|Adjacent bodies of water||San Francisco Bay|
|Area||36 acres (15 ha)|
Hooks Island is an uninhabited, approximately 36-acre (15 ha) tidal salt marsh island in San Francisco Bay, in Palo Alto, California, United States. In the 2010s, it was observed to be a home for tens of near-endangered California clapper rails.
Like many areas on the periphery of San Francisco Bay, Hooks Island is classified as California coastal salt marsh. As part of the Palo Alto Baylands Nature Preserve, it is a protected area, and local governments prohibit humans from traveling to it;like many parts of the San Francisco Bay Area, development (especially of housing) is not permitted.
It is home to members of several endangered species, as well as five transmission towers (belonging to the Ravenswood-Ames 115kV transmission line). It is described in a 2020 Santa Clara Valley Water report as an "undisturbed tidal salt marsh" consisting partly of an "estuarine intertidal emergent wetland".Its northern tip, located at , is known as Hooks Point. Hooks Island is located directly east of the Palo Alto Baylands Sailing Station.
Several species of cord grass grow on the island and provide a habitat for various animals. In 1997, a study discovered that the native cord grass, Sporobolus foliosus , was being displaced on Hooks Island by the invasive species Spartina alterniflora , which tends to grow in denser stands than the native grass; this "makes it harder for animals to move around".
The S. alterniflora, originally introduced to the area in 1973 by an Army Corps of Engineers project to control erosion and restore marshes in the Bay, hybridized with native cord grasses, forming dense growth above ground and a dense root system below; this displaced both surface-dwelling animals and those which lived beneath the mud.
When the 1973 attempt to reverse damage to the marshes was eventually found to be harmful for wildlife, it was itself reversed—the California Coastal Conservancy's San Francisco Estuary Invasive Spartina Project was able, with the aid of the herbicide imazapyr as well as physical removal methods, to heavily reduce the overall footprint of S. alterniflora growth across a 70,000-acre (28,000 ha) "work area", from 805 acres (326 ha) in 2005 to 28 acres (11 ha) in 2016 (at which point $30 million had been spent). According to the manager of the manager of the San Francisco Bay National Wildlife Refuge Complex, the project was a "resounding success".
Despite the success of the project, however, federal officials required the conservancy to reverse part of their reversal of the initial reversal, after it was found that the (then-endangered) California clapper rail had taken up residence in thickets of the invasive species.
Numerous birds have been known to live on Hooks Island, such as the near-threatened California clapper rail.In 2011, a Point Reyes Bird Observatory Conservation Science report found that approximately 14 clapper rails had been found in the Baylands, and 19 clapper rails were "known to exist" at Palo Alto Harbor and Hooks Island. Other estimates of the total Baylands population in 2011 included "approximately 15–29 individuals". However, in 2010, there had been as many as 22 clapper rails. In 2013, allegations were made that feral cats were living on Hooks Island and killing the clapper rails. While it is broadly accepted that there are many cats in the San Francisco Bay Area, the extent of their presence in the Palo Alto Baylands (and of their role in the killing of clapper rails) was disputed. While the city's division manager of open space, parks and golf claimed to have "personally seen feral cats hunt and catch birds in the Baylands Nature Preserve", a volunteer at the Palo Alto Humane Society offered a rejoinder to this claim, stating that "compared to people, the damage feral cats do is minor".
The Dumbarton Bridge is the southernmost of the highway bridges across San Francisco Bay in California. Carrying over 70,000 vehicles and about 118 pedestrian and bicycle crossings daily, it is the shortest bridge across San Francisco Bay at 1.63 miles. Its eastern end is in Fremont, near Newark in the San Francisco Bay National Wildlife Refuge, and its western end is in Menlo Park. Bridging State Route 84 across the bay, it has three lanes each way and a separated bike/pedestrian lane along its south side. Like the San Mateo Bridge to the north, power lines parallel the bridge.
