Citizens Committee to Complete the Refuge*
The mission of the Committee is to save the Bay's remaining wetlands by working to place them under the protection of the Don Edwards San Francisco Bay National Wildlife Refuge, and to foster world-wide education regarding the value of all wetlands.
The Citizens Committee to Complete the Refuge began as the South San Francisco Baylands Planning, Conservation and National Wildlife Refuge Committee.
It all started in 1967, with a small group of people who met at the Santa Clara County Planning Department in the office of planner Arthur Ogilvie to discuss his dream of establishing a national wildlife refuge on the San Francisco Bay.
In 1972, when with Congressman Don Edwards' enthusiasm and support, our dreams were realized and a bill passed into law to establish the existing Don Edwards San Francisco Bay National Wildlife Refuge - the first and largest urban wildlife refuge in the United States.
Realizing that important wetlands remained along the edges of the bay that were not within the refuge boundaries and therefore not protected from development, the group held another "dining room table" meeting with Congressman Edwards in 1985. The decision was made to attempt to expand the original refuge boundaries. Parcels were identified that supported or have the potential to support endangered species habitat and maintain habitat diversity.
The campaign involved gathering support from all the cities and towns around the Bay. Signatures were gathered, bumper stickers sold, grocery bags were printed, public service announcements were written, and brochures were printed. We gathered the support of businesses and lawmakers.
In 1988, after a long campaign, a bill was passed in the House and the Senate to authorizing the Refuge to acquire or accept donations of approximately 20,000 acres of land, which if realized, would double the size of the original refuge boundaries.
We continue to fight to protect the existing refuge from further development and continue to seek funding and support for acquisition and restoration of lands within the 1990 congressionally approved refuge expansion boundary. We work to protect wetlands of all forms and we have come to realize that we must also work to protect the headwaters streams that eventually flow into the bay. In addition, we keep a close eye on proposed changes to regulations that protect wetlands and endangered species.