For our fall photo shoot, we shot in the California wetlands and high above the Northern California coast. We chose these locations to demonstrate how crucial the preservation of these areas is to the environment. Shooting in the Bay Area also let us show you some of California’s varied history.

The Redwood Shores Wetlands: Home for Endangered Species

The wetlands are home to hundreds of different species—some of these are endangered such as the California clapper rail and the salt marsh harvest mouse. Pelicans and avocets fish in this area, and the western snowy plover, a critically endangered species, nests here. Plovers build their nests along the coasts. If disturbed by beachgoers, joggers, real estate developments, or unleashed dogs, they will abandon them.

Destruction of coastal marshland by land development have left the population of Ridgeway’s rails perilously low. In the Bay Area, which has one of the largest populations of these birds, only about 1100 rails remain. They forage among pickleweed and cordgrass, probing the mudflats for food. When the chicks are very young, their parents carry them on their backs as the birds move across water or during high tide.

Recent conservation efforts have focused on breeding the rails in captivity and returning them to the coast.

Unfortunately, in the Bay Area, off-leash dogs frequently disturb these endangered birds, as do visitors who venture into the rail’s nesting areas.

Western Snowy Plover Ridgway's Rail
Western Snowy Plover Ridgway's Rail

Redwood Shores Wetlands
Redwood Shores Wetlands

Redwood Shores, Dusk Wetlands Snail
Redwood Shores, Dusk Wetlands Snail

The Crucial Role of the Wetlands

In the past, the wetlands have been used for cattle farming, salt production, and oyster farming. Yet these areas have higher rates of carbon sequestration and storage than tropical rainforests. And they protect against coastal flooding. Wetlands buffer the land from the waterways and filter out chemicals in water that have run off roads and farms.

Flora in Wetlands
Flora in Wetlands

The Northern California Coast: Devil’s Slide

During World War II, soldiers kept a lookout for Japanese ships coming from the sea. If a man in the bunker spotted a ship, he radioed gun and cannon operators in the Marin Headlands and at Fort Funston. Although San Francisco was never attacked during World War II, protection of the harbor was a major concern for the military.

Today, satellites have replaced soldiers, but the World War II bunker still stands at the top of Devil’s Slide.

Bunker overlooks the Pacific World War II Bunker with Artistic Flair
Bunker Overlooks the Pacific World War II Bunker with Artistic Flair

Visiting?

To visit the wetlands, please check out Hidden SF. (And please keep your dog on-leash!)

If you're interested in Devil's Slide, have a look at Visiting Devil's Slide Trail.

With Bucket Bag