East Palo Alto is a city in San Mateo County, California, United States. As of the 2010 census, the population of East Palo Alto was 28,155. It is situated on the San Francisco Peninsula, roughly halfway between the cities of San Francisco and San Jose. To the north and east is the San Francisco Bay, to the west is the city of Menlo Park, and to the south the city of Palo Alto. Despite being called "East" Palo Alto, the city is directly north of Palo Alto. While often incorrectly assumed to be part of the city of Palo Alto, East Palo Alto has always been a separate entity since its founding as an unincorporated community until its incorporation in July 1983. It is also in San Mateo County, while Palo Alto is in Santa Clara County. The two cities are separated only by San Francisquito Creek and, largely, the Bayshore Freeway. The revitalization projects in 2000, and high income high-tech professionals moving into new developments, including employees from Google and Facebook, have begun to eliminate the cultural and economic differences between the two cities. East Palo Alto and Palo Alto share both telephone area codes and postal ZIP codes.
Redwood Shores is a waterfront community in Redwood City, California along the western shore of San Francisco Bay on the San Francisco Peninsula in San Mateo County. Redwood Shores is the home of several major technology companies, including Oracle Corporation, Electronic Arts, Nintendo, Zuora, Qualys, Crystal Dynamics and Shutterfly. The Redwood Shores ZIP code 94065 appeared on the Forbes list of America's most expensive ZIP codes.
San Pablo Bay is a tidal estuary that forms the northern extension of San Francisco Bay in the East Bay and North Bay regions of the San Francisco Bay Area in northern California.
Benicia State Recreation Area is a state park unit of California, United States, protecting tidal wetland. It is located in the Solano County city of Benicia, 2 miles (3.2 km) west of downtown Benicia and borders Vallejo's Glen Cove neighborhood. The park covers 447 acres (181 ha) of marsh, grassy hillsides and rocky beaches along the narrowest portion of the Carquinez Strait. Southampton Creek and the tidal marsh front Southampton Bay, where the combined waters of the Sacramento and San Joaquin Rivers approach San Pablo Bay, the northern portion of San Francisco Bay.
The salt marsh harvest mouse, also known as the red-bellied harvest mouse, is an endangered rodent endemic to the San Francisco Bay Area salt marshes in California. The two distinct subspecies are both endangered and listed together on federal and state endangered-species lists. The northern subspecies is lighter in color and inhabits the northern marshes of the bay, and the southern subspecies lives in the East and South Bay marshes. They are both quite similar in appearance to their congener species, the Western harvest mouse, R. megalotis, to which they are not closely related. Genetic studies of the northern subspecies have revealed that the salt marsh harvest mouse is most closely related to the plains harvest mouse, R. montanus, which occurs now in the Midwest. Its endangered designation is due to its limited range, historic decline in population and continuing threat of habitat loss due to development encroachment at the perimeter of San Francisco Bay.
Don Edwards San Francisco Bay National Wildlife Refuge (DESFBNWR) is a United States National Wildlife Refuge located in the southern part of San Francisco Bay, California. The Refuge headquarters and visitor center is located in the Baylands district of Fremont, next to Coyote Hills Regional Park, in Alameda County. The visitor center is on Marshlands Rd, off Thornton Ave.
Bair Island is a marsh area in Redwood City, California, covering 3,000 acres (1,200 ha), and includes three islands: Inner, Middle and Outer islands. Bair Island is part of the larger Don Edwards San Francisco Bay National Wildlife Refuge. It is surrounded by the Steinberger slough to the northwest and Redwood Creek to the southeast.
Sporobolus alterniflorus, or synonymously known as Spartina alterniflora, the smooth cordgrass, saltmarsh cordgrass, or salt-water cordgrass, is a perennial deciduous grass which is found in intertidal wetlands, especially estuarine salt marshes. It has been reclassified as Sporobolus alterniflorus after a taxonomic revision in 2014, but it is still common to see Spartina alterniflora and in 2019 an interdisciplinary team of experts coauthored a report published in the journal Ecology supporting Spartina as a genus. It grows 1–1.5 m (3.3–4.9 ft) tall and has smooth, hollow stems that bear leaves up to 20–60 cm long and 1.5 cm wide at their base, which are sharply tapered and bend down at their tips. Like its relative saltmeadow cordgrass S. patens, it produces flowers and seeds on only one side of the stalk. The flowers are a yellowish-green, turning brown by the winter. It has rhizoidal roots, which, when broken off, can result in vegetative asexual growth. The roots are an important food resource for snow geese. It can grow in low marsh as well as high marsh, but it is usually restricted to low marsh because it is outcompeted by salt meadow cordgrass in the high marsh. It grows in a wide range of salinities, from about 5 psu to marine, and has been described as the "single most important marsh plant species in the estuary" of Chesapeake Bay. It is described as intolerant of shade.
