Water Resource Collections and Archives


San Francisco Bay Fund Inventory of Projects

San Francisco Bay Fund Inventory of Projects

Tidal Marsh Restoration at San Pablo Bay

Organization: Audubon California's Richardson Bay Audubon Center & Sanctuary
2009 Grant Recipient - Sonoma County


Audubon California completed a tidal marsh enhancement project at Lower Tubbs Island and Tolay Creek within the San Pablo Bay National Wildlife Refuge to simultaneously and strategically enhance habitat, improve water quality, reduce pesticide application, reduce mosquito production, buffer against climate change, and save costs to local taxpayers through reduced mosquito control measures. We increased tidal circulation to enhance habitat for marsh dependent species while reducing mosquito production in stagnant water and shallow, unvegetated, ponded areas; improved existing marsh channel habitats and created new ones for the benefit of state and federally listed species: California Clapper Rail, Black Rail, salt-marsh harvest mouse; migratory shorebirds and breeding songbirds. Initial results of our post-construction monitoring suggest that we have increased the resiliency of the project site to climate change effects such as sea level rise by encouraging the natural marsh-building processes of vegetation growth and sediment deposition.

Through this project we transformed existing, but degraded, marshlands that required mosquito management into enhanced habitat for a fraction of the cost of traditional wetlands restoration projects. Our data and comparison to a control site exhibit initial successes: wildlife and vegetation are responding positively and mosquito numbers have reduced dramatically, and mosquito treatments have not been necessary. This project is particularly significant because it demonstrated an innovative approach to enhance a tidal wetland that had not been applied before in San Francisco Bay. If the restoration is as successful as we expect, this approach could be applied to thousands of acres of tidal marshes in similar condition throughout the bay.

Contact for the Project
Andrea Jones
Project Director
Phone: (805) 772-1995
Website: http://ca.audubon.org/habitat_SF_SanPabloBay.php

Quick Links

Project Photos

Construction day at Tubbs Island, breaking of a levee for the first time in approximately 100 years to increase tidal action in a ponded area. Photo by Andrea Jones.

October 2008. Crews of volunteers plant native plants in the “upland transition zone” along the edges of ponds and levees. Photo by Mike Perlmutter.

June 2010. This is an old borrow ditch at Tubbs Island that we reconnected to the perimeter ditch. The rectangular channel in the foreground was dug as part of the restoration project. The narrow, sinuous channel (within the mudflat) in the distance has formed on its own since tidal inundation returned. Photo by Dan Gillenwater.

Last modified: 4/19/2012 9:59 AM by S. Haren

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