Water Resource Collections and Archives


San Francisco Bay Fund Inventory of Projects

San Francisco Bay Fund Inventory of Projects

Richardson Bay Eelgrass Restoration

Organization: Audubon California's Richardson Bay Audubon Center & Sanctuary
2006 and 2008 Grant Recipient - Marin County


Richardson Bay is critically important to tens of thousands of diving ducks, grebes, and other waterbirds who rely on the bay for roosting and feeding each winter. Richardson Bay is also well known for its annual winter herring runs that sustain a local fishery and provide a valuable food resource for wintering birds. There is concern that the long-term decline in bird numbers and herring in Richardson Bay and other parts of San Francisco Bay is linked to the decline in native eelgrass beds.

The Richardson Bay Audubon Center & Sanctuary conducted experiments supported by the San Francisco Foundation to help understand the best methods for eelgrass and native oyster restoration in the bay and whether oyster recruitment is facilitated by the presence of eelgrass. Our experiments demonstrated that transplanting adult eelgrass shoots, rather than sowing seeds, is a successful restoration strategy. Transplanted shoot survival rates at six months were the same in plots adjacent to existing eelgrass beds and in mudflat plots free of eelgrass. We also found that artificial shell reefs are key components of successful native oyster restoration efforts. Placement of these reefs within the Bay should greatly increase native oyster populations. Our results will inform future restoration efforts in San Francisco Bay.


Contact for the Project
Brooke Langston
Center Director
Richardson Bay Audubon Center & Sanctuary
Phone: (415) 388-2524
Website: http://www.tiburonaudubon.org/conserve_eelgrass.html

Quick Links

Project Photos

Map of eelgrass restoration site
Richardson Bay Audubon Center
Eelgrass Restoration Project, 2009-10

Audubon staff and a volunteer deploying an oyster shell sampling bag in the eelgrass bed. Other sampling bags were placed in mudflat areas free of eelgrass to determine which location resulted in higher oyster settlement.

Eelgrass in Richardson Bay.

Last modified: 4/19/2012 9:58 AM by S. Haren

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