The San Francisco Bay is one of America’s great estuaries. Over the years, urbanization and the transformation of open spaces to more intensive land uses have contributed to the marginalization of the region’s native species and their habitats — wetlands in particular.

Scientists agree that the Bay needs at least 100,000 acres of healthy wetland habitat to function effectively. There are approximately 51,300 acres of tidal marsh in the Bay as of 2015. More than 24,000 additional acres of Bay wetlands are planned and permitted for restoration. In addition to habitat, restored wetlands provide exciting areas for recreation and wildlife viewing.

In 2016, Bay Area residents overwhelmingly voted for the San Francisco Bay Clean Water, Pollution Prevention and Habitat Restoration Measure, which will raise approximately $25 million annually over twenty years to fund shoreline projects that will restore thousands of acres of wetland habitat, enhance recreational access to the Bay, improve water quality, and protect vulnerable infrastructure.

The Water Trail’s mission complements the wildlife-oriented public access and recreation goals associated with the restoration projects.

people raking vegetation along a levee

Weed management volunteer group at Pond A17 on the Don Edwards San Francisco Bay National Wildlife Refuge, which is managed by the USFWS. The restoration of Pond A17 was planned by the South Bay Salt Ponds Restoration Project, led by the California Coastal Conservancy. – Photo provided by the San Francisco Bay Bird Observatory.

Additional Information

San Francisco Bay Restoration Authority

San Francisco Estuary Partnership

San Francisco Bay Joint Venture – Projects