The Green Gate
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Wildlife and Habitat Overview

What do the salt marsh harvest mouse, California clapper rail, and Lange's metalmark butterfly have in common? These San Francisco Bay Area natives share space on the federal Endangered Species List, thanks to their diminishing habitat. Combined with an alarming rise in invasive species, habitat loss has endangered or threatened a huge number of local plant and animal species. And while some important successes remind us that progress is possible through concerted effort, the measures of wildlife and habitat conditions that NRDC researchers looked at reveal that, overall, local fish and wildlife are suffering badly.

  • More than 100 species of animals and plants that can be found in the Bay Area are on the federal list of endangered and threatened species.

  • Invasive species in the waters of San Francisco Bay -- non-native plant and animal species that have taken up residence there, almost always to the detriment of the ecosystem -- are taking root at a pace of one new species every 14 weeks on average.

  • The historic winter-run chinook salmon population has shrunk dramatically, and southern sea otters, once abundant in the bay, have not returned.

  • Nearly 22,000 acres of wetlands were restored and enhanced between 1993 and 1999, but the fact remains that nearly all the Bay-Delta's original tidal wetlands have been lost.

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