Environmental Protection

Marshes and Mudflats Star in San Francisco Bay Exhibit

Aquarium of the Bay recently unveiled an interactive exhibit focusing on marshes and mudflats of the San Francisco Bay. Funded by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the exhibit highlights the National Estuarine Research Reserve System (NERR), a state-federal government partnership that conducts scientific research and offers education programs about our nation's estuaries.

"The San Francisco Bay is the largest estuary on the west coast of North America," said Aquarium of the Bay Executive Director John Frawley. "As San Francisco's only aquarium that is dedicated to this body of water, NOAA's NERR exhibit is a perfect complement to our mission."

The exhibit features a floor-to-ceiling map of the San Francisco Bay, highlighting two local NERR sites: China Camp State Park in Marin County and Rush Ranch in Solano County. Photos illustrate the animals and plants found in the tidal marshes and mudflats protected within the reserves, and spotlight current scientific research projects. The exhibit is designed so that it can be updated as new discoveries are made. Tactile portions of the exhibit -- including an oyster fossil, leopard shark jaw and river otter skull -- provide hands-on opportunities for visitors to engage with these incredibly important and diverse habitats.

Nearly 90 percent of San Francisco Bay's 190,000 acres of tidal marsh have been destroyed or altered. Wetlands provide a habitat for animals; filter mud from the Bay's murky waters and protect the shoreline from flooding. San Francisco Bay NERR promotes scientific research to manage and restore the remaining wetlands, and to improve the overall health of the San Francisco Bay.

The exhibit is funded through a grant from NOAA to San Francisco State University, the lead state partner of the San Francisco Bay NERR. San Francisco Bay NERR is a partnership among NOAA, San Francisco State University, California State Parks, Solano Land Trust and the Bay Conservation and Development Commission.

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