What We Do

San Francisco Bay NERR Program Overview

The San Francisco Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve is one of 29 National Estuarine Research Reserves established nationwide as field laboratories for scientific research and estuarine education. 

Our mission is to improve understanding and stewardship of the San Francisco Bay estuary, with a broader relevance to the ecosystems beyond the Golden Gate.

Our two reserves at Rush Ranch and China Camp serve as research sites for scientists; classrooms for teachers, land managers and naturalists; and inspiring places for Bay Area residents to visit.



sfbay nerr map welcome page

Research and Monitoring

Our research objectives are to maintain and expand biophysical and socio-economic monitoring to track environmental change, increase the use of collaborative research to address decision-maker needs, and ensure that scientific, education, and management audiences can use the data and tools developed by the system.


Our education mission includes an emphasis on education, interpretation, and outreach. We conduct formal and informal education activities, as well as outreach activities that target culturally diverse audiences of educators and students, environmental professionals, resource users, and the public.


The fundamental goal of stewardship is to ensure the long-term viability and resiliency of natural and cultural resources through restoration, conservation, and maintenance of reserve resources and ecosystems.

Coastal Training

The Coastal Training Program provides up-to-date scientific information and skill-building opportunities to coastal decision-makers responsible for making decisions affecting coastal resources. 



Partner logos for San Francisco State, California State Parks, NOAA
Partner logos for Solano Land Trust and BCDC

Estuary and Ocean Science Center at SFSU

California State Parks

Friends of China Camp

Solano Land Trust

San Francisco Bay Conservation & Development Commission 

San Francisco Bay NERR Management Advisory Board



Our San Francisco Bay Reserve is part of NOAA's National Estuarine Research Reserve System (NERRS) a national network of 29 reserves.

NERR System Map showing locations of reserves

Priority Management Issues

Coastal Resilience

Need for improved capacity to prepare, respond to and recover from changing environmental conditions and unpredictable extreme events


Coastal Intelligence

Need for timely, actionable information to make informed choices about management decisions for the conservation and restoration of the estuary



Need for broader engagement of diverse audiences to support estuarine conservation and stewardship activities


Latest News


Bird with a motus tag
Motus Network - Bay Nature Article
    Read about Bay Area Motus efforts happening in Keeping Up With the Flyers: Wildlife Tracking Breakthroughs by David Loeb…
Catie at the EOS Center graduation (May, 2022).
Newly decreed NERR’d-Catie Thow, M.S.
  Taking the narrow, winding road along Paradise Drive in Tiburon, California, maybe getting carsick along the way, you will… In truth, the EOS Center is so much more than its awe inspiring surroundings and a home for the SF Bay NERR. It is the past… Today, this diverse history of indigenous, military, and scientific uses shapes the future of the San Francisco Estuary by s…
Julie holding a crab
Scientists Get Crabby at China Camp
  Renowned for its beauty and a hub of marine activity, San Francisco Bay is also one of the most invaded estuaries in the w… Results will help coastal resource managers better understand the individual and combined impacts of these stressors, so man… How crab fishermen can help If you’re using a crab trap in San Francisco Bay, or you know someone who crab-fishes here, you…
Group of people, some wearing shirts that say Downtown Streets Team, stand by the marsh overlooking the water with binoculars in hand to see birds.
Bringing Science Education Downtown
  Why is the ocean salty? Why do pigeons bob their heads when they walk? Can crows remember faces? These are just some of th… “Hey guys be sure to get all the cigarette butts, we got to take care of the birds!” Since the first Nature and Bird Walk, we have held two more outings at Pickleweed Park and most recently, China Camp State P…