Mark Marvin-diPasquale testing pond mercury.
Mark Marvin-diPasquale testing pond mercury.

About the Science Program

The goal of the Science Program is to bring the best and most relevant science to decision-makers and the public in a timely fashion. The Science Program provides the Restoration Project with a scientific basis for adaptive management decisions and assists with developing restoration targets and measuring Project success.

The cornerstone of the restoration is adaptive management, where science plays a starring role in management decisions. The Science Program coordinates a series of applied studies, modeling, and ongoing monitoring. Researchers inform managers – they investigate major areas of uncertainty that can affect restoration success, and gather data on whether work is meeting restoration targets.

After ten years of research, much has been learned about these key uncertainties in the restoration process. How well is the restoration progressing to meet its scientific targets? The Phase 1 Science Summary describes our self-evaluation.

The primary work of the Science Program is to implement the Project’s Adaptive Management Plan. The plan helps Project Managers to measure and analyze changes on the ground and fold that new information back into the management process. The process for integrating new information is listed in the Adaptive Management Summary Table, which shows the Project’s integrated approach to understanding how the South Bay ecosystem responds to management changes.

The Science Program and the Lead Scientist receive guidance from the Project Science Technical Advisory Committee (TAC), which reviews Science Program progress; provides advice on restoration/engineering design, research and applied studies; and assists in identifying emerging key uncertainties and management decisions required to keep the project on track toward its restoration objectives.

New Science Tools & Reports

Framework report, closeup of Pond A21. Credit: Cris Benton

Restoration Project consulting scientists have completed a suite of Phase 2 Science Program tools designed to ensure our next decade of research and monitoring work builds on what we learned from our first decade of science, as well as the work of other Bay scientists. The products developed by Point Blue Conservation Science under Project managers’ oversight are:

  • A Phase 2 Science Program Framework to help Project managers identify and respond to the most critical and immediate science needs. The Framework is designed to increase our efficiency in data-gathering and analysis, to inform our work and communicate it to the broader San Francisco Bay restoration community. It establishes a process to clearly drill down on current management and science needs so we can carefully choose Phase 2 monitoring, studies, analysis, and modeling.
  • The Climate Change Synthesis provides Restoration Project managers and scientists with an updated understanding of the current science on sea level rise and other effects of climate change as it relates to the Project. It also identifies ways in which the adaptive management approach to the Project may need to adjust in the face of those changes.
  • The Phase 2 Science Synthesis updates the status of restoration-related science in the South Bay Area region and beyond. It also notes remaining scientific uncertainties and gaps to help managers identify crucial areas for scientific investigation and data gathering.

The tools were produced in collaboration with a range of scientists, managers and partner agency representatives who shared their knowledge and recommendations at a September 2019 workshop and through several targeted follow-up interviews and focus group sessions. We thank them for their careful consideration and thoughtful input and feedback.

Project Lead Scientist Donna Ball and managers will soon use the Framework to build a Phase 2 Science Plan, and will eventually seek proposals for Phase 2 targeted studies and monitoring.

Point Blue’s work for the Project was funded by Measure AA from the San Francisco Bay Restoration Authority, with oversight provided by the California Wildlife Foundation.

Science Team

Donna Ball is the Restoration Project Lead Scientist.

Other Science Team members:

  • Contractor Point Blue is working to integrate Phase 2 science with the latest sea level rise research and related regional efforts. Point Blue will convene regional science integration workshops, produce a climate change synthesis to guide Project adaptive management, and develop an integrated Phase 2 science program framework report.
  • Contracted scientists and Project Management Team agencies conduct applied studies and monitoring.
  • The Project Technical Advisory Committee provides periodic guidance on the Science Program and adaptive management.

Science Program Contact

Project Science Coordinator

Donna Ball, San Francisco Estuary Institute

[email protected]

(510) 746-7346

Science Events

For a listing of recent and future science related events visit the Related Meetings and Events Section of this page.

External Event Pages

Scientific Reports

A repository of reports, presentations, maps and other documents related to project science, monitoring, and technical issues can be found within our Scientific Reports.

Data Sets

South Bay Salt Ponds offers a variety of data sets, please visit our Data page to see the list.

