Harbor Seals

A goal without a plan is just a wish ― Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

The Don Edwards San Francisco Bay National Wildlife Refuge was established with three major purposes. The most important of these is the preservation of the natural resources of the South Bay which includes, but not limited to, habitat of migratory birds, harbor seals, and threatened and endangered species. The second major purpose is to provide environmental education and wildlife interpretation opportunities to Bay Area schools and residents. The third purpose is to ensure the preservation of open space and wildlife-oriented recreation for the benefit of local residents and visitors.  

Management Plans 

Several conservation and restoration plans guide the conservation priorities of the refuge.   

Comprehensive Conservation Plan
The Comprehensive Conservation Plan guides management for the Refuge for the next 15 years. The goals, objectives, and strategies for improving Refuge conditions—including the types of habitat we will provide, partnership opportunities, and management actions needed to achieve desired conditions – are described in this plan. 

Learn more

Step Down Plans
Occasionally, more detailed management plans are needed for specific habitats, projects, or activities. A list of available plans can be found on the Planning Documents page.

Setting Management Priorities
Beginning late 2016, the Refuge has been participating in a series of workshops to identify conservation priorities. This work is guided by a conservation planning process called the Open Standards for the Practice of Conservation. The priorities chosen well help us continue to achieve our conservation mission despite increasingly limited funding and staff.

Learn more about the process and our progress. 

National Wildlife Refuge System Improvement Act of 1997 

The National Wildlife Refuge System Improvement Act of 1997 defines a unifying mission for all refuges, including a process for determining compatible uses on refuges, and requiring that each refuge be managed according to a Comprehensive Conservation Plan. The Improvement Act expressly states that wildlife conservation is the priority of System lands and that the Secretary shall ensure that the biological integrity, diversity, and environmental health of refuge lands are maintained. Each refuge must be managed to fulfill the specific purposes for which the refuge was established and the System mission. The first priority of each refuge is to conserve, manage, and if needed, restore fish and wildlife populations and habitats according to its purpose.