Initial restoration of former salt evaporation ponds under the South Bay Salt Pond Restoration Project in San Francisco Bay included the changing of water-flow patterns and the monitoring of water quality of discharge waters from the ponds. Low dissolved oxygen (DO) concentrations became evident in discharge waters when the ponds first were opened in 2004. This was a concern, because of the potential for low-DO pond discharge to decrease the DO concentrations in the sloughs that receive water from the ponds. However, as of summer 2007, only limited point-measurements of DO concentrations had been made in the receiving sloughs adjacent to the discharge ponds. In this report, we describe two short studies aimed at understanding the natural variability of slough DO and the effect of pond discharge on the DO concentrations in the sloughs. Pond A3W (a discharge pond) and the adjacent Guadalupe Slough were instrumented in August and September 2007 to measure DO, temperature, conductivity, and pH. In addition, Mowry and Newark Sloughs were instrumented during the August study to document DO variability in nearby sloughs that were unaffected by pond discharge. The results showed that natural tidal variability in the slough appeared to dominate and control the slough DO concentrations. Water-quality parameters between Guadalupe Slough and Mowry and Newark Sloughs could not be directly compared because deployment locations were different distances from the bay. Pond-discharge water was identified in Guadalupe Slough using the deployed instruments, but, counter to the previous assumption, the pond discharge, at times, increased DO concentrations in the slough. The effects of altering the volume of pond discharge were overwhelmed by natural spring-neap tidal variability in the slough. This work represents a preliminary investigation by the U.S. Geological Survey of the effects of pond discharge on adjacent sloughs, and the results will be used in designing a comprehensive DO study to determine normal variability for this region.
Additional publication details
USGS Numbered Series
Dissolved Oxygen in Guadalupe Slough and Pond A3W, South San Francisco Bay, California, August and September 2007