Yosemite Creek Watershed

Yosemite Creek, now in an underground culvert, empties into San Francisco Bay at a cove bounded by the Hunters Point Naval Shipyard on the north and Candlestick Point State Recreation Area (SRA) on the west and south. All lie within San Francisco’s Bayview-Hunters Point community. This ethnically diverse community bears a heavy burden: 80 percent of the city’s sewage is treated here, and most of its polluting industries are located here. The Hunters Point Shipyard was heavily contaminated, particularly its southern shoreline.  The cleanup and restoration of this site is underway.

In 2012 and 2013 Golden Gate Audubon partnered with Literacy for Environmental Justice high school aged youth in conducting a bird census of the part of the Yosemite Slough which is in the process of restoration.  The bird census also included some areas covered in the earlier study. You can read the 2012-2013 Yosemite Slough Bird Survey here.

The Yosemite Slough study area provides important habitat for a large variety of breeding, migrating and over wintering bird species. Once the salt marsh plants have become established especially in the New Marsh restoration area, this will add significantly to the acreage of salt marsh habitat in the City of San Francisco. Salt Marsh habitat, one of the most biologically productive habitat types in existence, has been largely extirpated from the City since the late 1800’s. This exciting restoration site will become a key stepping stone site for many threatened bird species such as the California Clapper Rail. The unique location of the slough at the edge of the City and the San Francisco Bay provides a great resource to the residents and visitors to this park. Yosemite Slough and the adjacent parts of Candlestick State Recreation Area provide foraging and roosting and nesting habitat to water birds, shorebirds and land birds.

The habitat restoration underway at Yosemite Slough will improve the habitat value to birds and other wildlife. The habitat restoration underway provides opportunities for the community to appreciate and value the local environment.

The 2003-04 census (download PDF) of the waters and uplands of Candlestick Point SRA, performed by Golden Gate Audubon naturalists and local high school students, revealed an astonishing wealth of wildlife. Our efforts identified large numbers of birds (2,347 in one day) and an incredible 118 bird species and 148 species overall (including many butterflies, snakes, and small mammals).

Our Goals

Golden Gate Audubon is working to keep the Candlestick State Recreation Area open to the public.

What You Can Do

Contact our San Francisco Conservation Committee and help support the park.  Contact Jack Dumbacher by email at for information on the next meeting.