Presentation Abstract

The San Francisco Bay (SFB), like many other urbanized estuaries, is a critical wintering and stop-over area for migratory waterbirds. More than a million wintering waterbirds annually rely on a mosaic of natural and managed habitats in SFB, including former salt ponds. The South Bay Salt Pond Restoration Project plans restore 50 to 90% of a 6,100 hectare former salt production pond complex to tidal marsh, while maintaining the rest as foraging and roosting areas for migratory birds. Since 2002, we have evaluated migratory waterbird use of pre- and post-restoration salt ponds in south SFB. Our approach has been to use monthly surveys, applied studies and modeling to evaluate avian response to this changing habitat. Trend analyses indicate that overall waterbird numbers have nearly doubled across the complex from 2003-2014. Dabbling ducks increased significantly during initial phases of the project, while diving ducks, small and medium shorebird abundances declined initially, but rebounded in recent years. We modeled relationships between abundances of multiple species and habitat characteristics at both landscape and micro-scales. Modeling results suggest that the importance of different habitat characteristics varies among waterbird guilds. For example, foraging diving duck abundances were higher in deep, un-breached ponds, located close to the edge of SFB, while foraging small shorebirds predominated in shallow, breached ponds containing islands. Our research highlights important habitat characteristics both within and across wetland areas, and provides a unique opportunity to guide future management and restoration decisions for multiple species across large landscapes in SFB and other urbanized estuaries.

Session Title

Shorebird Monitoring in the Salish Sea

Keywords

Shorebirds, Wetland restoration

Conference Track

SSE7: Monitoring: Species and Habitats

Conference Name

Salish Sea Ecosystem Conference (Seattle, WA : 2018)

Document Type

Event

SSEC Identifier

SSE7-660

Start Date

4-4-2018 4:30 PM

End Date

4-4-2018 4:45 PM

Type of Presentation

Oral

Contributing Repository

Digital content made available by University Archives, Heritage Resources, Western Libraries, Western Washington University.

Geographic Coverage

Salish Sea (B.C. and Wash.)

Rights

This resource is displayed for educational purposes only and may be subject to U.S. and international copyright laws. For more information about rights or obtaining copies of this resource, please contact University Archives, Heritage Resources, Western Libraries, Western Washington University, Bellingham, WA 98225-9103, USA (360-650-7534; heritage.resources@wwu.edu) and refer to the collection name and identifier. Any materials cited must be attributed to the Salish Sea Ecosystem Conference Records, University Archives, Heritage Resources, Western Libraries, Western Washington University.

Type

text

Language

English

Format

application/pdf

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Apr 4th, 4:30 PM Apr 4th, 4:45 PM

Waterbird monitoring and habitat association modeling to inform tidal marsh restoration in an urbanized estuary

The San Francisco Bay (SFB), like many other urbanized estuaries, is a critical wintering and stop-over area for migratory waterbirds. More than a million wintering waterbirds annually rely on a mosaic of natural and managed habitats in SFB, including former salt ponds. The South Bay Salt Pond Restoration Project plans restore 50 to 90% of a 6,100 hectare former salt production pond complex to tidal marsh, while maintaining the rest as foraging and roosting areas for migratory birds. Since 2002, we have evaluated migratory waterbird use of pre- and post-restoration salt ponds in south SFB. Our approach has been to use monthly surveys, applied studies and modeling to evaluate avian response to this changing habitat. Trend analyses indicate that overall waterbird numbers have nearly doubled across the complex from 2003-2014. Dabbling ducks increased significantly during initial phases of the project, while diving ducks, small and medium shorebird abundances declined initially, but rebounded in recent years. We modeled relationships between abundances of multiple species and habitat characteristics at both landscape and micro-scales. Modeling results suggest that the importance of different habitat characteristics varies among waterbird guilds. For example, foraging diving duck abundances were higher in deep, un-breached ponds, located close to the edge of SFB, while foraging small shorebirds predominated in shallow, breached ponds containing islands. Our research highlights important habitat characteristics both within and across wetland areas, and provides a unique opportunity to guide future management and restoration decisions for multiple species across large landscapes in SFB and other urbanized estuaries.