The Modification of an Estuary

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Science  07 Feb 1986:
Vol. 231, Issue 4738, pp. 567-573
DOI: 10.1126/science.231.4738.567


The San Francisco Bay estuary has been rapidly modified by human activity. Diking and filling of most of its wetlands have eliminated habitats for fish and waterfowl; the introduction of exotic species has transformed the composition of its aquatic communities; reduction of freshwater inflow by more than half has changed the dynamics of its plant and animal communities; and wastes have contaminated its sediments and organisms. Continued disposal of toxic wastes, the probable further reduction in freshwater inflow, and the possible synergy between the two provide the potential for further alteration of the estuary's water quality and biotic communities.