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Photo: Russ Juskalian
Restoring Ravenswood Pond is part of Phase One actions of the South Bay Salt Pond Restoration Project – the largest restoration project on the West Coast. Owned and managed by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (USFWS), Ravenswood Pond is located at the southwestern side of the Dumbarton Bridge and part of the Don Edwards National Wildlife Refuge.
This 240-acre former salt pond plays a critical role in the design of future Bay restoration projects. The USFWS is reconfiguring 155 acres into a managed pond with nesting islands and shallow water habitat for shorebirds and ducks. This experimental managed restoration project will test the success of nesting birds on these artificial islands to help guide future restoration in adjacent ponds, using lessons learned from this project Bay-wide. The remaining 85 acres of mudflat will be preserved as a nesting and roosting site for threatened snowy plovers. This project also includes more miles of the Bay Trail , as well as two viewing platforms for visitors.
Previously used for salt production, the Ravenswood area is a critical piece of the largest wetlands restoration project on the West Coast. In 2003, Cargill Inc. sold 9600 acres at the southwestern side of the Dumbarton Bridge, including Ravenswood Pond to USFWS.
Know your Plover
The western snowy plover is a shorebird that inhabits coastal and lake shores. The Pacific population of this tiny bird was federally listed in 1993 as a threatened species. Drastic declines in their population over the last half a century can mainly be attributed to loss of habitat and increased predation. A 2007 recovery plan plans to bring the population from approximately 1500 breeding birds to 3000.
The Ravenswood mudflats are an ideal location for snowy plovers to thrive as they prefer unvegetated habitat with a 360 degree view of their surroundings. Beachgoers may spot snowy plovers near kelp or roosting together in mudflats or sand bars. The snowy plover pecks food off of the ground, usually without sticking its bill into the sand and can be distinguished by its "run-stop-run" behavior.
Save The Bay Restores Ravenswood Pond
Save The Bay, in cooperation with the USFWS, will revegetate the northern, western, and eastern shorelines with tidal marsh and upland grassland native plants that once bloomed in this area of the Bay. In preparation for planting in winter 2011, Save The Bay’s volunteers are removing trash from adjacent areas that blows in from the neighboring freeway. Vegetating buffer zones along the perimeter of this larger restored project will help protect breeding shorebirds from predators and discourage chicks from wandering into adjacent traffic.
Long-term goals for this site include:
- Removing invasive weeds after the first phase of construction are complete
- Plant native wetland species to improve food source availability
- Decrease erosion on banks of surrounding ponds and provide habitat refuge for snowy plover fledglings