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Natural History of San Francisco Bay

Ariel Rubissow Okamoto (Author), Kathleen Wong (Author)


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This complete primer on San Francisco Bay is a multifaceted exploration of an extraordinary, and remarkably resilient, body of water. Bustling with oil tankers, laced with pollutants, and crowded with forty-six cities, the bay is still home to healthy eelgrass beds, young Dungeness crabs and sharks, and millions of waterbirds. Written in an entertaining style for a wide audience, Natural History of San Francisco Bay delves into an array of topics including fish and wildlife, ocean and climate cycles, endangered and invasive species, and the path from industrialization to environmental restoration. More than sixty scientists, activists, and resource managers share their views and describe their work—tracing mercury through the aquatic ecosystem, finding ways to convert salt ponds back to tidal wetlands, anticipating the repercussions of climate change, and more. Fully illustrated and packed with stories, quotes, and facts, the guide also tells how San Francisco Bay sparked an environmental movement that now reaches across the country.
Ariel Rubissow Okamoto is the author of books and articles about San Francisco Bay, California water history, and national parks. Her articles have appeared in the San Francisco Chronicle, Bay Nature, and other publications.
Kathleen M. Wong is the science writer for the UC Natural Reserve System. Her articles have appeared in Bay Nature, California Wild, and Nature, and elsewhere.
“A hugely informative primer on San Francisco Bay.”—Georgia Rowe San Jose Mercury News
“Authors Rubissow Okamoto and Wong have collected a wealth of biological and environmental information in their book. The cross-country saga of the striped bass, the hidden beauty of eelgrass, the varied contentions of the California water wars are presented in highly readable, easily digestible sections. The emphasis here is on environmental impact and recent conservation developments . . . and the history of decades of restoration triumphs and setbacks is related sleekly and straightforwardly. Absorbing all the information in this illuminating primer helped me appreciate the seething loveliness and churning forces that make up the place I call home.”—San Francisco Bay Guardian
“Longtime Bay Nature readers will find much that's familiar here, but impressively encompassed in a single volume: the contraction of the Bay due to development, the advent of the Save the Bay movement, the growth of wetland restoration, experimentation with native oysters and eelgrass, and the nexus of creek and Bay health, not to mention profiles of many shorebirds, fish, and mammals found in and around the Bay. Even for those with total Bay Nature recall, it is enlightening to read these stories in one compelling narrative, helped along by the authors' direct and readable journalistic approach.”—Dan Rademacher Bay Nature
“Science journalists Rubissow Okamoto and Wong present an overview of the natural history of the region in language that is informative, scientific, and also personal. . . . The general reader living in or visiting the bay area would find this book of interest. It would also be a valuable resource to those studying or working in coastal, estuary, or river conservation and restoration. . . . Highly recommended.”—A. L. Jacobsen Choice
“After experiencing, researching, and writing about San Francisco Bay over a period of 50 years, I was certain that I knew all there was to know about it. I was wrong. Rubissow Okamoto and Wong have enabled me to see it in a new dimension—call it 3D or maybe even 4D.” —Harold Gilliam, author of San Francisco Bay

“This is an eminently readable account of the natural and human history of San Francisco Bay.” —Rainer Hoenicke, Director, San Francisco Estuary Institute

Harold Gilliam Award for Excellence in Envirornmental Reporting, Bay Institute

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