The conversion of 50–90 percent of 15,100 acres of former salt evaporation ponds to tidal marsh habitat in the south San Francisco Bay, California, is planned as part of the South Bay Salt Pond Restoration Project. This large-scale habitat restoration may change the bioavailability of methylmercury. The South Bay already is known to have high methylmercury concentrations, with methylmercury concentrations in several waterbirds species more than known toxicity thresholds where avian reproduction is impaired. In this 2013 study, we continued monitoring bird egg mercury concentrations in response to the restoration of the Pond A8/A7/A5 Complex to a potential tidal marsh in the future. The restoration of the Pond A8/A7/A5 Complex began in autumn 2010, and the Pond A8 Notch was opened 5 feet (one of eight gates) to muted tidal action on June 1, 2011, and then closed in the winter. In autumn 2010, internal levees between Ponds A8, A7, and A5 were breached and water depths were substantially increased by flooding the Pond A8/A7/A5 Complex in February 2011. In June 2012, 15 feet (three of eight gates) of the Pond A8 Notch was opened, and then closed in December 2012. In June 2013, 15 feet of the Pond A8 Notch again was opened, and the Pond A8/A7/A5 Complex was a relatively deep and large pond with muted tidal action in the summer. This report synthesizes waterbird data from the 2013 breeding season, and combines it with our prior study’s data from 2010 and 2011.

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