Pacific Southwest Region
California, Nevada and Klamath Basin

International Recognition of San Francisco Bay Celebrated in North Bay

May 10, 2013

For Immediate Release      

May 10, 2013                                              

Contact:Doug Cordell  (510) 774-4080,

International Recognition of San Francisco Bay Celebrated in North Bay

Rep. Huffman, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Audubon and Others Celebrate Designation of S.F. Bay as “Ramsar” Wetland of International Importance

FREMONT, CA – At a ceremony this afternoon in Tiburon, Calif., U.S. Representative Jared Huffman joined Rowan Gould, Deputy Director of Operations for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Mike Sutton, Vice President for the Pacific Flyway, National Audubon Society, and others to celebrate the 2013 designation of the San Francisco Bay as a “Ramsar” Wetland of International Importance, in accordance with the 1971 global convention on wetlands adopted in Ramsar, Iran.

“San Francisco Bay is a natural wonder and a critical ecological resource, but it faces a number of threats, including development, pollution, climate change and invasive species,” said Gould in the afternoon ceremony at the Richardson Bay Audubon Center and Sanctuary in Tiburon. “The Ramsar recognition of the bay as a globally significant wetland is a dramatic statement in favor of protecting this vital estuary for generations to come.”

The designation of the San Francisco Bay as a Ramsar Wetland of International Importance was made on World Wetlands Day, Feb. 2, 2013. There are currently six Ramsar sites in California, and thirty-five in the United States. To qualify as a Ramsar site, a wetland must exhibit superlative biodiversity and the presence of rare or unique wetland types. Ramsar sites benefit from increased conservation status and recognition, and can be eligible for greater conservation funding. They also typically benefit from increased tourism, fishing, recreation and public support. Countries that are signatories to the Convention on Wetlands of International Importance nominate sites within their borders for Ramsar designation.

The San Francisco Bay is the largest estuary on the Pacific Coast of the United States, covering 1,600 square miles. Despite losing one third of its size and about 85 percent of its wetlands to development, the bay remains critical ecologically, accounting for 77 percent of California’s perennial estuarine wetlands. It provides key habitat for a broad range of flora and fauna, and offers flood protection, improved water quality, and carbon sequestration. It also provides an array of economic and social benefits related to ports and industry, agriculture, fisheries, archaeological and cultural sites, recreation and research.

The mission of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is working with others to conserve, protect, and enhance fish, wildlife, plants, and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. We are both a leader and trusted partner in fish and wildlife conservation, known for our scientific excellence, stewardship of lands and natural resources, dedicated professionals, and commitment to public service. For more information on our work and the people who make it happen, visit Connect with our Facebook page, follow our tweets, watch our YouTube Channel, and download photos from our Flickr page.