How we work with nature to bring back the Bay’s historic salt marshes

A typical salt pond looks like a moonscape in the dry of summer.  

A pond looks like a moonscape.

Digging in the Mud

We launch restoration by digging holes in the dirt levees surrounding ponds, and Bay tides rush in to cover crusted salt flats.  

Digging holes in the mud
Digging in the mud.



Bay creatures
The tides bring in mud, nutrients, seeds, fish, and other Bay creatures.


Vegetation Emerges

Once enough sediment has built up, it can support snails, shellfish, and other creatures, and the growth of marsh plants – so seedlings begin to pop up.  

Vegetation emerges
Vegetation emerges


Animals Find Refuge

Harvest mouse
Salt marsh harvest mouse

Ridgway's Rail (formerly Clapper Rail)
Ridgway's Rail (formerly Clapper Rail)


We are now seeing two key San Francisco Bay endangered species living and breeding in our restored wetlands. Scientists caught sight of the animals earlier than was expected, less than a decade after restoration began.


Breach, salt marsh, and endangered species photos credit: Judy Irving, Pelican Media.