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San Francisco Bay Fund Inventory of Projects

San Francisco Bay Fund Inventory of Projects

Research on the Presence and Extent of Methylmercury in Bay Wetlands

Organization: US Geological Survey
2006 Grant Recipient – All Bay Area Counties


The design of this Grant was to establish a biogeochemical monitoring and research project in the tidal wetlands of South San Francisco Bay. The US Geological Survey’s intent was to provide biological data on how habitat specific modifications can be made to optimize the success of wetland restoration in the South Bay.

The restoration of former salt ponds to tidal marsh habitat provides a remarkable opportunity to support lost wetland habitat and ecosystem functions to the San Francisco Bay. Given historic mercury mining operations in the South Bay watershed, there is concern that reinstating tidal hydrologies to diked lands may also promote the methylation of sediment-bound mercury in the accumulated sediments of these former salt ponds.

Because plant presence has been found to promote mercury methylation in other wetland systems through the SF Bay, and because plant colonization and marsh development is a goal of marsh restoration, the researchers sought to specifically examine the relative influence of plant presence on sediment biogeochemistry and mercury methylation rates.


Contact for the Project

Lisamarie Windham-Myers
US Geological Survey
Phone: 650-329-4447
E-mail: LWindham@usgs.gov

Last modified: 8/15/2012 3:01 PM by S. Haren

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