Ridgway's rail is a near-threatened species of bird. It is found principally in California's San Francisco Bay to southern Baja California. A member of the rail family, Rallidae, it is a chicken-sized bird that rarely flies.
San Francisquito Creek is a creek that flows into southwest San Francisco Bay in California, United States. Historically it was called the Arroyo de San Francisco by Juan Bautista de Anza in 1776. San Francisquito Creek courses through the towns of Portola Valley and Woodside, as well as the cities of Menlo Park, Palo Alto, and East Palo Alto. The creek and its Los Trancos Creek tributary define the boundary between San Mateo and Santa Clara counties.
The Napa Sonoma Marsh is a wetland at the northern edge of San Pablo Bay, which is a northern arm of the San Francisco Bay in California, United States. This marsh has an area of 48,000 acres (194 km2), of which 13,000 acres (53 km2) are abandoned salt evaporation ponds. The United States Government has designated 13,000 acres (53 km2) in the Napa Sonoma Marsh as the San Pablo Bay National Wildlife Refuge.
Cordelia Slough is a 10.8-mile-long (17.4 km) tidal watercourse which discharges to the Suisun Slough, which in turn empties into Grizzly Bay in Solano County, California. The Suisun Slough, fed by the Green Valley Creek and Red Top Creek, provides a productive habitat for a diversity of aquatic flora and fauna. In particular steelhead migrate up Cordelia Slough to spawn in its two tributaries.
The Seal Beach National Wildlife Refuge is a wildlife refuge encompassing 965 acres (3.91 km2) located in the California coastal community of Seal Beach. Although it is located in Orange County it is included as part of the San Diego National Wildlife Refuge Complex. It was established in 1972.
Adobe Creek is a 14.2-mile-long (22.9 km) northward-flowing stream originating on Black Mountain in Santa Clara County, California, United States. It courses through the cities of Los Altos Hills, Los Altos, and Palo Alto. Historically, Adobe Creek was perennial and hosted runs of steelhead trout entering from southwestern San Francisco Bay.
Matadero Creek is a stream originating in the foothills of the Santa Cruz Mountains in Santa Clara County, California, United States. The creek flows in a northeasterly direction for 8 miles (13 km) until it enters the Palo Alto Flood Basin, where it joins Adobe Creek in the Palo Alto Baylands at the north end of the Mayfield Slough, just before its culmination in southwest San Francisco Bay. Matadero Creek begins in the city of Los Altos Hills, then traverses the Stanford University lands and Palo Alto.
The Palo Alto Baylands Nature Preserve, known officially as the Baylands Nature Preserve, is the largest tract of undisturbed marshland remaining in the San Francisco Bay. Fifteen miles of multi-use trails provide access to a unique mixture of tidal and fresh water habitats. The preserve encompasses 1,940 acres in both Palo Alto and East Palo Alto, and is owned by the city of Palo Alto, California, United States. It is an important habitat for migratory shorebirds and is considered one of the best birdwatching spots on the West Coast.
The Kendall-Frost Mission Bay Marsh Reserve is a 20-acre University of California Natural Reserve System reserve on the northern shore of Mission Bay in San Diego County, California. Administered by UC San Diego, the site is owned by the University of California and managed for teaching and research.
Greco Island is a wetland island in Redwood City, California. Greco Island is part of the larger Don Edwards San Francisco Bay National Wildlife Refuge. Westpoint Slough follows the South side of the island while Redwood Creek is along the West. The San Francisco Bay bounds the North and East sides of the island.
The San Francisco Bay Salt Ponds are an approximately 16,500-acre (6,700 ha) part of the San Francisco Bay that have been used as salt evaporation ponds since the California Gold Rush era. Most of the ponds were once wetlands in the cities of Redwood City, Newark, Hayward and other parts of the bay.
Boat users need to be sensitive to wildlife, high tide refugia, and marsh habitat, observe buffer distances, and not land in any location besides the Sailing Station, including Hooks Island, located across from the Sailing Station. Additionally, there are areas located nearby where a boater who lands inappropriately could disturb nesting Western burrowing owls (Mountain View) or Western snowy plovers (Alviso or Ravenswood). The City of Palo Alto Municipal Code prohibits trampling vegetation and/or harassing wildlife and non‐permitted activities in the marsh constitute violations and are subject to fines of $1,000 or more