Science activity

Science activity #49849, updated 29 April 2022

Habitat Values of Native SAV [Submerged Aquatic Vegetation] in the Low Salinity Zone of San Francisco Estuary

Description / purpose

We will investigate the importance of native submerged aquatic vegetation (SAV) in providing food web support for native fish species in the low salinity zone of the San Francisco Bay-Delta. These SAV beds, composed primarily of Stuckenia pectinata (sago pondweed), are an extensive feature along many of the islands in Suisun Bay and the west Delta, yet almost nothing is known of their seasonal or interannual patterns, their invertebrate communities, or how their physical structure or food resources influence use by native fishes. We hypothesize that the position of these beds in the shallow subtidal zone along the islands increases habitat options adjacent to wetlands and channels for numerous fish species, including species of concern such as delta smelt and chinook salmon. The objectives of this project are to: 1) characterize patterns in habitat structure, community composition, and productivity of SAV beds in four locations in Suisun Bay and the western Delta over a three year period (with comparisons to non-native Egeria densa beds), 2) document the epifaunal invertebrate community composition and abundance in the Stuckenia beds, 3) assess fish use of these beds through seining and acoustic monitoring of hatchery-tagged fish, 4) utilize stable isotope analyses to evaluate food web relationships within and among the beds, and 5) begin preliminary evaluation of the potential to restore native SAV to subsided lands in this region.

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Activity status

  • 1 Awarded / Initiating (2011)
  • 2 In progress / Ongoing (2011 - 2013)
  • 3 Complete

Funding summary

Total allocated funding: $160,000

Label Value
Contract # or labor code 2035
Implementing organization San Francisco State University [SFSU]
Funding organization Delta Stewardship Council
Funding Source Proposition 84
Date of award 2011
Date of fiscal year-end Not provided
Total award amount $160,000
State type of obligation Not provided
Federal type of obligation Not provided
Reimbursability Not provided
Procurement mechanism Not provided


Delta regions

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