Preserving San Francisco's Islands



Yerba Buena & Treasure Island: Keeping Nature in the Picture

The former Naval Station occupying most of Treasure and Yerba Buena islands will soon be transferred to the City of SF for conversion to civilian use. Ruth Gravanis is part of the Sierra Club's TI/YBI Sustainability Campaign. She is working to make sure that nature will be part of the picture of the the new Treasure Island and she could use your help. Let's make Treasure Island an inviting place for city dwellers, tourists, wildlife and the plants on which they depend.

Email Ruth if you'd like to join the effort.

For more info see:

Both the natural Yerba Buena Island, with its remnant indigenous habitats, and the anthropogenic Treasure Island, created from mud and sand dredged from the bottom of the Bay, hold great potential for benefiting the Bay-Delta ecosystem and its human inhabitants. A 1996 survey (by botanist Mike Wood) found remnant ecosystems of Coast Live Oak and Coastal Scrub on Yerba Buena Island. Even the tiny Fiesta Flower has survived human encroachment and goat grazing. Among the vertebrates, the Harbor Seal has benefited from haulout areas on YBI that are secluded enough to meet their needs. Current plans, thankfully, spare YBI from much development.

For more on the native plant life of YBI from see: SF Chronice, 13 July 05

Treasure Island is another story. Although Treasure Island is a man-made island and has no history of native plants and animals, it holds great potential to be made (in part) into a wetland and tidal marsh. The Treasure Island Development Authority will decide the fate of the island and is considering all players including developers and those of us that would like to see wildlife habitat created in the form of a wetland (much like the one that was created in Arcata) and tidal marsh. Such a creation will serve many functions, not just for the plants and animals, but as a natural filtration system for run-off and a scenic area to be enjoyed by visitors.

Other considerations for the island include reviving the Treasure Island Museum. This once active museum showcased memorabilia dedicated to building of the Golden Gate and Bay Bridges and the 1939 San Francisco Golden Gate Exhibition that followed celebrating this achievement.

The Navy is taking public comment on a draft report detailing the status of environmental cleanup efforts at Treasure Island, and declaring portions ready for civilian use.  (SF Chronicle, 3 July 05)


   Harbor Seal
   Fiesta Flower

Support a vision of Treasure Island that recognizes its unique history as well as its potential as an environmental wonderland. Treasure Island has been a treasure and could be an even greater one.

It belongs to us and we should decide its fate.


Tufted Puffins

The Farallon Islands are for the Birds

Farallon Islands viewed from above


Editorial, SF Chronicle, 22 Feb 05

Common Murres

Common Murres

Scientists worry that a proposal to allow limited public access could harm one of the largest seabird breeding colonies on the West Coast. (SF Chronicle, 17 Feb 05)


Letter by Kathleen Wong sent to Congressman Richard Pombo
Pigeon Guillemots on cliffs

location of Farallones relative to state of California



The Farallones are located about 26 miles west of the Golden Gate and are considered part of San Francisco

Eggers on the Farallones, circa 1841

Read article by Michael Ellis on the history of the Farallones.

Many seabirds breed there including Petrels, Cormorants, Auklets & Puffins. Fur Seals, Steller Sea Lions, Northern Elephant Seals, and Harbor Seals also inhabit the islands. Cetaceans in the area include Gray Whales, Humpbacks & Blue Whales. Because the area has such abundant sea life, it was designated a marine sanctuary in 1981.


Let the Mayor &/or the San Francisco Supervisors know how you feel about these issues.

CLICK HERE for their contact information.