical supporting documents and spoke with about 40 individuals with knowledge about the salt ponds and restoration and management issues. Wetlands and Water Resources developed a GIS database for the South Bay salt ponds, gathering data from a variety of sources and using GIS tools and these data to understand the interaction of salt pond and South Bay attributes in affecting restoration feasibility. The report quantitatively estimated sediment deficits and pond desalination, and presented cost estimates for various restoration scenarios. 

The full project report is available at Wetlands and Water Resources or can be ordered from Bachand & Associates.

Publications and Final Reports

Siegel, S.W. and P.A.M. Bachand.  2001.  Ecological Restoration of Salt Ponds in South San Francisco Bay – A Feasibility Analysis.  Wetlands and Water Resources, San Rafael, CA.  20 June.   (Publicly available from Wetlands and Water Resources, Inc.). (Peer reviewed)