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Environmental Links

Parks, Reserves and Sanctuaries


In San Francisco Bay

Along the Central California Coast

Conservation Agencies

Local groups and agencies or offices of national government agencies

  • American Cetacean Society (ACS)—Monterey Chapter. ACS has a great monthly newletter, "Soundings" which is the best source of information about whales and dolphins in this part of California. The group also has monthly talks in Pacific Grove by local researchers, and occasional whale-watching trips.
  • Angel Island Association. Their mission is to support the preservation and interpretation of history, structures, and natural resources of Angel Island State Park. Working in partnership with the California State Parks, they raise funds, educate and volunteer in order to provide an enjoyable experience for the visitor. Angel Island State Park depends on volunteers and docents to provide a level of support that park employees alone cannot attain at current funding levels.
  • Bay Access is a group of volunteers working to improve and develop launch sites and facilities for human-powered boaters around the San Francisco Bay, by establishing the San Francisco Bay Water Trail which will encircle the bay with a continuous chain of launch sites, landings, and overnight accomodations.
  • Bay Institute of San Francisco is a non-profit research, education and advocacy organization dedicated to restoring the Bay's ecosystem from the Sierra to the Sea. They use a combination of scientific research and political advocacy to work toward the environmental restoration of the entire watershed which drains into San Francisco Bay.
  • Bay Model operated by the US Army Corps of Engineers in Sausalito. The Bay Model is a 1.5 acre scaled operational model of the Bay and Delta. Self-guided audio tours, both general and technical, are available in English, French, Spanish, German, Japanese and Russian.
  • Bay Nature is a non-profit organization dedicated to educating the people of the San Francisco Bay Area about, and celebrating the beauty of, the surrounding natural world. They do so with the aim of inspiring residents to explore and preserve the diverse and unique natural heritage of the region, and of nurturing productive relationships among the many organizations and individuals working towards these same goals. They publish Bay Nature magazine four times a year.
  • BayKeeper is a watchdog group monitoring water quality in the Bay and Delta. Baykeeper fills the gap between Clean Water Act laws and real enforcement, protecting the health of San Francisco Bay, its tributary streams and major rivers. BayKeeper's leadership in targeting and stopping pollution has achieved local and national recognition. Advocating for better water quality regulations and working closely with understaffed agencies, BayKeeper reduces pollution through an innovative program that includes maintaining and improving federal, state, and local standards for water quality protection, conducting investigations that challenge polluters, and working to educate an active and informed public.
  • Bodega Marine Labratory with information about the Bodega Marine Reserve
  • Elkhorn Slough National Research Reserve and the Elkhorn Slough Foundation. The latter is a nonprofit organization dedicated to the wise use and conservation of Elkhorn Slough and surrounding wetlands. It is member-supported, and works with local, state and national constituencies to protect our natural heritage.
  • Environmental Traveling Companions opens the beauty and challenge of outdoor adventures to people with special needs. Every year over 2,000 people of all abilities join ETC to raft whitewater rivers, ski across alpine meadows, sea kayak the waters of the Golden Gate and sleep beneath the open sky. ETC trips enable participants to access the wilderness, gain environmental awareness and share the adventure.
  • Farallones Marine Sanctuary Association is a non-profit, cooperating association that helps protect the resources managed by the Gulf of the Farallones National Marine Sanctuary through collaborative education, interpretation, outreach, and research.
  • Friends of the River is dedicated to preserving, protecting, and restoring California's rivers, streams, and their watersheds. The organization accomplishes its mission by providing public education, citizen activist training and organizing, and expert advocacy to influence public policy decisions on land, water, and energy management issues.
  • Friends of the Sea Otter
  • The Marine Mammal Center in the Marin Headlands rehabilitates marine mammals that have stranded, been abandoned, or shot.
  • Monterey Bay Aquarium.
  • National Audubon Society has local chapters all over the Bay Area, including the Golden GateMarin, and Sequoia(Peninsula) chapters. These chapters run trips, including some pelagic bird-watching trips.
  • Point Reyes Bird Observatory Besides their work at Pt Reyes, PRBO also operates the research station at South Farallon Island. That's where all the work on great white shark is being done.
  • Point Reyes National Seashore Association is a nonprofit organization working in coordination with the National Park Service, their ongoing mission is preserving the extraordinary wilderness and educating the public about the environment.
  • San Francisco Bay Wildlife Society is a nonprofit cooperating association, authorized by Congress to support the education, interpretation, and research activities of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. SFBWS's primary mission is to promote public awareness and appreciation of the San Francisco Bay and its natural history, and to conserve and preserve the remaining baylands as essential wildlife habitat. In addition, it works to improve opportunities for low-impact public use, operates bookstore in visitor centers at San Francisco Bay national wildlife refuge, and funds educational events, research and exhibits in cooperation with local, regional and state agencies.
  • San Francisco Estuary Project
  • Save Our Shores (Monterey Bay) researches policy affecting the Monterey Bay Sanctuary and its associated watersheds. They work as a public liaison, informing and influencing the press and lawmakers on critical issues. They provides activities that build awareness and understanding of the Sanctuary's diverse habitats and conservation goals.
  • Save San Francisco Bay Association The Save San Francisco Bay Association (Save the Bay) was established in 1961 to prevent the filling of San Francisco Bay and to open up the Bay shoreline to public access. Their web site has an excellent directory of links to local conservation groups.
  • Sierra Club - San Francisco Bay Chapter. The Sierra Club is dedicated to "explore, enjoy, and protect the wild places of the earth, practice and promote the responsible use of the earth's ecosystems and resources, educate and enlist humanity to protect and restore the quality of the natural and human environment, and to use all lawful means to carry out these objectives."
  • Surfrider Foundation is a non-profit environmental organization dedicated to the protection and enjoyment of the world's oceans, waves and beaches for all people, through conservation, activism, research and education.

National groups and agencies

  • American Cetacean Society. This national group has been the leader in education and conservation regarding cetaceans (whales and dolphins) for 30 years. They form a very successful link between scientists, government officials, and lay conservationists. They also have an active Monterey Chapter.
  • Center for Marine Conservation. This national organization also has an office in Monterey. They are involved in many marine wildlife issues.
  • Environmental Defense is a leading national nonprofit organization that links science, economics and law to create innovative, equitable and cost-effective solutions to society's most urgent environmental problems.
  • Natural Resources Defense Council uses law, science, and the support of more than 500,000 members nationwide to protect the planet's wildlife and wild places and to ensure a safe and healthy environment for all living things.

Further Reading

  • BEACH Act of 2015. The goal of the BEACH Act is to reduce the disease risk of those who enjoy U.S. beaches for recreational purposes. Learn about the EPA’s responsibilities here.
  • Marine Life and Ecosystems. Environmental laws protect marine life, too. This link gives an overview of the Marine Mammal Protection Act.
  • Federal Water Pollution Control Act. Commonly called the Clean Water Act, this law, first passed in 1972, has helped to make our water supply safer.
  • Why Rivers No Longer Burn. Read this article to learn about the success of the Clean Water Act.