Don Edwards San Francisco Bay National Wildlife Refuge

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Alviso Audio Tour

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Alviso: Town and Slough
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101 to Alviso

Alviso Sunset

Alviso King Tide Pictures, 2/9/13

Bay Trail Webpages:

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Palo Alto Baylands (2000)

Palo Alto Baylands 2009

Palo Alto Baylands High Tide 11/26/11

Palo Alto Baylands King Tides 1/30/14

Sunnyvale Baylands (2001)

Sunnyvale Baylands Update 2011

Moffett Bay Trail

Stevens Creek Trail (2000)

Stevens Creek Trail (2009)
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Shoreline Park Mountain View (2009)

San Tomas Aquino Creek


The Stevens Creek Trail to Cooley Landing, 8/12/12

Dumbarton Bridge

Menlo Park

Redwood City, 9/26/07

Redwood Shores, 7/5/13

Don Edwards SFBNWR

King Tide and Low Tide at the Hayward Regional Shoreline, 1/25/14 and 1/29/14

Facebook Albums of the Bay Trail and Feeder Trails

Stevens Creek Trail, 1/29/12

Bike ride from Guadalupe River Park to Alviso, 2/5/12

Shoreline at Mountain View, 7/1/12

Along the Bay Trail, San Mateo, Foster City, 8/19/12

Guadalupe River Trail to Ulistac Natural Area, 8/25/12

San Tomas Aquino Creek Trail to 49'ers Stadium, 8/25/12

San Francisco Presidio and the Golden Gate Bridge, 9/15/12

Alviso Day on the Bay, 10/13/13

Ulistac Natural Area, 1/12/14, Santa Clara

King Tides at Alameda Creek and Coyote Hills, 1/31/14

King Tide at Don Edwards SFBNWR, Fremont, 1/31/14

America's Cup Quest: Redwood City to Redwood Shores, 7/6/14

Levi's Stadium, San Tomas Aquino Creek Trail, 8/2/14

Stevens Creek Trail to San Francisco Bay, 10/5/14

Day on the Bay, Alviso 10/12/14

Alviso Slough Trail to San Francisco Bay 10/12/14

Alviso Mallard Slough Trail
Mobile Phone Tour 10/26/14

On October 26, 2014, there was a special event at the Don Edwards San Francisco Bay National Wildlife Refuge's Alviso Environmental Education Center in Alviso. It was the launch of a new mobile phone audio tour of the Mallard Slough Trail in the refuge. The tours are downloadable smartphone applications for locations, currently five, on the San Francisco Bay Trail. They guide you on a step-by-step tour, using the GPS in your smartphone to detect your location and play an audio clip for that location, along with photos and illustrations. The tours are narrated by Doug McConnell, who hosted Bay Area Backroads and The Open Road TV shows and is the founder of Convergence Media Productions. He wrote the script for the tours. The tours were funded by a California Coastal Conservancy grant. The apps were created by Canogle.

Here are maps of the trails around the Alviso

This is a closeup of the map showing the Alviso trails around the former salt ponds. Today's hike will follow the Mallard Slough Trail, which is shown on the right in orange.

This is an old map from the Alviso Marina County Park map. It shows how the ponds are numbered. Note the Education Center on the lower right. Previously, the Mallard Slough Trail ran around ponds A16 and A17 when they were still salt ponds. The trail made a big U around a channel between the two ponds, ran along the north and east sides of A17, and there was a gap between the end of that U and the east levee. Now that channel is gone, and the levee along the north and east sides of A17 has been breached and obliterated. The gap at the end of the U has been bridged. Compare it to the current map above. Note the train tracks separating the Alviso Slough Loop trails from the Mallard Slough Trail and the connector between the two.

Laura Thompson, right, Project Manager for the San Francisco Bay Trail project, greets the visitors. On the left is Jennifer, who is with the USFWS and will be helping to lead the tour.

Arthur Bart-Williams of Canogle introduces the mobile phone tour. He is holding a smartphone connected to a speaker, so the group can hear it without having to use their own phone. On the right is Denise, also from Canogle.

The tour begins behind the Environmental Education Center.

This bench overlooks New Chicago Marsh.

