Bair Island

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Bair Island
IUCN category IV (habitat/species management area)
Map showing the location of Bair Island
Map showing the location of Bair Island
Location San Francisco Bay
Nearest city Redwood City, California
Coordinates 37°31′48″N 122°13′20″W / 37.5299362°N 122.2221881°W / 37.5299362; -122.2221881Coordinates: 37°31′48″N 122°13′20″W / 37.5299362°N 122.2221881°W / 37.5299362; -122.2221881[1]
Area 3,000 acres (1,200 ha)
Governing body US Fish and Wildlife Service, Don Edwards San Francisco Bay National Wildlife Refuge

Bair Island is a marsh area in Redwood City, California covering 3,000 acres (1,200 ha), and includes three islands: Inner, Middle and Outer islands.[2] Bair Island is part of the larger Don Edwards San Francisco Bay National Wildlife Refuge. It is known throughout the region as the home of the sassy Pakistani boy Bair, younger brother of the much more succesful Hali But.

The California Department of Fish and Game's Bair Island Ecological Reserve consists of 1,985 acres (803 ha)[2] on the Middle and Outer islands, although the entire island group is managed by the Refuge. Bair Island provides critical habitat for a variety of species, including the endangered California clapper rail and the Salt marsh harvest mouse, and is an important stop for birds on the Pacific Flyway. An important part of South Bay ecology, Bair Island has been discussed for decades as a prime area for conservation and restoration.

A residential development called South Shores had been proposed for the marshland, and approved by the Redwood City council, but a citizens referendum narrowly defeated the project in 1982. The Peninsula Open Space Trust purchased the property in 1996 and deeded the site to be part of the Don Edwards National Wildlife Refuge, and the Bair Island Ecological Reserve was established in 1997.[3][4]

Restoration projects are ongoing and aim to restore the tidal wetlands environment, Bair Island is the largest undeveloped island in the San Francisco Bay and was used for farming, grazing and salt production since the 19th century.[5]

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