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Returning Tides Transform Salt Ponds to Marshes
Just 18 months after receiving Recovery Act funding from NOAA, the South San Francisco Bay Salt Pond Restoration Project created 1,400 acres of habitat at Pond A8 by connecting the former salt pond to the tidal water of Alviso Slough.
Project partners and community members gathered near Alviso, Calif. to witness the opening of a newly-constructed tide gate, which allowed water to flow into the salt pond for the first time in decades. The tide gate controls the amount of water flowing into the newly restored pond.
The project created open water habitat for a variety of species, including threatened species of salmon and sturgeon and small prey fish. In time, the pond will likely become salt marsh, creating habitat for wildlife. This is especially important in San Francisco Bay, which has lost an estimated 85 percent of its historic wetlands to filling and development.
Restoration work at this site marks an important step in the South Bay Salt Pond Restoration Plan, the largest tidal wetland restoration effort on the West Coast. The goal of the overall project is to eventually transform more than 15,000 acres of industrial salt ponds into wetland habitat.
The opening of Pond A8 is part of a partnership between the NOAA, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the State Coastal Conservancy, the Santa Clara Valley Water District, and other local partners. The entire South Bay Salt Pond Restoration project received more than $7.6 million in Recovery Act funding form NOAA.