Thursday, February 4, 2010

Eden Landing - it's for the birds

By Megan Kelso, Restoration Field Educator

As part of the South Bay Salt Ponds Restoration Project, Save The Bay is working to restore more than 600 acres of tidal wetlands at Eden Landing Ecological Reserve on the eastern shore of San Francisco Bay in Hayward. This effort, part of Save The Bay’s partnership with the California Department of Fish and Game (CDFG), will involve thousands of volunteers in hands-on restoration and stewardship projects to improve habitat.

To give you a bit of history, Save The Bay worked for decades to secure public ownership of the salt production ponds in South San Francisco Bay, which was accomplished in 2003. Since 2006, Save The Bay has been restoring and enhancing habitat at Eden Landing, helping to advance the largest wetland restoration project in the history of the Bay. The goal of the project is to replenish the Bay ecosystem, provide recreation opportunities for residents who historically have been walled off from the Bay shoreline and increase valuable habitat for endangered waterfowl, shorebirds and fish.

We are currently working along a levee that borders a former salt pond that has recently been opened back up to tidal action. Planting native seedlings here creates habitat for the thousands of birds that use this haven for feeding and nesting during the winter. On any given day one can see great egrets, godwits, sanderlings, willets, black-necked stilts and long-billed curlews.

Eden Landing is a birder's paradise, especially since millions of migratory birds on the Pacific Flyway stop to refuel in the wetlands of San Francisco Bay before continuing their long journey. Accessing this site before was tricky, but in the last few months Eden Landing has opened up public trails, so residents and Bay enthusiasts can now stroll along the shoreline and check out the wildlife.

And what's more, Save the Bay is expanding its project site to include a new section of the recently breached levee. Our first plantings went in at the end of last year, which means we are now actively working to restore and enhance 30 acres of habitat at this site. And this is good news because, well, more habitat is for the birds.

Click here to learn more about our Community-based Restoration program.

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