San Francisco Bay Area
Wetlands Regional Monitoring Program

Design Guidelines for Tidal Wetland Restoration in San Francisco BayDownloads

Public access to restoration experience and design guidelines for wetland habitat projects in the San Francisco Bay Area. Produced by the The Bay Institute, Philip Williams & Associates, Ltd., and Phyllis M. Faber with funding from the California State Coastal Conservancy


Over the last 150 years, approximately 90% of the tidal marshes that fringed San Francisco Bay have been destroyed as a result of progressive diking and filling for agricultural, salt pond, and commercial development. Within the last three decades, however, there has been a dramatic change in public attitudes towards wetlands. They are now valued as uniquely productive natural resources and public policy now seeks not only to protect existing marshes, but also to restore former marshes as functioning wetland ecosystems.

The purpose of the Design Guidelines is to evaluate and document actual restoration experience in San Francisco Bay and produce design guidelines.


Target Audience

The target audience is all individuals who have some degree of responsibility for decisions made on tidal wetland restoration design, including regulatory agency staff, land managers, resource managers and restoration practitioners.

Report Structure

We have structured the Design Guidelines to identify and assess key design issues. We do this by:

Electronic appendices that contain detailed monitoring data from a number of marshes around San Francisco Bay have been provided. These data were used to support the guidance described in this report and include China Camp, Muzzi Marsh, Warm Springs Marsh, and Sonoma Baylands. Updated data files for each of the monitoring sites can be provided by Jeremy Lowe,, (415) 262-2304.

Further Information

For more information about the goals and objectives of the Design Guidelines, contact Ann Buell,, (510) 286-0752 or Marc Holmes,, (415) 506-0150.

For information about the design guidance and monitoring data, contact Jeremy Lowe,, (415) 262-2304

If you have comments or suggestions about the website, please send them to


The Design Guidelines was produced by the The Bay Institute (TBI), Philip Williams & Associates, Ltd. (PWA), and Phyllis M. Faber with funding to TBI from the California State Coastal Conservancy (Safe Neighborhood Parks, Clean Water, Clean Air, and Coastal Protection Bond Act of 2000).

The Design Guidelines benefited greatly from our Science Review Panel consisting of Peter Baye, John Callaway (University of San Francisco), Steve Granholm (LSA Associates), Fred Nichols, Stuart Siegel (Wetlands and Water Resources), and Si Simenstad (University of Washington).

Valuable input was received from Grant Davis, Ron Duke, Steve Goldbeck, Mike Josselyn, Neal Van Keuwin, Anitra Pawley, Barbara Salzman and Howard Shellhammer.

Monitoring of the wetlands has only been possible with the support of local foundations and citizens groups, namely the Marin Community Foundation, San Francisco Foundation, Fred Gellert Family Foundation, and Marin Audubon Society. We are grateful for permission to use their data in this project.

Special thanks to Angela Moskow, Ann Dickinson, Nick Garrity, Catherine Lee, Rebecca Wilson, Brad Evans for their contributions to the project.

Download Files

This report was funded by the California State Coastal Conservancy and created in collaboration with The Bay Institute and the authors. The document and the original data sets presented as appendices to this report are in the public domain. However, none of these products or their underlying data sets may be used for commercial purposes.

Text - PDF - 1.2Mb

Figures - PDF - 50.0Mb

Appendix A.1 Vegetation Colonization - colonization elevations observed around the Bay - Excel spreadsheet - 136kb

Appendix A.2 Hydraulic Geometry - hydraulic geometry relationships measured in restored and natural marshes - Word document - 209kb

Appendix A.2 Hydraulic Geometry - hydraulic geometry relationships measured in restored and natural marshes - Excel spreadsheet - 423kb

Appendix B.1 Salt Marsh Restoration Experience in San Francisco Bay - PDF - 0.8Mb

Appendix B.2 Metadata for Main Monitoring Sites

Data from the monitoring sites are in PDFs. Original spreadsheet files for each of the monitoring sites can be provided by Jeremy Lowe,, (415) 262-2304.

Appendix B.3 Warm Springs - monitoring data for Warm Springs (Coyote Creek Lagoon) - PDF - 31.9Mb

Appendix B.4 China Camp - monitoring data for China Camp - PDF - 6.1Mb

Appendix B.5 Muzzi Marsh - monitoring data for Muzzi Marsh - PDF - 15.8Mb

Appendix B.6 Sonoma Baylands - monitoring data for Sonoma Baylands - PDF - 30.7Mb

PDF files can be viewed with the Acrobat Reader.