This stop on a viewing platform talks about the history of New Chicago Marsh.

These interpretive signs talk about New Chicago Marsh and the salt marsh habitat.

A ramp leads down to the boardwalk crossing New Chicago Marsh.

Another stop is at this viewing platform on the marsh.

These are the wetlands of the marsh. Surrounding it is the community of Alviso, which once was an independent town, but became annexed to San Jose in 1968.

There are birds resting on islands in the marsh.

This is a view looking back across the marsh towards the Environmental Education Center.

The boardwalk leads to the edge of the marsh. On the way is a stop at the interpretive sign.

This sign talks about the endangered salt marsh harvest mouse and how they depend on pickleweed, which is the vegetation in the marsh in front of the sign.

The boardwalk leads to a ramp that goes up to the levee separating the New Chicago Marsh from the former salt pond to the north.

This is the former salt pond, designated A16. There are artificial islands in the pond created to provide resting places for birds where they would be safe from land predators.

Another view of A16 shows more birds on an island and a tide gate along the bank.

This is the northeast corner of New Chicago Marsh.

On the bank of Pond A16 are two viewing platforms. In the background are Mission Peak on the left, Mt. Allison in the center, and Monument Peak on the right.

This is the corner of Pond A16. The plants on the right are part of the garden at the Environmental Education Center.

There are picnic tables here at the northwest corner of New Chicago Marsh.

The trail turns north to follow the levee between Pond A16 and Artesian Slough. There is a floating platform on Artesian Slough.

Artesian Slough is the outfall for the San Jose/Santa Clara Water Pollution Control Plant. Highly treated wastewater is discharged into the slough. This creates a freshwater environment in the upper parts of the slough.

This is a large viewing platform on A16.

There is another smaller viewing platform on A16.

This is a view of the islands and birds on A16.

This is a view of Artesian Slough, with water treatment ponds on the other side.

This is a zoom-in view of the birds on an island in A16, showing there is a large number of white pelicans here.

This satellite view from Google maps shows the hike so far in blue, from the Environmental Education Center ("EEC") at the bottom, across the New Chicago Marsh, to the levee around A16 on the upper left, with Artesian Slough on the right. You can see the viewing platforms ("VP's") on A16 and the slough.

This is a tide gate on A16, connecting it to Artesian Slough.

This is the outlet pipe of the tide gate on Artesian Slough.

The trail curves around a large marsh along Artesian Slough.

There are more bird-covered islands in pond A16.

Near this bend in the trail is a submerged island covered with birds.

Seagulls and ducks are resting on this partially-submerged island. In the background are the Sunnyvale Baylands and Moffett Field.

This stop is at a viewing platform with interpretive signs on A16.

This talks about restoration of salt ponds like A16 to make them more friendly for wildlife. Tide gates let Bay waters flow in and out of A16, so the waters are the same salinity as the Bay. The lower salinity has doubled the amount of wildlife in the pond.

This sign talks about the wildlife in the pond, ranging from tiny brine shrimp to fish to birds.

This sign talks about the salt-tolerant algae and bacteria that live in the highly-saline salt ponds.

The trail wraps around the marsh.

This pond was used as a turn-around basin for the dredge that was used to maintain the salt pond levees.

The trail round a corner of A16. Somebody has placed sticks in the shoreline.

This Google satellite view shows the route from the tide gate ("TG"), past the viewing platform ("VP") to the dredge pond, and beyond. Artesian Slough is mislabeled as Coyote Creek.

The trail reaches the next pond, designated A17. The levee that used to run around the east side of A17 has been obliterated, with only isolated mounds left, making travel on the east side impossible. The channel in the middle used to join A17 and A16. The levee to the left of the channel used to be part of the U-shaped trail mentioned above. The new trail cuts across blocks the channel, and the northern part of the U-shaped trail has been eliminated.

Ahead is the busy train track, used by freight and commuter trains.

This is the train passing by the northwest corner of A16.

The trail heads towards a large building on A17.

This building and structure on A17 is a tide gate, regulating the flow between A17 and A16. A17 is open to unregulated tidal flow, while tide gates control the level of A16, allowing tidal waters to flow through it, but keeping the water level relatively constant, like a lake.

