A naturalist’s must-see destination: San Francisco Bay

San Francisco Bay © 2004 Matthew Trump

Image via Wikipedia

I thought it might be interesting to take some time each week over the next few months to get to know a particular body of water in different regions of the world. For today I am starting off with the San Francisco Bay.

The San Francisco Bay is an extraordinary place that has undergone changes just as big as the state of California itself. The Bay is rather shallow at an average of 18 feet deep. Surprisingly, the watershed for the Bay is just about 40% of the state of California!

San Francisco Bay, Suisan Bay, San Pablo Bay and the Sacramento-Joaquin Delta are the connected inlets that we call the San Francisco Bay waterway, a true urban estuary, with the freshwater coming from the Sacramento and San Joaquin rivers. I think this Bay is particularly interesting since it is a tectonic estuary and has been formed by the movement of the San Andreas fault.

Over recent years (since the time of the Gold Rush when humans really began to alter the landscape of the Bay), the Bay has seen a reduction in over 85% of its marshland. With the diversion of freshwater from north of the Bay (where most of the state’s freshwater is located) to below the Bay (where most of the state’s people are located) the Bay has seen a balance shift affecting many of its natural systems. For more information about how to Save the Bay visit the Save the Bay San Francisco. They have been working to restore the balance of humans and nature in the Bay since 1961.