Rush Ranch Open Space features the largest intact brackish tidal marsh in the San Francisco Estuary. That’s why it has been designated, along with China Camp State Park, as California’s newest and largest National Estuarine Research Reserve (NERR). The NERR system is a network of 26 sites representing different bio-geographic regions of the U.S. that are protected for long-term research, monitoring, education, and research. The specific focus of the new San Francisco Bay NERR is restoration of tidal marshes and the protection of estuarine habitat. Covering a total of 3,710 acres, the Bay NERR is administered through the Romberg Tiburon Center for Environmental Studies (RTC) at San Francisco State University in partnership with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), California State Parks, Solano Land Trust, and the Bay Conservation and Development Commission. More than 71 bird species and 58 fish species make their homes within the territory of the new reserve. These two wetlands have escaped much of the environmental damage that has affected most of California’s wetlands and provide an excellent laboratory for learning more about marsh and tidal ecology. As the Bay NERR takes shape, project managers will review already completed scientific studies at the two sites and determine how best to fill the gaps.
Bay Nature magazine ◦ January-March 2004