Science Program Archive

  • 2009-June 2018 Science Program Leadership - Laura Valoppi (PDF)
  • Science Team Planning Phase Summary (PDF)
  • Program Structure During Implementation (PDF)
  • 2008 Science Program Leadership (PDF)


Science Team Planning Phase Summary


Sience Team


Decision Making Structure


Science Team Meeting Agendas
2006 Science Symposium
2006 Social Science Workshop

Social Science Dimensions: Identifying Political, Economic, and Social Obstacles and Opportunities (April 18, 2006)

The purpose of this workshop was to identify the most important political, economic, and social opportunities and obstacles in planning, implementing, and sustaining/maintaining salt pond restoration in the South Bay.

  • Workshop Summary (PDF)
  • Welcome to Social Science Dimensions Workshop (PDF)
  • Overview on Challenges and Solutions During the Planning Process (PDF)
  • Overview on Community Involvement and Opposition (PDF)
  • Historical and Cultural Resources (PDF)
  • Reaching the Voters on Funding (PDF)
  • Overview on Urban/Economic Growth and Impacts on the Environment (PDF)
  • Workshop Agenda (PDF)
  • More information and directions (PDF)
Techincal Workshops
  • Sediment Workshop 1 (December 2004; PDF)
  • Sediment Workshop 2 (March 18, 2005; PDF)
  • Bird Workshop 1 (March 11, 2005; PDF)
  • Bird Workshop 2 (May 23, 2005; PDF)
  • Fish Workshop (May 20, 2005; PDF)
  • Pond Workshop 1 (August 17, 2005; PDF)
2003 Datagaps Workshop
  • Agenda (PDF)
  • Workshop Presentation (PDF)
  • Workshop Notes (PDF)
  • Decisions Document (PDF)
  • Attendees (PDF)


  • Science Team Two-year Summary (June 2006, PDF)
  • Science Team Charter 2005 (PDF)
  • Draft Adaptive Management Plan (October 2005, PDF)
  • Science Syntheses of Critical Issues
    • Issue 1 & 3—Landscape and Marshes (October 2004; PDF)
    • Issue 2—Sediment Management (February 14, 2005; PDF)
    • Issue 5—Migratory Birds (PDF)
    • Issue 6—Hydrological Modifications (PDF)
    • Issue 7—Pollutants (PDF)
    • Issue 8—Invasive Species (May 12, 2005; PDF)
    • Issue 9—Public Access & Wildlife (May 15, 2005; PDF)
    • Issue 10—Infrastructure (November 12, 2004; PDF)

National Science Panel


Meeting materials

Downloads—October 2008 RFP

  • Main RFP document (PDF, 480K)
  • Coversheet (DOC, 150K)
  • Budget worksheet (XLS, 160K)

2008 RFP Awards for Phase 1 Selected Monitoring and Applied Studies

The proposals below were accepted by the SBSP project following a peer review selection process. Project start dates vary depending on the availability of funding and the Phase I restoration schedule.

Topic 1: Measuring Habitat Evolution Utilizing Satellite Imagery

Successful proposal by B. Fulfrost, Design, Community & Environment

Topic 2: Assessment of Mercury Bioavailability Utilizing Sentinel Species

Successful proposal by C. Eagles-Smith, USGS

Topic 3: Waterbird Nesting and Foraging in Managed Ponds

Successful proposal by J. Ackerman, USGS

Topic 4: Waterbird Response to Trail Use

Successful proposal by L. Trulio, SJSU

Topic 5: Pond, Slough, and Bay Water Quality Interactions

Successful proposal by J. Thompson, USGS

Topic 6: Baseline Bird Data and Data Needs Assessment

Successful proposal by M. Herzog, PRBO

Topic 7: Effects of Restoration on Fish Assemblages

Successful proposal by J. Hobbs, UC Davis

Topic 8: California Gull Displacement Study

Successful proposal by J. Ackerman, USGS

Topic 9: Open Call for Graduate Fellows

Successful proposals by N. Athearn, UCD/USGS; C. Overton, UCD/USGS; and A. Rowan, SFSU

Directed Study

Successful proposal by J. Callaway, USF

Reference List for October 2008 RFP


Related Meetings and Events

SOE Image
Tue, 10/10/2017, 9:00am – Wed, 10/11/2017, 4:45pm
Outstanding Environmental Project Award!

