The Mallard II has plied the San Francisco Bay's salt ponds since her keel was laid in 1936. The crew of the Mallard II works year-round, maintaining about 10 miles of our 200 miles of levees per year. The one notable exception: when the Mallard II heeded the nation's call during World War II, retrieving artillery shells from the Bay floor around Mare Island and Port Chicago.
Anchored on her spuds, or stabilizing legs, the dredge scoops up mud from a borrow ditch to place atop the levee. She's remarkably fuel efficient - the Mallard II can operate for two months or more between refuelings.
The Mallard II is typically accompanied by a flock of birds that flutter and circle overhead, eager for the tasty fish and other food brought up with each bucketful of mud.
The Mallard II helps maintain a network of gates, pumps and siphons to move water from the salt concentrator ponds to the evaporation ponds.