San Francisco Bay Estuary (USA)

  • Beth Huning
  • Mike Perlmutter
Reference work entry


The San Francisco Bay Estuary (SFBE) is the second largest estuary in the United States, encompassing approximately 4,145 km2 (1600 mi2) and draining about 40% (155,400 km2; 60,000 mi2) of the State of California through the Sacramento and San Joaquin Rivers, which pass through the San Francisco Bay-Delta to the Pacific Ocean. The SFBE has perhaps suffered the most extensive degradation of any estuary in the United States. Many years of diking, draining, filling, pollution, and introduction of alien species have taken a great toll on the ecosystem. Although 80% of the tidal salt marshes have been lost, many of the remaining marshes are now protected, and there are large-scale restoration efforts under way to return salt evaporation ponds, agricultural areas, and some urban areas back to tidal wetlands. The SFBE was designated as a Wetland of International Importance under the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands in 2013.


Ridgeway’s rail Estuary Shorebird Tidal wetlands Salt marsh California Ramsar Salt marsh harvest mouse Waterfowl 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V., part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.San Francisco Bay Joint VentureFairfaxUSA
  2. 2.Environmental Services DivisionCity of Oakland Public Works DepartmentOaklandUSA

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