The San Francisco Bay region is an important ecological, economic and cultural center in California, but its services in each of these areas have been dramatically altered in the past one hundred and fifty years. Since the 1980's Point Blue has been working with partners and the public to improve conservation and health of the vital wetlands and other habitats that remain around the Bay.
From on the ground data collection to determining the status and threats of Tidal Marsh songbirds, nesting seabirds, and populations of Ridgway's Rails, to developing cutting edge tools in sea level rise and the effects of climate change, Point Blue is committed to invest in the restoration and stewardship of this vital region.
Today Point Blue's science seeks to help the wetlands and streams of the SF Bay thrive and adapt to rising sea levels, extreme storms, and other changes in land use. The result will be healthy populations of birds and other wildlife, and an ecosystem that can provide important benefits to people (flood control, water filtration, etc.) into the future.
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Point Blue designs and conducts long-term monitoring programs to detect, analyze, and attribute the effects of rapid environmental change on wildlife population viability and the efficacy of restoration and other management activities. Some examples of this work are:
San Francisco Bay node of the Pacific Flyway Shorebird Survey
The Pacific Flyway Shorebird Survey is a coordinated multi-partner monitoring program led by Point Blue Conservation Science designed to guide the management and conservation of wintering shorebirds in the Pacific Flyway. The San Francisco Bay is a key survey area as it provides habitat for more migrating and wintering shorebirds than any other coastal wetland on the U.S. Pacific coast south of Alaska.
Visit the project website here to learn more, explore results and get inolved.
Tidal Salt Marsh Songbird and Secretive Marsh Bird Monitoring
Since 1996 Point Blue has been assessing tidal marsh songbird species’ status and trends throughout San Francisco Bay. We share this information for managers to imrove conservation outcomes. We are also involved with monitoring secretive marsh birds such as the Black Rail and endangered Ridgway's Rail and informing management to conserve the species and their habitats. View some of our results in the 2011 State of the Birds San Francisco Bay report. Download additional reports and journal articles here.
South Bay Salt Pond Restoration Involvement
Throughout the world, coastal salt ponds provide habitat for large numbers and diversities of waterbirds. San Francisco Bay contains the most important coastal salt pond complexes for waterbirds in the United States, supporting more than a million waterbirds through the year.
In 2002 Point Blue engaged in a large effort led by the State Coastal Conservancy in South San Francisco Bay to restore salt ponds used for commercial salt harvest to wildlife habitat.
Point Blue provided and continues to offer expert conservation management recommendations based on a robust history of San Francisco Bay tidal marsh and waterbird monitoring dating back to the 1980's. Download additional reports and journal articles here
Double-crested Cormorant Monitoring on Bay Bridges
Double-crested Cormorants have been breeding on the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge and the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge since the 1980's. These man-made structures have hosted the largest colonies of this species in the Bay for several years. However, new bridge construction, bridge maintenance activities, and recent declines in forage fish populations have led to drastic declines in both of the colonies.
Since 1988, Point Blue has collaborated with other organizations and agencies to study this species in order to investigate breeding phenology, abundance, distribution, and breeding success; understand recent declines of Double-crested Cormorants at these bridges as well as their regional population trends; and aid the California Department of Transportation to conduct construction and maintenance activities with minimal effects to birds. Download additional reports and journal articles here
Least Tern Monitoring
Since 2000, Point Blue has been involved in studies of the federally and state listed, endangered California Least Tern colony that began breeding at the Naval Air Station in Alameda, California in 1976. Currently, Point Blue concentrates on studying Least Tern diet and foraging. The Bay is an important fish spawning area and nursery, and the Least Tern (a small fish-eating bird) can provide information on the timing of spawning and relative abundances of different fish species.
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A strong education component is essential to Point Blue's mission and our work around the San Francisco Bay. By engaging children, interns, volunteers and the public in restoration and education programming, we inspire the current and next generations to act as life-long stewards of the environment.
Key education projects around the San Francisco Bay estuary include several STRAW (Students and Teachers Restoring A Watershed) programs:
- BEAC (Bird Education and Awareness in Communities),
- Hamilton Wetlands Restoration and programming, and
- Sonoma Baylands Restoration and programming
Visit our STRAW Project Page to learn more about these estuary restoration education efforts.
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Point Blue uses long-term data sets and innovative techniques to create tools that help our partners make informed decisions about adaptation planning, restoration potential, and land acquisition. They include:
- An interactive Sea Level Rise Tool
- The State of the Birds San Francisco Bay 2011 Report
- Resources and Recommendations for various audiences and habitats
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