2012 Finalist for a Northern California Book Award

2013 Harold Gilliam Award
for Excellence in Environmental Reporting

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The Bay Book

by Ariel Rubissow Okamoto
and Kathleen M. Wong
Publication: OCTOBER 2011

This book, part of the California Natural History Guide series published by the University of California Press, includes over 300 pages of text, color photographs, maps and charts. At its most basic level, Natural History of San Francisco Bay, tells the reader what lives in the Bay, how its waters move and change, and whether it is safe to swim in or eat fish caught from the Bay.

On a deeper level, it offers an overview of how the Bay became the most altered and invaded estuary in the world; describes how history has shaped its present shores; and explores how recent generations of activists and scientists have rekindled interest in the Bay’s current and future health. A major highlight of the book is its focus on the workings of California’s largest estuary. More than sixty scientists and resource managers describe their latest projects and research, including their findings on environmental contaminants, and their struggles to restore habitat to breathe new life into endangered species, and balance the needs of fish, fowl and people. This book is essential reading for those who yearn to know the real backstory behind the Bay.

“Science journalists Rubissow Okamoto and Wong present an overview of the natural history of the region in language that is informative, scientific, and also personal. . . . Highly recommended.” — Choice

"The authors have collected a wealth of biological and environmental information in their book. The cross-country saga of the striped bass, the hidden beauty of eelgrass, the varied contentions of the California water wars are presented in highly readable, easily digestible sections. The emphasis here is on environmental impact and recent conservation developments . . . and the history of decades of restoration triumphs and setbacks is related sleekly and straightforwardly."
San Francisco Bay Guardian

"A hugely informative primer on San Francisco Bay."
San Jose Mercury News

"It is enlightening to read these stories in one compelling narrative."
Bay Nature

"I used this book as a required text for my environmental science course at UC Berkeley. The course focused on California environmental and climatic change, with a focus on the impacts felt in San Francisco Bay and Delta. The book provided excellent examples and case studies of numerous environmental issues related to human-caused changes to the estuary and its watershed, and provided an overview of the natural history of the region. It also provided a nice overview of the natural processes governing the aquatic ecosystems across this region, as well as conservation and restoration efforts in the Bay. Its beautifully written and illustrated, and is very engaging for a broad cross section of students. I received positive feedback from both the science and non-science majors in the course, and am using the book again for this year's course. —
Professor B. Lynn Ingram, University of California, Berkeley

"I just used the Natural History of San Francisco Bay as a textbook for a new college course called Endangered Ecosystems. The book offers a stellar tool for reaching my non-science majors."
Janice Edgerly-Rooks, Professor of Biology, Santa Clara University

"I’ve learned and been a better restoration practitioner for all the stories Ariel's told about the Bay over many years."
Michelle Orr, Wetland Designer & Engineer, ESA

© Copyright 2012, Ariel Rubissow Okamoto, all rights reserved. Design: Darren Campeau