Project managers are proud to have received the Friends of the Estuary Outstanding Environmental Project award at this year’s conference for our Phase 1 habitat and recreation work. The ten years of work improved 3,750 acres of habitat and created 7 miles of new trails, among other recreation improvements. As a result, endangered species and native fish… Read More
Computer History Museum Full Exterior
Thu, 10/22/2015, 9:00am – 5:00pm
The South Bay Salt Pond Restoration Project’s Biennial Science Symposium was held on Thursday, October 22, 2015 at the Computer History Museum in Mountain View, CA.
No event image available
Tue, 11/25/2014, 9:00am – 4:30pm Mon, 12/09/2013
This South Bay Salt Pond Restoration (SBSPR) Project annual meeting seeks to bring all researchers up to date on latest studies/results, foster collaboration among researchers, seek ideas for funding for science/applied studies, and foster direct dialogue between researchers and managers on proposed management actions.
No event image available
Tue, 11/25/2014, 9:00am – 4:30pm Mon, 12/09/2013
This South Bay Salt Pond Restoration (SBSPR) Project annual meeting seeks to bring all researchers up to date on latest studies/results, foster collaboration among researchers, seek ideas for funding for science/applied studies, and foster direct dialogue between researchers and managers on proposed management actions.
State of the Estuary 2013 Banner
Tue, 10/29/2013, 9:00am – Wed, 10/30/2013, 5:00pm
11th Biennial State of the San Francisco Estuary Conference
Symposium Photo, Photo Credit: Young Landis
Tue, 07/16/2013, 8:30am – 7:00pm
10 Year Anniversary Science Tribute Video (15 minutes)
No event image available
Tue, 11/25/2014, 9:00am – 4:30pm Mon, 12/09/2013
This South Bay Salt Pond Restoration (SBSPR) Project annual meeting seeks to bring all researchers up to date on latest studies/results, foster collaboration among researchers, seek ideas for funding for science/applied studies, and foster direct dialogue between researchers and managers on proposed management actions.
No event image available
Mon, 06/13/2011, 1:00pm – 3:00pm
This seminar was targeted toward researchers and scientists working in the south San Francisco Bay to better understand NOAA CO-OPS vertical datums information. Marti Ikehara, the CA State Geodetic Advisor for NOAA/NOS/NGS presented the seminar. The seminar was 2 hours and interactive with questions and answers. The purpose of the seminar was for researchers and scientists to have a clear… Read More
Bird being cleaned
Thu, 02/03/2011, 8:15am – 7:00pm
News Coverage

Mercury News
KQED Radio
Bay-Delta Science Conference 2010 Flyer
Mon, 09/27/2010, 9:00am – Wed, 09/29/2010, 5:00pm
Overview of the South Bay Salt Pond Restoration Project (PDF)
Sediment flux in the southern reach of San Francisco Bay: Implications for habitat restoration (PDF)
Using Remote Sensing to Map the Evolution of Marsh Vegetation in the South Bay of San Francisco (PDF)
Sediment Dynamics at the Island Ponds: Indications from Early Salt Pond Restoration (PDF)
Will Restoration Cause Loss of Mudflats in… Read More
2008 SBSS Flyer
Thu, 09/25/2008, 9:00am – 7:00pm
Thank you to our Science Symposium organizers and sponsors:
State Coastal Conservancy, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, U. S. Geological Survey, Department of Environmental Studies, the College of Social Sciences, and the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Library staff at San Jose State University, Resource Legacy Fund
No event image available
Tue, 05/20/2008, 8:30am – 3:30pm

Summary of the Public Access and Wildlife Workshop
Public Access and Wildlife Introduction
Evens Talk on Waterfowl
Trulio Talk on Shorebirds
Lafferty Talk on Snowy Plovers
2006 SBSS banner
Tue, 06/06/2006, 9:00am – 6:30pm

2006 Science Symposium Synopses (PDF)
Program (PDF)
Speaker Presentations

Abstracts of Speaker Presentations (PDF)
Ackerman and Takekaw