The San Francisco District was established in 1866 with authority for river and harbor work on the Pacific Coast and engineering responsibility for the entire area west of the Rocky Mountains. Today, the district's area of responsibility covers about 40,000 square miles. Most of the territory is in a narrow strip along the northern California coastline for approximately 600 miles, rarely more than 50 miles wide, from the Oregon border to just south of Monterey. The district also has responsibility for the Klamath River Basin in southern Oregon which drains into the Pacific Ocean.
The San Francisco District has focused on serving the Army and the nation by designing, building, operating, maintaining and permitting civil works projects that build the nation's long-term economic might in an environmentally sustainable way. The District's civil works missions include navigation and coastal maintenance and improvements to ports and harbors, regulatory compliance and permit activities, debris collection on San Francisco Bay, support for other agencies, flood control, emergency management, and mobilization.
District assets include the Bay Model Visitor Center in Sausalito. The Bay Model is a former scientific hydraulic tool used by engineers and scientists to analyze, in a lab setting, the effects of change on the physical tidal forces of the San Francisco Bay and the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta estuary.
The district built two multipurpose flood-control reservoirs, Lake Mendocino and Coyote Dam, completed in 1958, near Ukiah, and Lake Sonoma and Warm Springs Dame, completed in 1983, near Healdsburg.
The District is also dedicated to protecting the environment, including the tens of thousands of acres of wetlands within its jurisdiction. Environmental concerns are a key factor in every district project and study and in each of the hundreds of dredging and development permit decisions made annually by the District Commander.