This is pond A17 by the tide gate.

This Google satellite view shows the start of A17 on the lower right, with the blocked channel at the end. The north part of the U-shaped trail between A16 and A17 is now gone. The remnants of the levee on the east side of A17 are next to Artesian Slough (not Coyote Creek). The trail makes a jog over a new levee to reach the tide gate ("TG") on A17. To the left is the crossing ("Xng") to reach the Alviso Slough Loop Trail along pond A15. This will be seen later.

The trail rounds the corner of A17 and approaches the train tracks.

There's an old service catwalk leading across the marsh to the train tracks. The catwalk is closed to the public.

This is the north part of pond A17. It must be high tide, as the pond is nearly full.

The trail approaches Coyote Creek. A concrete train bridge over the creek can be seen. On the other side of Coyote Creek are old dilapidated buildings. They are what remains of the ghost town of Drawbridge.

This is Coyote Creek and the train bridge crossing over it. Coyote Creek is a tidal slough here. It is a rising high tide, as the water is flowing upstream. It is illegal and dangerous to cross over the bridge.

The tops of the old buildings of Drawbridge can be seen beyond the bridge. There used to be actual drawbridges here, which is how the town got its name.

This is our stop where we hear the story of Drawbridge.

On the other side of Coyote Creek is Station Island. This sign talks about the town of Drawbridge that was on the island. The first building was a cabin built in 1876 by the South Pacific Coast Railroad, which housed the operator of the drawbridges on both sides of the island. Wildlife and fish were abundant, which attracted hunters and fishermen to the island. There were 90 buildings on the island by 1926.

This talks about the demise of Drawbridge due to the deteriorating environment and the recent efforts to restore the environment, though not the town.

These are the decaying buildings of Drawbridge on Station Island, which is no longer accessible to the public. The buildings can be seen from the commuter trains that cross the island daily.

This is the levee between Coyote Creek on the left and pond A17 on the right. The levee used to run around the pond, but now stops a short distance ahead, as there is a large breech in the levee, allowing tidal waters from Coyote Creek to flow into A17.

This Google satellite view shows the route we took up the west side of A17 to the bridge over Coyote Creek. The large breach in the levee of A17 is at top center.

This Google satellite view farther north up Station Island shows some of the remaining buildings of Drawbridge.

As we head south on the trail, we pass a train crossing that leads to the Alviso Slough Loop around pond A15. Technically and legally this is not an official crossing, for liability reasons. If you cross, it's at your own risk. Watch for trains, as this is a busy track.

The trail south on the west side of pond A16 is ruler-straight as it parallels the railroad tracks.

There are flocks of sandpipers feeding on the shore of A16.

Across the railroad tracks is pond A13, which has been lowered, revealing more of the pond's bottom, creating dry land. The pond depths are being adjusted to create varying environments to benefit different species.

At the southwest corner of pond A16 is a bench. Behind it is New Chicago Marsh.

This is the levee trail running along the south side of A16, separating it from New Chicago Marsh.

Ahead on the right is a tide gate where water is allowed to flow from pond A16 into New Chicago Marsh. The trail loop ends at the Environmental Education Center.

This shows the last part of the route around the corner of A16, past the tide gate between A16 and New Chicago Marsh, back to the Environmental Education Center.

This is the entrance to the Environmental Education Center.

Inside the Environmental Education Center are exhibits on the Bay, its history, and wildlife.

There's a replica of the type of reed hut made by the native people who lived by the Bay.

These panels talk about how the Bay has changed over time.

This exhibit talks about preventing pollution of the Bay. Next to it is a staircase leading upstairs to a viewing area.

This map shows a closeup of the area around the Environmental Education Center. The Marsh View Trail begins south of the parking lot and runs along the edge of New Chicago Marsh to a parking lot on Grand Blvd.

This interpretive sign is near the start of the Marsh View Trail.

Along the Marsh View Trail is this pavilion, used for outdoor classes.

This is a viewing bench near the pavilion, overlooking New Chicago Marsh.

Created by Ronald Horii 11/7/14.

Web page developed: 2/8/14 by Ronald Horii