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Statement About Signing a Bill Establishing the San Francisco Bay National Wildlife Refuge

July 01, 1972

THE PATTERN of urbanization and growth in our great Nation, while beneficial in many respects, has not been accomplished without a certain amount of environmental degradation and the despoliation of important wildlife habitat. The large metropolitan complex surrounding San Francisco Bay is no exception to this pattern. At one time the Bay covered about 700 square miles. Today only 400 square miles remain.

As a result, important wildlife habitat in San Francisco Bay has been reduced by 75 percent. In all of California, dredge and fill activity destroyed two-thirds of the estuarine wildlife habitat between 1947 and 1967.

The bill I have signed will not reclaim those wetlands which have been lost. It will, however, provide some assurance that a very important wetland complex in south San Francisco Bay will remain. By establishing the San Francisco Bay National Wildlife Refuge, this legislation will protect the natural habitat for thousands of migratory birds, for three wildlife species threatened with extinction (California clapper rail, California least tern, and the salt marsh harvest mouse), and for other wildlife species.

In addition to preserving an important wildlife habitat, this legislation will also establish a wildlife-oriented public use area providing opportunities for fishing, animal and bird observation, wildlife interpretation, research, and environmental education.

The establishment of this refuge would not have occurred without the deep concern and commitment of many dedicated citizens toward this end for some time. Their efforts have resulted not only in this Federal action, but in numerous other favorable and complementary steps at other governmental levels. The "San Francisco Bay Plan," developed by the San Francisco Bay Conservation and Development Commission, is a particularly fine example of local environmental initiatives.

The new San Francisco Bay National Wildlife Refuge will be administered by the Bureau of Sport Fisheries and Wildlife within the Department of the Interior. The Nation's leading wildlife resource management agency, this Bureau will now develop the San Francisco Bay Refuge into one of the most appreciated and beneficial units of the National Wildlife Refuge System. Located within a major metropolitan area, the refuge will become a wildlife showcase and study center where many Americans will be able to gain a first-hand exposure to some of nature's fundamental handiwork.

Note: As enacted, the bill (H.R. 12143), approved June 30, 1972, is Public Law 92-330 (86 Stat. 399).

Richard Nixon, Statement About Signing a Bill Establishing the San Francisco Bay National Wildlife Refuge Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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