Sanctuary Boat Closure

The Richardson Bay Audubon Center & Sanctuary waters are closed to boats from October 1 to March 31 every year.

The Richardson Bay Audubon Center & Sanctuary waters are closed to boat traffic and in-water activities, including kayaking and paddle boarding, from October 1st through March 31st each winter.

The Richardson Bay Regional Agency issued Ordinance 92-1 in order to protect the birds utilizing the sanctuary.  It is enforced by the Marin County Sheriff Department.

Migratory ducks, grebes, loons and shorebirds use the Bay while they over-winter right here in Bay Area. or for re-fueling on their journeys south.  Unfortunately, some species of waterbirds have shown significant declines over the last 50 years, including Surf Scoter and Lesser Scaup. Due to its critical importance to these birds, Richardson Bay has been designated as a Globally Important Bird Area by Bird Life International and the National Audubon Society.

Boundaries (see map above):
Approximately 900 acres of bay waters are covered, extending from the edge of the Cove housing complex to the southern tip of Strawberry Point, east to Belvedere and north to Blackie’s Pasture. The Sanctuary boundaries are marked with signs on pilings and buoys.

No boats, including non-motorized boats such as kayaks, paddleboards, canoes or sailboats are allowed within the Sanctuary waters during this critical season for migratory waterbirds. Even a single kayak paddling slowly through can flush hundreds of birds. We are asking for your assistance to allow these birds to rest and take in important nutrients and calories they need to improve their body conditions for breeding and to make their long migration journeys.


Common Loon, Red-throated Loon, Western Grebe, Clark's Grebe, Eared Grebe, Horned Grebe, American Coot, Greater Scaup, Lesser Scaup, Bufflehead, Common Goldeneye, Ruddy Duck, Red-breasted Merganser, Surf Scoter.

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