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Save The Bay works to restore Bay habitat at significant scale, both through advancing sound science and by securing the funding necessary for these projects.


The Bay Area receives numerous ecological and economic benefits from the wetlands. Healthy tidal marshes serve as the kidneys of the Bay, filtering out harmful pollutants and improving water quality. This vital habitat gives life to hundreds of fish and wildlife species and plays an integral role forming the base of marine and terrestrial food webs. When tidal marshes thrive, people thrive, too.

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Clean Water

Wetland plants filter the pollution to actually clean the Bay by trapping polluted runoff before toxins can reach open water.

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Economic Benefits

California’s wetlands provide tremendous benefits to the state from tourism, fishing, and recreation.

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Help Curb Global Warming

Tidal marshes are one of the natural systems that capture and store carbon from the atmosphere.

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Habitat for Sensitive Species

Healthy tidal marshes serve as foraging and breeding grounds, providing food for hundreds of species, including many that are threatened and endangered.

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Open Space and Recreation

Wetlands are beautiful areas of open space around the highly urbanized Bay Area, and many trails and parks near wetlands provide residents with places to hike, birdwatch, bike, kayak, and more.

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Protect Communities from Floods and Sea Level Rise

Many residents live and work at or below sea level. Wetlands can provide flood protection because they act as sponges, slowing down and soaking up large quantities of water from storms and high tides.

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In 2016, Save The Bay and other partners successfully secured passage of Measure AA, which will provide $500 million to fund critical restoration projects over the next 20 years.

How We Got Here

Despite how important these lands are, over the last 200 years, we lost 90 percent of the Bay’s wetlands due to human activity. Around the Bay, wetlands were diked, drained, or converted to areas for agriculture, salt production, and urban development. Save The Bay’s report, Greening The Bay, outlined the need for 100,000 acres of tidal marsh habitat around the Bay and identified local funding as the key to creating a healthy Bay for future generations.  In 2016, Save The Bay and other partners successfully secured passage of Measure AA, which will provide $500 million to fund critical restoration projects over the next 20 years. This fund will allocate resources for the restoration, enhancement, protection, and enjoyment of wetlands and wildlife habitat in San Francisco Bay and along its shoreline.


The transition zone, or ecotone, is the integrated area where two different habitats meet. Along the Bay’s shoreline, the continuum of habitats includes subtidal, tidal marsh, transition zone, and uplands. This historically wide, gently sloping habitat between the marsh and uplands is an integral component of a complete wetland system and in many areas, it’s been reduced to a mere few feet wide. This habitat is where Save The Bay’s Habitat Restoration team focuses their efforts.

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Transition zones provide resources and refuge from high tides for a number of important species including the Ridgway’s Rail and the salt marsh harvest mouse, both federally endangered and endemic species to the Bay Area. These areas also serve as movement corridors, an important function connecting the two neighboring habitats. Restoring wetland transition zones reconnects habitat fragmented due to human activity, and in turn better supports the complex and interconnected ecology of the Baylands.


Save The Bay operates four nursery facilities to support our habitat restoration work. We propagate and outplant approximately 35,000–40,000 plants each year, between our facilities in the Palo Alto Baylands and the Martin Luther King, Jr. Shoreline. Our operations at the Oro Loma Sanitary District and Bel Marin Keys provide the extra capacity to significantly scale up our propagation numbers and grow plants for large wetland restoration projects.


Some of our restoration partners include: