Pacific Southwest Region
California, Nevada and Klamath Basin

Public Workshops Announced for March 3 and 9 to Explain Draft Recovery Plan for Tidal Marshes of San Francisco and Suisun Bays

Feb 24, 2010


February 24, 2010
Contact: Al Donner, 916-414-6566,, or 916-712-2004 (cell) 


Public Workshops Announced for March 3 and 9 to Explain Draft Recovery Plan for Tidal Marshes of San Francisco and Suisun Bays

Two public workshops are scheduled by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) for early March to explain a new voluntary federal plan for restoring San Francisco and Suisun Bay’s degraded tidal marshes.

The first public workshop will take place in the South Bay on Wednesday, March 3 in the Fremont Community Center, 40204 Paseo Padre Parkway, Fremont. The public is invited to come any time between 4 pm and 6:30 pm  

The second workshop will take place in the North Bay on Tuesday, March 9 in the PRBO San Francisco Bay Center, 3820 Cypress Drive, Petaluma. The public is invited to come any time between 4 pm and 6:30 pm.  

Both workshops are informal, with a short overview presentation that will be repeated as necessary. The workshop will provide extensive opportunity to learn about the draft plan directly from FWS biologists who developed it.

A public comment period runs through June 10, to encourage all interested parties to contribute their thoughts and ideas for the plan.

The Bay Area’s original marshes now remain on less than 10 percent of the area they encompassed before settlement began. Many of the existing marshes have been degraded from invasive species and other factors. As a consequence, many native animals and plants are in peril.  For example, less than 3,000 California clapper rails, a shy bird whose only home is in California’s coastal marshes, remain today.

Six federally-protected species are the direct focus of the plan -- the California clapper rail, the salt marsh harvest mouse and four rare plants. By helping those species the plan also will improve conditions for 11 other imperiled species that do not have formal protection under the federal Endangered Species Act (ESA), including song sparrows, shrews and voles.

“Only eight per cent of the San Francisco Bay’s historic tidal marshes remain viable today,” explains Susan Moore, Field Supervisor in the Sacramento Fish and Wildlife Office. “Along much of the Bay the natural width of the tidal marshes has been squeezed in drastically, sometimes to just a few yards.

“The voluntary revitalization of our tidal marshes is a huge challenge that needs the support and efforts of many people and organizations. Fortunately, there is a great awareness and affection for the San Francisco Bay that can bring many people and groups together to help recover some of our tidal marshes. We look forward to working with the community in this recovery effort,” Moore emphasized.

Recovery plans are entirely voluntary, long-range strategies to help protected species regain their natural health, with the ultimate goal of enabling them to be removed from protected status. The draft plan lays out a 50-year timeline to achieve its goals. A wide range of actions are envisioned, including habitat acquisitions and protection, monitoring surveys and research, achieved with a broad public cooperation and coordination.  Even overuse of the tidelands by people who enjoy the bayshore can have an adverse impact on some tidal marsh species.  

Habitat loss is the most obvious challenge, because so much tidal marsh has been lost or degraded. In some areas the remaining marsh is only a few yards wide and the potential for sea level rise threatens even that. Other threats include invasive plants and animals, such as non-native red foxes and smooth cordgrass (Spartina alterniflora).  

Full information about the plan can be found at . The plan can be downloaded at

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