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South Bay Salt Ponds Restoration Feasibility Assessment

Project Description:  

The purpose of this Feasibility Analysis was to provide a starting point for evaluating all topics relevant to the purchase and restoration of some or all of the South Bay salt ponds. To achieve this purpose, the study examined the suite of biological, physical, chemical, and economic issues relevant to restoring tidal marsh on the entire 26,000-acre South Bay salt pond complex as well as the smaller 15,000-acre Cargill sale area. We then integrated these data into a pond-by-pond restoration feasibility determination and developed a set of key conclusions pertinent to undertaking acquisition and restoration. This study is providing a foundation for initiating the technical aspects of salt pond restoration planning being undertaken by the California State Coastal Conservancy.

Wetland and Water Resources carried out this entire study. WWR collected nearly 200 technical supporting documents and spoke with about 40 individuals with knowledge about the salt ponds and restoration and management issues. WWR developed a GIS database for the South Bay salt ponds, gathering data from a variety of sources and using GIS tools and these data to understand the interaction of salt pond and South Bay attributes in affecting restoration feasibility. WWR carried out quantitative analyses to evaluate sediment deficits and pond desalination and management and their implications for restoration. Finally, WWR oversaw a professional graphic designer to prepare the report in a book format and as an on-line, downloadable report.

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