Oakland Estuary

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Coordinates: 37°47′41.02″N122°18′54.92″W / 37.7947278°N 122.3152556°W / 37.7947278; -122.3152556


A view over the estuary from above Coast Guard Island. Alameda is on the left, with Oakland on the right and San Francisco Bay in the distance. Oakland California aerial view.jpg
A view over the estuary from above Coast Guard Island. Alameda is on the left, with Oakland on the right and San Francisco Bay in the distance.

The Oakland Estuary is the strait in the San Francisco Bay Area, California, separating the cities of Oakland and Alameda and the Alameda Island from the East Bay mainland. On its western end, it connects to San Francisco Bay proper, while its eastern end connects to San Leandro Bay.


The Estuary is spanned by two underwater tubes and three bridges. They are, from west to east:

High Street Bridge High Street Bridge over Oakland Alameda Estuary.jpg
High Street Bridge

Early history

Although the estuary was used by Native American tribes inhabiting the local area since about 4000 BC, the earliest recorded history of the Oakland Estuary dates primarily from events extending back to the 19th century, as detailed in a research study conducted by Earth Metrics for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Earth Metrics, 1990)(Shreffler, 1994). The Oakland Estuary and tributary stream channels were used for shipping transport regularly by the 1850s; early maritime commerce featured movement of lumber and cattle hides. At this time land west of Lake Merritt Slough consisted of undeveloped marshlands. In 1853 the first dredging project of this estuary was initiated [1] , to enable ferry service to San Francisco. By the late 19th century further landside development occurred featuring wharf expansions, railroad service and shipbuilding. The estuary was dredged by the Army Corps of Engineers, making Alameda an island in 1913. Coast Guard island, originally known as Government Island, was formed in 1913 by the dredging project that extended the Oakland Estuary to San Leandro Bay.

Oakland Estuary
Alameda Island and connections:
  1. Posey and Webster Street tubes
  2. Park Street Bridge
  3. Fruitvale Bridge
  4. High Street Bridge
  5. Bay Farm Island Bridge


In recent years, several rowing clubs have chosen the Oakland Estuary to be their home. The teams include UC Berkeley Rowing, the California Rowing Club, Berkeley High School Crew, Artemis Rowing Club, Oakland Technical High School Rowing, East Bay Rowing Club, and the Oakland Strokes


See also

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The following is a timeline of the history of the city of Oakland, Alameda County, California, United States.

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  1. Jerrard, Laura, Fruitvale Bay Trail Park: A Feasibility Study and Design Proposal (1997), University of California, Berkeley, p.13.