Salt Ponds E12 & E13 revised and revisited


The days grow shorter as summer draws to an end. This must come as something of a relief to the Snowy Plovers, Terns, Avocets, and other bayland birds as it marks the end of their long nesting season. It a relief to me as well because with the end of nesting season my Special Use Permit (nicely up to date) allows me to photograph more broadly in the South Bay wildlife refuge. In celebration, I had a coordination meeting this week with the managers of the South Bay Salt Pond Restoration Project followed by a photography session in the Eden Landing Ecological Reserve.

Construction at Salt Pond E13

Construction site for a new flow control structure between Mt. Eden Creek and Salt pond E13.

Eden Landing has seen rapid change during the last few years. Last year my photographs showed a large construction project to subdivide Salt Ponds E12 and E13 into an array of smaller managed ponds. These are to be kept at various levels of salinity, as though salt evaporation ponds, but with the goal of providing habitat rather than producing salt. The array of new ponds covers what was a bare plain five years ago in which one could see the faint traces of many 19th century salt ponds of a similar scale. I am interested in seeing how the landscape develops. Will the 19th century traces still be readable after the 21st century construction?

Salt Ponds E12 & E13 revised

Newly subdivided ponds with islands for roosting in the area that was once Salt ponds E12 and E13.

On this trip I had three separate photography sessions. The first, staring around 4 pm, involved a short hike along some of the new subdividing levees near the eastside construction yard. These new ponds were filled with a few inches of low salinity water covered with ample crops of cyanobacteria. By 5:30 pm I had packed up and relocated to the north bank of Mt. Eden Creek with the idea of sending a camera over the construction site of a new flow control structure on the west edge of Salt Pond E13. When that session was finished I relocated to the south end of Salt Pond E10 with the idea of photographing the marsh near the outlet of Salt Pond E9, some 500 feet away. That pond was restored to tidal flow a couple of years ago and has been going through an interesting metamorphosis.

Near the mouth of Mt. Eden Creek

The outlet of Salt Pond E9. Tidal scouring is reshaping this end of the pond.

All three sessions involved clean steady flights below a Sutton Flowform 30 kite. The subjects were interesting and the photographs turned out quite well. What could be better? It is nice to be getting underway again in the salt pond landscape.

Here is a set of images from the sessions that I have posted to Flickr:


I am taking these documentary photographs under a Special Use Permit from the California Department of Fish & Wildlife. Kite flying is prohibited over the Eden Landing Ecological Reserve without a Special Use Permit, as is access to this part of the Don Edwards National Wildlife Refuge.

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