Celebrate World Wetlands Day

February 2nd is internationally recognized as World Wetlands Day. World Wetlands Day is celebrated to raise awareness about the importance of wetlands, their fragility, and our responsibility to advocate for their conservation and restoration.1

Photo: Horii

Wetlands are areas of land that are saturated with water either seasonally or year round.1 Because of their unique make-up, wetlands are home to both marine and land animals and support a large variation of plant life. Wetland habitats process harmful nutrients from inflowing water and convert them into biomass or gas, providing water quality protection.2 When floods occur due to heavy rain or sea water rise, wetlands are able to absorb and store floodwater, acting as a buffer to nearby communities.3

Wetland Benefits

Fight Climate ChangeProtect CommunitiesEncourage Recreation
Tidal marshes capture and store carbon from the atmosphere up to five times more than tropical forests.3Act as sponges, slowing down and soaking up large quantities of water from storms, high tides, and sea level rise.3An open space to kayak, hike, birdwatch, and more.3
Boost the EconomyProvide HabitatFilter Pollution
Provide economic benefits through tourism, fishing, and recreation.3Serve as foraging and breeding grounds for hundreds of species, including many that are threatened or endangered.3Tidal marsh plants trap polluted runoff from cities before harmful toxins can reach open water.3

Over the last 300 years, the world has lost almost 90% of wetland habitat as a result of human activity. Such activity includes but is not limited to pollution, introduction of nonnative species, and direct manipulation by damming or draining.3 The consequences of wetland degradation have been dire: the extinction of hundreds of species, decline in water quality, and heightened flooding. Further, as climate change increases the occurrence of flooding, the loss of wetlands proves dangerous for communities living in vulnerable areas.

San Francisco Bay Wetlands

The San Francisco Bay is the largest estuary on the West Coast with a vast expanse of wetlands covering the area. Over 90% of tidal marsh in the Bay has been destroyed in the past 200 years due to development and agriculture.3 As climate change leads to sea level rise in the Bay, our communities have lost the natural protection that wetlands provide against rising waters. Save The Bay has worked since its establishment to conserve and restore wetlands in the Bay, not only for the health of the environment but also to protect our communities from the impacts of climate change.

Site being prepared for restoration
Restored tidal marsh

Save The Bay’s Work

Save The Bay’s Habitat Restoration Team, in partnership with many region wide organizations, has worked tirelessly to restore and conserve wetland habitat throughout the Bay Area. Here’s a comprehensive list of what we have accomplished and continue to work towards:

Martin Luther King Jr. Regional Shoreline

Save The Bay has been partnered with the East Bay Regional Park District for over 20 years on the Martin Luther King, Jr. Shoreline to restore nearby habitat and operate a native plant nursery. One of our biggest volunteer sites, the MLK Nursery works as a home base for plant propagation that we transfer to other areas in the East Bay.3

  • Acres: 3.9

Ravenswood Salt Ponds

Save The Bay outplanted at the R4 slope at the Ravenswood Salt Pond, a transition zone a part of the ongoing South Bay Salt Pond Restoration Project. Along with partner organizations, we experimented with new methods of planting that proved efficient for such a large surface area, successfully aiding in the restoration of the habitat.3

  • Acres: 9

All-American Canal

The All-American Canal is an ongoing project, and the largest that Save The Bay has ever tackled. A continuation of our work at the Ravenswood Salt Ponds, the AAC is a part of the South Bay Salt Pond Restoration Project.4 We have been working alongside partners to revegetate a 16-acre tidal marsh slope, the second phase of a 25-acre slope restoration plan at Bedwell Bayfront Park.4 We use our newfound farming techniques to vegetate the large scale slope, hoping to restore all 16-acres of the All-American Canal once the project is over.4

Acres: 16

Palo Alto Baylands

For over 20 years, Save The Bay has been working with the City of Palo Alto to restore Palo Alto wetlands in various locations. We constructed a native plant nursery that has been a hub for volunteers and students. We continue our work at this site by removing non-native species, conducting trash clean-ups, and planting native plants.3

  • Acres: 6.52

Bair Island

Along with the USFWS, Save The Bay spent almost two decades contributing to the restoration of the Bair Island wetland complex, and invited volunteers to participate. Currently, our team maintains and monitors the site’s transition-zone habitat.3

  • Acres: 4.25

Eden Landing Ecological Reserve

Over the past 16 years, Save The Bay has worked to restore over six acres of transition zone habitat at Eden Landing Ecological Reserve.3 Our team outplanted using native plants typically found in the area of Bay margins, creating a useful habitat for endangered species. Volunteers have been incredibly helpful in the restoration of this area.

  • Acres: 6.09

Bel Marin Keys

In 2017, Save The Bay worked with California Coastal Conservancy and Novato Baylands Stewards to revegetate seasonal wetlands for the Bel Marin Keys Wetland Restoration Project. With new techniques, our team built over 80 division beds near the project site, using plants grown at the nursery to then outplant on the site until Spring 2022.3

  • Acres: 44

Oro Loma Sanitary District (Past Site)

In 2014, Save The Bay worked on the Oro Loma Horizontal Levee Demonstration, a project aimed to use wetlands to treat wastewater. We built a nursery onsite and installed more than 70,000 plants in the area.3

  • Acres: 1.4

Get Involved – Volunteer with Us!

Save The Bay has been working tirelessly to continue to conserve and restore wetlands – but we can’t do it alone. If you want to celebrate World Wetlands Day this year, volunteer at one of our sites and be a part of the fight for a healthy environment and community!


  1. About – World Wetlands Day
  2. Modification of Water Quality
  3. Save The Bay: Restore
  4. Introducing: All-American Canal Wetland Restoration Project