San Francisco Bay/Estuary (SFBE)

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San Francisco Bay/Estuary (SFBE)

  • Country: 
    United States of America
  • Site number: 
  • Area: 
    158,710.9 ha
  • Designation date: 
  • Coordinates: 
    37°52'N 122°22'W
Materials presented on this website, particularly maps and territorial information, are as-is and as-available based on available data and do not imply the expression of any opinion whatsoever on the part of the Secretariat of the Ramsar Convention concerning the legal status of any country, territory, city or area, or of its authorities, or concerning the delimitation of its frontiers or boundaries.


San Francisco Bay/Estuary (SFBE). 02/02/13; California; 158,711 ha; 37°52'N 122°23'W. UNESCO Biosphere Reserve; includes National Wildlife Refuges and other protected areas. San Francisco Bay is the largest estuary on the Pacific Coast of the US, encompassing approximately 160,000 hectares. SFBE is widely recognized as one of North America's most ecologically important estuaries, accounting for 77% of California's remaining perennial estuarine wetlands and providing key habitat for a broad suite of flora and fauna and a range of ecological services such as flood protection, water quality maintenance, nutrient filtration and cycling, and carbon sequestration. The site is home to many plant species and over 1,000 species of animals, including endemic and conservation status species. It is noted for hosting more wintering shorebirds than any other estuary along the US Pacific Coast south of Alaska and is recognized as a site of Hemispheric Importance by the Western Hemisphere Shorebird Reserve Network. It is also important for over 130 species of resident and migratory marine, estuarine and anadromous fish species. Development pressures on remaining wetlands and adjacent uplands continue to threaten habitats not owned or managed for conservation. The site is a renowned international tourism destination. Parts of the site are within the UNESCO Golden Gate Biosphere Reserve (1988). Ramsar site no. 2097. Most recent RIS information: 2013.

Administrative region: 

  • Global international designation: 
    • UNESCO Biosphere Reserve
  • National legal designation: 
    • National Recreation Area - Golden Gate
    • National Wildlife Refuge - Antioch Dunes
    • National Wildlife Refuge - Don Edwards
    • National Wildlife Refuge - Marin Islands
    • National Wildlife Refuge - San Pablo Bay
  • Last publication date: 


Ramsar Information Sheet (RIS)

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