Located at the north end of the heavily-urbanized East Bay region of the San Francisco Bay Area, this area includes Pt. Pinole Regional Park, which protects over 2000 acres of bluff-top and bay front habitats (including mudflats and tidal marsh), and, just to the south, Wildcat Creek Marsh, where one of the Bay Area's last contiguous stretches of riparian thicket empties into the tidal wetlands of San Pablo Bay. In total, the North Richmond Shoreline includes over 500 acres of tidal marsh wetland and 900 acres of mudflats. Pt. Pinole Regional Shoreline is owned and operated by the East Bay Regional Park District. Wildcat Creek Marsh is owned and operated by Chevron. Both sites have been the focus of aggressive habitat restoration work, and are a tremendous natural resource for the surrounding urban neighborhoods. The subtidal bay along North Richmond's shoreline contains the largest eelgrass bed in San Francisco Bay (making up two thirds of the Bay's remaining eelgrass) (East Bay Regional Park District).
The estuarine wetlands of San Francisco and San Pablo Bays are recognized together as a Western Hemisphere Shorebird Reserve Network (WHSRN) Site of Hemispheric Importance for shorebirds, the highest possible ranking.
The mudflats of San Francisco Bay in this region attract thousands of shorebirds and other waterbirds during migration and winter, and serve as a link between the vast wetlands of the San Pablo Bay to the north and those in south San Francisco Bay. Interestingly, Pt. Pinole seems to attract species otherwise uncommon within San Francisco Bay, including Red Knot (over 1000 counted in a recent spring, Lynne Stenzel, PRBO, unpubished. data). San Francisco Bay, and this Important Bird Area in particular, is one of just three areas along the Pacific coast of North America that supports large numbers of Red Knot in winter (Goals Report 1999). This area also supports one of the few nesting pairs of Osprey on San Francisco Bay, and the tidal marshes here still have an intact tidal marsh bird community widely extirpated from the Central San Francisco Bay.
Ninety two species of birds were reported in Golden Gate Audubon's 2007-2008 shoreline census including the endangered Clapper Rail and the threatened Red Knot. Audubon's watch list species detected included Marbled Godwit, Clark's Grebe, Long-billed Curlew, Sanderling, Black Skimmer, and Thayer's Gull. Species recently delisted and seen at North Richmond include the Peregrine Falcon, Bald Eagle, and Brown Pelican
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The North Richmond shoreline maintains high habitat value in spite of a long legacy of filling, dumping, and pollution by sewage treatment plants, landfills, oil refineries, and heavy industry. Though a portion of this area is well protected as regional parkland, large swaths of saltmarsh and grassland habitat are still privately owned and threatened by rapidly-developing Richmond (especially office parks). The East Bay Regional Park District is in the process of purchasing 200 acres of Breuner Marsh although 20 acres of private property remain under development threat at Breuner Marsh. Development pressures at adjacent and nearby or upstream areas (including the Point Molate casino development) are a continuing threat.
There are numerous restoration opportunities for former tidal marsh in the area that could add appreciably to the habitat value of the area (e.g. Rheem Creek area and vicinity Richmond Landfill to the south).
This IBS contains two main protected parcels, both managed by the East Bay Regional Park District. Though a portion of this area is well protected as regional parkland, large swaths of saltmarsh and grassland habitat are still privately owned.
This IBA includes mudflats and tidal marsh. Also, Wildcat Creek Marsh is where one of the Bay Area?s last contiguous stretches of riparian thicket empties into the tidal wetlands of San Pablo Bay. There are also large swaths of saltmarsh and grassland habitat.