Citing a serious threat to wildlife, the South Bayside System Authority wastewater facility in Redwood City will drain its popular bird-watching pond beginning Friday (January 10) because an apparent outbreak of avian cholera has killed nearly 150 ducks since Friday, January 3.
A U.S. Fish & Wildlife official is reporting news of avian cholera in Hayward and now, possibly in Redwood City. At this time the cause of the ducks death at the Radio Road site has not been confirmed but is suspected to be the spread of avian cholera from the East Bay.
“Please note that this does not pose a threat to humans, but can cause death to waterfowl, gulls, and other species,” said Melisa Amato, Wildlife Refuge Specialist & Hunt Program Coordinator for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Don Edwards San Francisco Bay National Wildlife Refuge.
She is asking the public to “please report any large numbers of dead birds (more than 10) to email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org,
especially if these birds appear to be fresh and have no obvious signs of death or there are more on a regular basis.”
The popular SBSA “pond” that greets visitors to the plant at 1400 Radio Road, Redwood City – at the southeast end of Redwood Shores – is technically called a landscape impoundment. It was created in 1998 on the west side of the treatment plant to eliminate dust from the dry barren dirt in the area.
“Over the years this body of water has met the goal of eliminating dust from the dry, bare land next to the treatment plant and has become a popular spot for bird watchers, The dust proved detrimental to the lifespan of the plant’s equipment, especially the electrical system and instrumentation devices ” noted SBSA Manager Dan Child.
On its website, the Sequoia Audubon Society says that SBSA’s landscape impoundment “is a perpetual favorite among local birders, for its fabulous numbers of waterfowl and shorebirds, and the constant hope, often fulfilled, of rarities. It is not uncommon to see over 10,000 birds from the security of your car, all close enough to be identified with binoculars (although a scope is a spectacular asset at this location). Radio Road has it all: easy access, constant numbers of birds, rarities, opportunities for study of breeding and of vagrancy, a variety of habitats in a small space, no barriers for those with disabilities, and, for birders who have canine companions, there is a dog park right here!”
The pond is kept fresh by a flow of fresh recycled water from the treatment facility f to replace water lost by evaporation and by allowing a certain amount to overflow back to the treatment plant. Peak water flow to the pond in the hot season can reach over 100,000 gallons per day of water from the recycled water system.