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Open-File Report 2014–1263

The Critical Role of Islands for Waterbird Breeding and Foraging Habitat in Managed Ponds of the South Bay Salt Pond Restoration Project, South San Francisco Bay, California

By Joshua T. Ackerman, C. Alex Hartman, Mark P. Herzog, Lacy M. Smith, Stacy M. Moskal, Susan E.W. De La Cruz, Julie L. Yee, and John Y. Takekawa

Thumbnail of and link to report PDF (5.3 MB)Excecutive Summary

The South Bay Salt Pond Restoration Project aims to restore 50–90 percent of former salt evaporation ponds into tidal marsh in South San Francisco Bay, California. However, large numbers of waterbirds use these ponds annually as nesting and foraging habitat. Islands within ponds are particularly important habitat for nesting, foraging, and roosting waterbirds. To maintain current waterbird populations, the South Bay Salt Pond Restoration Project plans to create new islands within former salt ponds in South San Francisco Bay. In a series of studies, we investigated pond and individual island attributes that are most beneficial to nesting, foraging, and roosting waterbirds.

First posted December 31, 2014

For additional information, contact:
Director, Western Ecological Research Center
U.S. Geological Survey
3020 State University Drive East
Sacramento, California 95819

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Suggested citation:

Ackerman, J.T., Hartman, C.A., Herzog, M.P., Smith, L.M., Moskal, S.M., De La Cruz, S.E.W., Yee, J.L., and Takekawa, J.Y., 2014, The critical role of islands for waterbird breeding and foraging habitat in managed ponds of the South Bay Salt Pond Restoration Project, South San Francisco Bay, California: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2014-1263, 108 p.,

ISSN 2331-1258 (online)


Executive Summary


Study Area

Using Historical Nesting Data to Model the Effects of Pond and Island Attributes That Influence Waterbird Nest Abundance and Nest Success

Using GPS Technology to Model Waterbird Nest-Site Selection at Island Patch and Microhabitat Scales

Factors Influencing Wintering Waterbird Abundance on Created Islands in Pond SF2

Importance of Islands for Wintering Waterbirds Using Managed Ponds


Unpublished References

References Cited

Appendix 1. AIC Tables for Pond and Grid Scale Analyses of the Importance of Islands for Foraging and Roosting Waterbirds

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