The Mallard II


The levees of the South Bay salt ponds are maintained by a 70-year old clamshell dredge named the Mallard II. I come across the scoop marks of the Mallard II in many of my aerial photographs and have been eager to see it in action. So, I often have an eye out for its whereabouts.

mallard2 scoops

Dredge scoop marks on the south side of Menlo Park’s Bay Shore Park. Are these west side marks from the Mallard II or another dredge?

Here is a description of the Mallard II from Cargill’s Virtual Tour WWW site:

The Mallard II has plied the San Francisco Bay’s salt ponds since her keel was laid in 1936. The crew of the Mallard II works year-round, maintaining about 10 miles of our 200 miles of levees per year. The one notable exception: when the Mallard II heeded the nation’s call during World War II, retrieving artillery shells from the Bay floor around Mare Island and Port Chicago.

Anchored on her spuds, or stabilizing legs, the dredge scoops up mud from a borrow ditch to place atop the levee. She’s remarkably fuel efficient – the Mallard II can operate for two months or more between refuelings.

On occasion I spend way too much time looking for the Mallard II in aerial photographs of the South Bay. Find Waldo!

mallard2 near san jose keyhole

This Google Earth image below caught the Mallard II near Moffit Field.

In recent months (May and September 2005) I have sighted the dredge north of the Coyote Hills Slough working up around Pond N2A and once I happened on the Mallard II while hiking near Pond E2. It was not running at the time. I seized the occasion and took a series of KAP shots of the dredge and the fresh levee it was constructing.

mallard2 near e2

The Mallard II when I happen apon it during a hike a while back.

mallard2 0509 near pond N2a

The Mallard II sighted just a week or so ago in the distance. I think it is near Pond E1

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