Introduction

With its shimmering vistas of fog, light, and cityscape, San Francisco Bay is famous worldwide--yet very little known. The bay, together with its inland delta, is one of the largest estuaries in the Americas. It is a crucial bird habitat, a vital fishery, a major shipping center, a source of precious water, a playground for its cities, a natural treasure in trouble, and a stirring challenge to our human stewardship.

John Hart's lyrical writing and David Sanger's eye-opening color photographs reveal this marvel hidden in plain sight--its varied past, its complicated present, and its promising future.

Hart and Sanger journey back through the bay's history, introducing its native cultures, describing its ecology, and tracing its urban and industrial development. They take us with them on a tanker bound upriver, to a duck hunter's blind at dawn, to a delta island when the migratory sandhill cranes come in, to the strange white fields where salt is harvested. And they tell the story of how the plucky local movement to save the bay began and evolved into a grand effort--maybe the grandest yet attempted--to repair a damaged organ of the living world.

The publisher gratefully acknowledges the generous contributions of the Audubon Society, of The Bay Institute of San Francisco, and of the Director's Circle of the Associates of the University of California Press in support of this publication.

Introduction posted on August 30, 2005 in description