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San Francisco Bay National Wildlife Refuge

Don Edwards San Francisco Bay National Wildlife Refuge is a USmarker National Wildlife Refuge located in the southern part of San Francisco Baymarker, Californiamarker. The Refuge visitor center is located in Newarkmarker, next to Coyote Hills Regional Park, in Alameda Countymarker.

Most of the refuge stretches along the marshy shoreline north and south of the Dumbarton Bridge, but Bair Islandmarker, in San Mateo Countymarker, is also part of the system. The southernmost extent of the refuge is in northern Santa Clara Countymarker.

It was founded in 1974 as the first urban National Wildlife Refuge established in the United States, and it is dedicated to preserving and enhancing wildlife habitat, protecting migratory birds, protecting threatened and endangered species, and providing opportunities for wildlife-oriented recreation and nature study for the surrounding communities.

As of 2004, the Refuge spanned of open bay, salt pond, salt marsh, mudflat, upland and vernal pool habitats located throughout south San Francisco Bay. Most of the wetlands are salt ponds managed by Cargill Salt. This was originally the salt which Leslie and Morton Salt drew from. The salt would then be used for roads or feed for cows.

Located along the Pacific Flyway, the Refuge hosts over 280 species of birds each year. The variety of birds that may call the refuge home or as a stopover consist of the white pelicans, kites, hawks, ospreys, and eagles. Millions of shorebirds and waterfowl stop to refuel at the Refuge during the spring and fall migration. In addition to its seasonal visitors, the Refuge provides critical habitat to resident species like the endangered California Clapper Rail and salt marsh harvest mouse. Today, hundreds of thousands of people visit the Refuge each year to enjoy its diverse wildlife and habitats.

The Don Edwards San Francisco Bay National Wildlife Refuge is one of six wildlife refuges in the San Francisco Bay Areamarker. The others are: Antioch Dunesmarker, Ellicott Sloughmarker, Farallonmarker, Marin Islandsmarker, and San Pablo Baymarker. It was renamed Don Edwards San Francisco Bay National Wildlife Refuge in 1995 in recognition of Congressman Don Edwards and his efforts to protect sensitive wetlands in south San Francisco Bay.

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