Christmas Miracle: Federal San Francisco Bay Restoration Program Gets Huge Boost
San Francisco Bay is one of the largest and most ecologically important estuaries in the United States, but you would never know that by the pittance of federal funding the region has received over the years for a wide range of habitat and environmental restoration projects. Behind the leadership of Rep. Jackie Speier and Sen. Dianne Feinstein and persistent advocacy by the Bay Area Council and many other groups, the region is finally getting the attention and funding it deserves.
Since 2008, the U.S. EPA’s San Francisco Bay Water Quality Improvement Fund has awarded over $71 million across 59 grants to projects that restore Bay wetlands and watersheds and reduce polluted runoff. Other estuaries, such as Chesapeake Bay, Puget Sound, and Long Island Sound, often received as much as five times as much annual funding. But, in the final days of 2022, President Biden signed legislation (H.R. 610, Speier) that permanently authorizes the U.S. EPA’s San Francisco Bay program and delivers more federal funding for San Francisco Bay than any other estuary in the U.S. besides Chesapeake Bay.
Along many parts of the Bay shoreline, wetland and tidal marsh restoration projects are a critical component to local sea-level rise resilience projects. The legislative package has been a major goal of the Bay Area Council since 2010, when CEO Jim Wunderman and other Bay Area leaders testified before Congress on the importance of federal resources to strengthening the economic and ecological resilience of the San Francisco Bay. Special thanks as well to our partners in this long effort, including the Resources Legacy Fund, Valley Water, Save the Bay, the Silicon Valley Leadership Group, and Together Bay Area. To engage in our climate resilience work, please contact Senior Vice President Adrian Covert.