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San Francisco Bay Scenery

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San Francisco Bay is a shallow estuary in the U.S. state of California. It is surrounded by a contiguous region known as the San Francisco Bay Area (often simply “the Bay Area”) and is dominated by the large cities of San Francisco, San Jose, and Oakland.

San Francisco Bay drains water from approximately 40 percent of California. Water from the Sacramento and San Joaquin rivers, and from the Sierra Nevada mountains, flow into Suisun Bay, which then travels through the Carquinez Strait to meet with the Napa River at the entrance to San Pablo Bay, which connects at its south end to San Francisco Bay. It then connects to the Pacific Ocean via the Golden Gate strait. However, this entire group of interconnected bays is often called the San Francisco Bay. The bay was designated a Ramsar Wetland of International Importance on February 2, 2017.

The bay covers somewhere between 400 and 1,600 square miles (1,000–4,000 km2), depending on which sub-bays (such as San Pablo Bay), estuaries, wetlands, and so on are included in the measurement. The main part of the bay measures three to twelve miles (5–19 km) wide east-to-west and somewhere between 48 miles (77 km)1 and 60 miles (97 km)2 north-to-south. It is the largest Pacific estuary in the Americas.

The bay was navigable as far south as San Jose until the 1850s when hydraulic mining released massive amounts of sediment from the rivers that settled in those parts of the bay that had little or no current. Later, wetlands and inlets were deliberately filled in, reducing the Bay’s size since the mid-19th century by as much as one-third. Recently, large areas of wetlands have been restored, further confusing the issue of the Bay’s size. Despite its value as a waterway and harbor, many thousands of acres of marshy wetlands at the edges of the bay were, for many years, considered wasted space. As a result, soil excavated for building projects or dredged from channels was often dumped onto the wetlands and other parts of the bay as landfill. Wikipedia

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An image from Sanfrancisco Bay

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