The San Francisco Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve's mission is to improve stewardship and understanding of the estuary, and its connectivity with marine and coastal ecosystems beyond the Golden Gate. The expansive tidal marshes and undeveloped adjacent uplands at Rush Ranch and China Camp serve as research sites for scientists; classrooms for teachers, land managers and naturalists; and inspiring places for Bay Area residents to visit.
In 2003, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's (NOAA’s) National Estuarine Research Reserve System (NERRS) worked with SF State and others to have these two special places designated as part of the San Francisco Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve (SF Bay NERR). The Governor of California charged SF State with responsibility for hosting and co-supporting the SF Bay NERR together with NOAA, as a collaborative partnership with the Solano Land Trust, California State Parks, and the SF Bay Bay Conservation and Development Commission (BCDC). The SF Bay NERR also work closely with the Friends of China Camp, due to their important role in operating China Camp State Park.
SF Bay NERR headquarters and associated research facilities are part of the EOS Center on the SF State Romberg Tiburon Campus. SF Bay NERR collaborates with the EOS Center and the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center on environmental research and educational programs relevant to State and Federal environmental management needs of the San Francisco Estuary.