Inner Bair IslandOn April 22, 2013, (Earth Day) the refuge opened a new pedestrian bridge near the south eastern levee of Inner Bair Island and a portion of the Inner Bair Island Trail. The pedestrian bridge spans across “No-Name Slough” and connects Uccelli Boulevard with Inner Bair Island. The bridge is the new and only public access point to enter the Inner Bair Island Trail. Visitors can park at the Bair Island parking lot located east of Inner Bair Island off of Ucceli Boulevard. Please note that only a portion of Inner Bair Island is open to the public at this time. Because our mission is to provide habitat for endangered species and migratory birds, we ask that you enjoy the trail and help protect our wildlife by following these rules:
• Trail is open from sunrise to sunset• Please stay on designated trail• Hiking, bicycling, and wildlife photography/viewing is allowed• No pets (e.g., dogs) allowed on Bair Island• No motorized vehicles allowed Because construction continues on other portions of Inner Bair Island, the trails located north and west of Area D will continue to be closed until further notice to ensure the public's safety. See the map on next page for details.
We continue to bring in clean import fill material to Inner Bair Island to raise the level of Inner Bair to create a more natural tidal wetland. The refuge is happy to report that we have now filled well over half of the site. Up to 500 truckloads of fill material per day are entering the site; large earth movers, graders, and compactors are active. By summer of 2013, the raising of Inner Bair's elevation should be complete and we then can make the final breaches into Inner Bair which will reconnect the historic Smith Slough channel. Following breaching of the Inner Bair Island levee, full public access, along with interpretive signs and scenic viewing platform overlooks, is expected by fall 2014. The new trail and waterways will provide opportunities for visitors to see 150 species of birds and wildlife on Bair Island.
Another project that will be taking place on Inner Bair Island is the South Bayside System Authority (SBSA) 48-inch Force Main Reliability Improvement Project. This project should begin in summer 2013. The primary objective of the project is to construct a new 48-inch sanitary sewer pipeline, replacing a pipe that has a history of leakage and damage because of the unstable “bay mud” ground conditions in the area. A portion of the new pipeline will be located on the southern levee of Area D and in the Bair Island Parking Lot. Therefore, public access will be restricted at Area D based on the construction of the pipeline project. The refuge will continue to coordinate with SBSA to keep the public informed of the status of the Bair Island trails. For answers to questions regarding SBSA’s project information, construction schedule, and access to Bair Island, you can refer to SBSA’s website: http://www.sbsa.org/48-inch-pipeline. To receive project updates, send your e-mail address to: firstname.lastname@example.org. For questions about the project, you can contact: Duane Sandul, representing SBSA, at (650) 585-2181. If you follow the project on Twitter at https://twitter.com/SBSAnews, you can receive project updates as they happen.
Middle and Outer Bair Island In December 2011, we began breaching levees inside Middle Bair to reconnect historic channels, add ditch blocks in the borrow pits, and to prepare Middle Bair to be fully breached. This winter after installation of two "flow constrictors" in the two major sloughs, crews completed the final breaches of Outer Bair and Middle Bair Island. The flow constrictors are intended to force most of the increased tidal flow out through the badly silted Steinberger Slough and reduce the velocity of the water to protect the nearby Pete's Harbor Marina and the Port of Redwood City.Please do your part to help the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to efficiently and safely carry out this important and exciting project, which benefits all who enjoy and appreciate Bair Island, and the wildlife that call it home. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service & the City of Redwood City thank you for your cooperation and patience as Bair Island is restored to tidal wetland, providing superior wildlife habitat and enhanced public enjoyment of this natural treasure.
Information about the project is available by visiting this website, or by calling the Don Edwards San Francisco Bay Refuge Manager at (510) 792-0222.
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Winter is approaching, making shorebirds a challenge to identify. American Avocets will lose the cinnamon color on their head, possibly to camouflage themselves better in their winter surroundings.