Tidal marsh restoration stimulates the growth of winter shorebird populations in a temperate estuary


, J. P., T. E. Condeso,

Publication Date:
Jan 2017

The regional responses of winter shorebird populations in the nearly 3,000 ha estuary of Tomales Bay, California, to the restoration of 223 ha of historic tidal wetlands were evaluated for 27 years: 19 years prior to tidal reintroduction and 8 years after tidal reintroduction. We used interrupted time series analyses to measure the spatial extent of the restoration effect and to model the magnitude and length of time associated with the gradual, restoration-induced growth of winter shorebird populations in the bay. Expanded, regional benefits of the restoration were revealed by consistent patterns of winter shorebird population growth. Eight years after tidal reintroduction, overall shorebird abundances in southern Tomales Bay nearly tripled in response to the restoration. Substantial winter population growth by most species in southern Tomales Bay was evident within 3 years after tidal reintroduction, and maximum responses to the restoration were estimated to be predominantly achieved within 8 years. In contrast to strong effects of tidal marsh restoration on winter shorebird populations in southern Tomales Bay, no significant overall responses were exhibited by shorebirds in the northern portion of the bay, although marginal evidence of expanded effects on a few species in northern Tomales Bay were suggested. The results illustrate the importance of accounting for restoration effects beyond the spatial and temporal boundaries of the restored habitat, to consider both the potentially expanded benefits and the spatial limits of those benefits to regional wildlife populations.

Full text PDF is available upon request. Please contact the Cypress Grove Research Center [email protected]

Type of Document:

Journal Article

PDF is:

Kelly, J. P., and T. E. Condeso. 2017. Tidal marsh restoration stimulates the growth of winter shorebird populations in a temperate estuary. Restoration Ecology, 25:640-649. doi:10.1111/rec.12487