Tour stop: Floating Dock
San Jose-Santa Clara Regional Wastewater Facility
The San José-Santa Clara Regional Wastewater Facility is the largest advanced wastewater treatment facility in the western United States. Starting as a small sewage plant in the 1880s, it now serves 1.4 million residents. The facility's wastewater is treated to very high national standards, protecting public health and environment. Water from the facility exits through Artesian Slough.
Avian Disease Prevention
The San Francisco Bay Bird Observatory (SFBBO) conducts surveys in the South Bay every year as part of the Avian Disease Prevention Program. Scientists and volunteers survey Coyote Creek (also known as Artesian Slough) and Guadalupe slough here in the refuge in search of sick, injured or dead birds, which are removed from the waters to prevent the spread of avian botulism.
Avian botulism is a disease found in birds caused by a toxin released by the bacterium Clostridium botulinum. This disease can affect waterfowl such as ducks and geese as well as waterbirds such as cormorants and gulls. The bacterium prefers warm, anaerobic, protein-rich environments, which make dead birds a good host of the disease, especially during warmer months. Maggots can also be carriers of the disease, and as birds consume maggots, the disease can spread rapidly. Birds infected with botulism experience a gradual paralysis where they have difficulty diving, flying, and keeping their head up, and as a result, they often die of starvation or drowning. By removing these sick and dead birds, SFBBO helps reduce the chances of an outbreak and promotes healthy waterbird populations!
Urban Runoff Pollution
Living in an urban landscape and surrounded by 5+ landfills, wildlife at the Refuge is threatened by trash, microtrash and urban runoff. Urban runoff is the result of rainwater transporting trash and pollutants through cities and neighborhoods into waterways and natural environments. One of the best ways to protect wildlife at the Refuge is to dispose of trash properly and prevent pollutants from entering storm drains.
Ohlone (Oh-lone-e) Indians refers to the collective indigenous tribes that have lived in the San Francisco Bay Area for thousands of years. Ohlones used the waterways in this area to collect and hunt an abundance of resources such as fish, mussels, waterfowl and a variety of plant species. The Ohlones that occupied this area created boats, homes, mats, clothing, and tools from the common tule plant which lines the edges of the tidal slough.
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