San Francisco Bay

Protecting the birds and habitat of the West Coast's largest estuary.

Richardson Bay is part of the larger San Francisco Bay. Photo: Alison Sheehey

Audubon California has long been committed to protecting the birds and habitat of the San Francisco Bay and its wetlands.

The San Francisco Bay area is recognized as an international biodiversity hotspot because of the vast number of species of birds, animals, plants found there – many of which are found nowhere else. The bay itself is the largest estuary on the West Coast, and is considered one of North America’s most important. It provides critical habitat for shorebirds, waterfowl, marsh birds, as well as over 500 species of fish, mammals, and plants, many of which are either threatened or endangered.

San Francisco Bay is a critical stopover point along the Pacific Flyway migration route of shorebirds and waterfowl, which number over one million birds at the height of migration, and includes three Important Bird Areas due to the high number of rare and endangered bird species and the sheer number of shorebirds and waterfowl supported by the by and surrounding wetlands. The area has also been recognized by the Western Hemisphere Shorebird Reserve Network, which ranks it as being of “Hemispheric Importance” to shorebirds.

Audubon California operates the largest estuarine reserve in San Francisco Bay, the Richardson Bay Audubon Center & Sanctuary, which protects 900 acres of San Francisco Bay habitat and provides a center for community education, restoration, and celebration of the Bay.

Richardson Bay Audubon Center & Sanctuary
About Us

Richardson Bay Audubon Center & Sanctuary

The Richardson Bay Audubon Center & Sanctuary is a remarkable slice of nature on the shores of the San Francisco Bay.

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Coastal Resiliency
Coastal Resiliency

Coastal Resiliency

Audubon is advancing nature-based strategies to help coastline communities weather the impacts of climate change.

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Sonoma Creek enhancement
Sonoma Creek restoration

Sonoma Creek restoration

Audubon California and its partners are bringing back 400-acres of wetland habitat in San Pablo Bay for the benefit of a variety of birds, including the endangered Ridgeway's Rail.

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Eelgrass, Herring, and Waterbirds in San Francisco Bay: Threats and Opportunities
San Francisco Bay

Eelgrass, Herring, and Waterbirds in San Francisco Bay: Threats and Opportunities

A new white paper looks at this invaluable habitat ecosystem in San Francisco Bay

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Black Oystercatcher in California
Audublog

Black Oystercatcher in California

This large, handsome shorebird is often seen on our coast, calling in loud springtime territorial displays, hunkered together in small winter flocks and prying limpets off rocks. Yet the species is rare across its range and poorly understood in California in particular.

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Important Bird Areas
Important Bird Areas

Important Bird Areas

Learn about Important Bird Areas (IBAs) in California.

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More San Francisco Bay news

 New Study Shows Seagrasses Buffer Ocean Acidification
Coastal Resiliency

New Study Shows Seagrasses Buffer Ocean Acidification

Eelgrass provides dozens of benefits to our coast and ocean. A groundbreaking new study further underlines its importance to marine birds and wildlife in a time of climate change.

It's on! Herring Run in SF Bay Attracts Thousands of Birds
Coastal Resiliency

It's on! Herring Run in SF Bay Attracts Thousands of Birds

San Francisco Bay is an ecologically rich estuary, significant for its large eelgrass beds, spawning areas for Pacific herring, and tens of thousands of wintering waterbirds and other wildlife. Each winter, waterbirds migrate to the waters in and around the Richardson Bay Wildlife Sanctuary to rest in the calm waters and feast on herring.

Audubon California: Richmond Spill More Than Enough to Damage Sensitive Ecosystem
Coastal Resiliency

Richmond Spill More Than Enough to Damage Sensitive Ecosystem

— SF Bay is a keystone of an ecosystem that supports everything from seabirds to herring.
Thriving Seabird Colony on Alcatraz Island
San Francisco Bay

The Thriving Seabird Colony on Alcatraz Island

Take a glimpse into this wildlife-viewing gem.

Albatrosses Killed by Longline Fishing Gear
San Francisco Bay

Albatrosses Killed by Longline Fishing Gear

Federal fisheries managers threaten albatrosses with another push for new pelagic longline fisheries off the west coast.

Senator Wieckowski highlights Alameda Creek restoration project to address sea level rise
Audublog

Senator Wieckowski highlights Alameda Creek restoration project to address sea level rise

Funding in the state budget will redesign the creek and improve marsh and bird habitat

Sausalito’s unregulated anchor-outs destroy eelgrass beds
Audublog

Sausalito’s unregulated anchor-outs destroy eelgrass beds

— Aerial images show ‘crop circles’ in eelgrass habitat

Surveying San Francisco Bay waterbirds for conservation

Oliver Ousterhout, a volunteer at the Richardson Bay Audubon Sanctuary, shot this terrific video of the center's ongoing waterbird survey. It features some of the staff and volunteers that make this important work possible. His personal website is www.oliverousterhout.com. Credit for the eelgrass footage goes to the Estuary and Ocean Science Center.

Eelgrass, Herring, and Waterbirds in San Francisco Bay: Threats and Opportunities
San Francisco Bay

Eelgrass, Herring, and Waterbirds in San Francisco Bay: Threats and Opportunities

A new white paper looks at this invaluable habitat ecosystem in San Francisco Bay

Tangled web of issues complicates effort to protect Richardson Bay's eelgrass
Audublog

Tangled web of issues complicates effort to protect Richardson Bay's eelgrass

Illegal anchorages are destroying Richardson Bay's eelgrass. Seems like a simple issue, right? Wrong.

Key San Francisco Bay birds

   

How you can help, right now