San Francisco Bay Estuary Field Station

Science Center Objects

The San Francisco Bay Field Station is the center of studies on recovering tidal wetland ecosystems and ongoing efforts to balance the restoration of local marshes and the needs of seabirds. Click on the "Science" tab for a comprehensive summary of this station and its research.

WERC Greater Scaup in San Francisco Bay

Greater Scaup in San Francisco Bay. (Public domain.)

The watersheds of the Central Valley drain into the San Francisco Bay estuary, the largest estuary on the lower west coast of North America. The estuary is home to eight million people and is the source of water for a large part of California. More than ninety percent of the original wetlands have been lost to development in the past century, and because the region is highly urbanized, remaining wetlands are threatened by agricultural, industrial, and municipal contaminants. Yet, the paradox of this estuary is found in the richness of its natural resources. The estuary is an international hemispheric shorebird reserve site, provides a major wintering area for waterfowl, and supports many resident endangered or candidate wildlife species of salt marsh habitats. 

The San Francisco Bay Estuary Field Station is co-located with the San Pablo Bay National Wildlife Refuge, a refuge in the Don Edwards San Francisco Bay NWR Complex, and with the San Francisco Bay office for the Ecological Services division of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The field station is located on Mare Island, a recently decommissioned Naval Shipyard facility that had operated since the 1850s.