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.
A new white paper looks at this invaluable habitat ecosystem in San Francisco Bay
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.
Interesting article looks at recent study attempting to identify why Surf Scoters and other waterbirds in San Francisco Bay are dwinding?
November marks the 10-year anniversary of the Cosco Busan oil spill in San Francisco Bay. With that in mind, we recently revisited our restoration project on Aramburu Island in Richardson Bay that was largely inspired by the disaster. We're happy to report that the birds are responding well to the newly created habitat.
News of proposed budget cuts at the Environmental Protection Agency bode ill for conservation in San Francisco Bay and San Diego, as two major programs are on the chopping block.
In San Francisco Bay, the EPA looks to cut its entire $4.8 million budget for clean water and wetlands restoration programs. This is particularly bad news, as San Francisco Bay has never received a proportionate share of federal restoration funding.
Last year, residents of Bay Area communities approved Measure AA, which will raise about $500 million over the next 20 years for wetlands restoration. Leaders had intended to use this money to leverage greater investment from the federal government.
The EPA is also proposing to cut the $3 million it spent last year on cleaning up pollution in the Tijuana Estuary down to $275,000. This area is the last remaining large wetland in Southern California, and is an Important Bird Area. Endangered Ridgeways Rails and Light-footed Rails make great use of the area.
In addition to cuts specifically targeting California, we also learned of proposed cuts that will go into effect nationwide, but will certainly impact things we Californians care about, such as gutting programs that test coastal water quality, educate our children about nature, address climate change, and reduce pollution in communities suffering the most.
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