The Bay Institute, Backgrounder

The Bay Institute Backgrounder
The Bay Institute is the leader in protecting, restoring and inspiring conservation of San Francisco Bay and its watershed -- from the Sierra to the sea. For 30 years, The Bay Institute has been developing and leading model scientific research, habitat restoration and advocacy programs to preserve California's most important natural resource. Learn more at
The Bay Institute's mission is to protect, restore and inspire conservation of San Francisco Bay and its watershed from the Sierra to the sea.
For 30 years, The Bay Institute has successfully applied a combination of scientific research, advocacy, and public education to work toward the environmental restoration of the entire watershed which drains into San Francisco Bay. This watershed includes the Sacramento River and the San Joaquin Rivers as well as their tributaries, Suisun Marsh, San Pablo Bay, and San Francisco Bay. The land area covers 40 percent of California. Nearly half of the surface water in California starts as rain or snow that falls in this area, and about half of that is diverted for use on farms, in homes, and in factories. The remaining water flows downstream through the largest inland delta, the largest brackish water marsh, and the largest estuary on the west coast of the Americas.
Our Program Areas
The Bay Institute utilizes its mission of protecting, restoring and inspiring conservation of San Francisco Bay and its watershed in two main program areas:
Rivers and Delta
The Bay Institute’s Rivers and Delta program employs scientific and policy expertise to promote reforms in the way California manages its water resources and protects the ecological values of the San Francisco Bay-Delta estuary and its watershed.
Building on The Bay Institute's original, core mission of using research and advocacy to secure increased freshwater flows to the Bay, the Rivers and Delta program staff work to protect the estuary's endangered aquatic species, restore a healthy estuarine ecosystem, reconnect the estuary to its watershed, stop agricultural water pollution, and measure how the ecosystem is responding to human activities.
Bay Restoration
The largest coastal wetlands restoration project in the nation is underway in San Francisco Bay.  The goal is to restore 100,000 acres of wetlands-- which have suffered from a century and half of manmade destruction -- over the next twenty years.
Aquarium of the Bay
Our affiliate, Aquarium of the Bay, provides an inspiring window to San Francisco Bay's diverse, but imperiled ecosystems and wildlife.  Located on San Francisco’s waterfront, the Aquarium is visited by over half a million local residents and out of town guests each year.  It is accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA), and certified as a Green Business by the city of San Francisco.
It is the only aquarium dedicated to the diverse marine life and distinctive ecosystems of the Bay and nearby waters, and provides free curriculum-based classes and tours to over 15,000 K-12 local public school children each year.
Supporting and Furthering Our Mission
The Bay Institute provides numerous opportunities for individuals and organizations to help restore dry river beds, teach stewardship to our children, save endangered species and more. Together, we can turn the tide and protect San Francisco Bay and its vast watershed.  A contribution to The Bay Institute is the most effective way to make sure that your generosity is felt from the Sierra to the sea.  
The Bay Institute's new membership program, launched in April of 2010, is an easy and fun way to help restore San Francisco Bay and its watershed.  Every membership, available in a variety of levels, includes free Aquarium of the Bay admission, providing members the opportunity to develop personal connections with many of the animals that we are working to protect.
Additional Information
To learn more about The Bay Institute, its various program areas and ways that you can support our mission, visit or call 415-878-2929.