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


In-person part of the hybrid Motus workshop
Forming a Bay Area Motus Network
  Last week, staff from ACE Basin NERR in South Carolina and partners from Mississippi State University came to the SF Bay N…
Changing of the Guard at the SF Bay NERR - NERR Manager Retires, Interim Manager Appointed
Mike Vasey, the Director of the SF Bay NERR since 2013, is retiring! Mike has had a long and highly engaged career working i…
Allie in front of Point Reyes shore.
Pearls of Wisdom from NERR Graduate Student Allie Margulies
Pictured above: Allie visiting Point Reyes National Seashore. Though the decision to relocate and leave her environmental planning job was not easy for Allie Margulies, she has never sec… Don’t eat the oysters  Working with the NERR Research Lab, Allie is now directing her graduate work towards a tiny Bay Area…
Picture of Nyri tabling for Discovery Day at the EOS center
Spotlight on Nyri Scanlon: Scientist and Curator Extraordinaire
Nyri tabling for Discovery Day at the EOS Center.  Spotlight on Nyri Growing up in Newport Beach, Nyri Scanlon and her grandpa were regulars of the glimmering coast. One day,… How to Read a Science Paper (and understand it too!) Read the abstract of the paper first. Research papers are written like… Surveying California seablite (Suaeda californica) in the San Francisco Bay as part of an SFSU research study. …